Past Meetup

Newlin Creek Trail, followed by soak at Desert Reef Hot Springs

This Meetup is past

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This IS a great early evening hike. The sun doesn't set until 8:30 PM. We should have plenty of time to complete this hike. There should be lots water for the dogs due to Spring runoff.

Note: If you cannot make the hike, you are welcome to join us at Desert Reef Hot Springs. We should be there by 7:30 pm, taking into account hiking and driving time. The Reef closes at 10 pm, so there will be plenty of time for a great soak. However, if you are not hiking, but are coming to the Reef, please put that in notifications when you RSVP. Thanks!

Description: Newlin's Creek Trail just outside of Florence is so gorgeous. Tall canyon walls with huge rock formations and spires the entire way, as you hike along a creek that you'll cross about 15 times (hiking stick handy for balance). There are a lot of pools and small water falls. You end at an old, rotting wood boiler and chimney. You return the same way.

Little waterfalls and fern-laced cliffs disguise the logging-road origins of this pleasant hike to an old steam boiler rusting in a meadow. Newlin Creek is centered in a historic oil-, coal-, and silver-mining area of the Wet Mountains. Members of the Gunnison Expedition of[masked] named this range, located in south-central Colorado, after their rainy encounters there. Lumber was needed to fuel these industries of the late 1800s, which inspired Canadian entrepreneur Nathaniel F. Herrick to build a road up Newlin Creek. He then hauled a huge steam boiler and flywheel on his hand-built 5-foot-wide road. Water from Newlin Creek powered the boiler that ran the flywheel and saw. Unfortunately, Herrick's untimely death shortly after he established his site led to its abandonment.

Length: 5.4 total miles

Trail Type: Out-and-back

Skill Level: Easy to moderate

Trailhead Elevation: 6,900 feet

Top Elevation: 8,350 feet

Getting to the trailhead: Drive west on highway 50 till you reach hwy 115. Turn south, and where Colorado 67 and Colorado 115 diverge, drive south on Colorado 67 to a junction with County Road 15 at mile 4.4. Turn right onto County Road 15 and drive southwest, following signs to Newlin Creek and Florence Mountain Park. Reach the trailhead at mile 10.8, at the terminus of County Road 15. All but the last 0.2 mile is on good roads.

The sun sets around 8:30 PM. We should have plenty of time to complete this hike.

Premeetup: Let's meet at Florence Mountain Park entrance at 3:45 PM. (Drive down County Road 15 until you reach the Park entrance.) That will give us enough time to drive the rest of the way to the trailhead, and get set up and ready to hike by 4 PM. We will start this hike no later than 4:15 pm. If you are going to be a few minutes late, or get lost, please text or call me at 406-5324.

Difficulty: A relatively easy hike on a maintained trail to the sawmill but with many stream crossings. Bring a hiking pole or stick for balance (usually large rocks or wood is strategically placed across streams so crossings are not difficult). We will only go as far as the sawmill and then return.


After the Hike: After the hike, we will go soak and relax at Desert Reef Hot Springs. No dogs are allowed in the Hot Springs. They will have to stay in the cars, but it is cool in the evenings, so that should not be a problem.

Bring your suits - this is a mandatory swimsuit day! Also consider bringing something to eat & drink. I know I am always hungry after a great hike!


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