Peaks to Plains: Oxbow to Mayhem Gulch

Distance6.7 mi
Elevation Gain486 feet
My Time2 hr 11 min
DifficultyEasy
Closest TownGolden
Food Nearby

They can’t all be hard hikes and I needed a nice easy Sunday walk so I headed over to Clear Creek Canyon and tried the Peaks to Plains trail. Peaks to Plains is a 65 mile trail system that will connect Loveland Pass all the way to Denver. I am not exactly sure how much is built of it so far but what I was on was really nice.

There are several parking area’s along the proposed path but I started today out at the Oxbow section off of US 6 in Clear Creek County. There is room for a bout 10 cars in the parking area and it was completely full by 8 am on a Sunday when I arrived. There is some room to park on 6 as well.

The trail was mostly walkers, a few bikers, some people with small children in strollers, a few fly fishers walking to the next spot and a lot of rock climbers. The area near Oxbow there were about 20 people climbing this morning with more on the way.

A climber about half way up the cliff side looking for their next move.

Now to the walk itself. The path is completely paved with about 8 feet of clearance. Pretty much a giant sidewalk that hugs the river for most of the walk. Now the negative first to get it out of the way. For a majority of the section I walked on today you are next to US 6 and hear car noise the entire time. It is partially drowned out by sound of the fast moving water but it is there.

Now that we got that out of the way…the walk is really beautiful. Clear Creek rushes next to the path and you follow as it cuts its way through the canyon of towering tree lined cliffs.

Clear Creek bending in a crescent moon arch surrounded by hills filled with evergreen trees

The paved path makes for a nice easy walk as well. Without having to worry about your footing it is easy to keep your eyes open to enjoy the creek and the views the entire time. Make sure you look down every once in awhile as I did see a Danger Noodle (snake) trying to find its way onto the sidewalk.

The concrete path following the river with the sun just splashing on some distant tree filled hills.

There were also a few bikers but not nearly as many as I expected and the path is wide enough to avoid any issues there. Some side trails give climbers access to the cliffs and also some side paths that offer water access so you can get right down next to the creek.

The view of the creek from the banks.  The sun is glistening off the water.

Distance and Elevation

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 6.7 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 486 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 7,020 feet. I was also moving for a total of 2 hours and 11 minutes.

Effort

A nice relaxing walk today with some nice scenery. The path is paved so nothing extra on the difficulty other than how long you walk. Here is the step count from today from my fitbit.

Step count from today's hike according to fitbit.  Today's hike was 9,024 steps.

Terrain

It doesn’t get much easier than a paved path. The path is about 8 feet wide and paved for the entire section I was on today. There are a few bikers to watch for and I did see a snake sneaking onto the path at one point today. No special tools or footwear needed.

Access

There are several places that you can access the Peak to Plains trail. On my walk I saw 3 separate parking areas on US 6 varying in size from about 10 spaces to 20 spaces. I got on the trail around the oxbow lot and it was full by 8 A.M. on a Sunday and a lot of us were parking on the side of the road, There was a port-o-potty where I parked and a pit toilet facility at the Mayhem gulch parking area.

Wrap up

This was such a nice easy walk and I really enjoyed it. This definitely should be able to be enjoyed by any age or skill level as well. The traffic noise is a little annoying if you are used to trails that get you completely out in nature but the sounds of the river help combat that. There are also some nice wildflowers along the path. One thing to keep in mind is that there is no cover so make sure you take plenty of sunscreen. All in all a nice easy hike for all to enjoy!

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to my interactive map page that you can find here. If you have a suggestion or comment you can email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com or follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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