Rat Creek  
Maps:   
USGS 7.5' Map: San Luis Peak, Creede
Statistics:
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 4 FR 505 8.5 10,200 to 12,800 ft. Steep climbs - 2 3-4 hours
County: Mineral
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Rio Grande National Forest
Divide Ranger District
13308 West Hwy 160
Del Norte, CO 81132
719-657-3321
Summary: Rat Creek starts and ends off of the Bachelor Loop road out of Creede, Colorado.
Attractions: Camping, Scenic views
Seasonal
Closure:
Agency - March 14 to May 16
Best Time: June - Upper sections may be snowed in.
July - Best.
August - Best.
September - Best.
October - Upper sections may be snowed in.
Trail Heads
Accessed:
FT787 (motorized, 50 inch or less) - The historical La Garita Stock Driveway, 91.9 miles long. After 1.75 miles it is motorcycle only.
Camping: There are a few dispersed sites along the large valley of Rat Creek.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp and explore the history and 4WD roads around Creede.
Fall Colors: Poor - Few aspen in the area.
Navigation: South end from Creede, CO. head south on South Main Street toward West 10th Street for 292 ft. Continue onto Colorado-149 North/Creede Ave for 2.7 miles. Turn right onto Forest Service Rd 507 and go 1.3 miles. Turn right onto Coounty Rd 517 and go 1.2 miles. Take the 1st left onto County Rd 505/FR 504 and go 1.1 miles. Continue onto County Rd 504 for 0.8 miles. There is a left turn off of the main graded road. This is the southern end of the Rat Creek 4WD road.

North end from Creede, CO. head north on South Main Street toward East 1st Street for 0.3 miles. South Main St turns slightly right and becomes Coounty Rd 503/West Willow Creek Road. Go 2.9 miles. Take a sharp left to stay on Coounty Rd 503/West Willow Creek Road. Continue to follow West Willow Creek Road for 3.9 miles. Continue onto forest service road FR 503 and go 0.6 miles to a parking area. Continue north out of the parking area on a two track road. This is the northern end of Rat Creek 4WD road.
History: In the mid 1880s John C. Mackenzie camped and prospected in Rat Creek and the surrounding hills. He located the Bachelor, Alpha, and other mines on Bachelor and Mackenzie mountains. Bachelor Mountain is on the east side of Rat Creek with Mackenzie Mountain on the west side.
Description:
Rat Creek is a side loop off of the Bachelor Loop out of Creede, CO. This description will start from the headwaters of Willow Creek near the Equity Mine and head north to the Continental Divide and then back south to Bulldog Mountain where the road ties into the Bachelor Loop again.

From the end of the graded West Willow Creek road (FR503), where the Equity Mine is, you will drive through the mine property to a two track road the heads further up the valley. This is a continuation of FR503. It will follow West Willow Creek for less than three quarters of a mile before it crosses the creek and contiues along the creek for another half mile. At this point the road heads up a steep hill on the west side of the valley climbing above timberline. You are now on the Rat Creek road (FR505). You will weave through rock outcroppings and low alpine shrubs heading west and climbing higher toward the Continental Divide.

As you cross over the ridge you have been climbing you will come to an intersection. The right turn, FR505.1B, will take you to a dead end at the top of the Continental Divide.
Continental Divide

photo by:
Adam M

The left will continue following the main Rat Creek road. It will immediately head down into a large wide valley that is the drainage for Rat Creek. You will drive through groves of pine trees and cross the creek a few times as you head down the valley. After approximately 2 miles you will come to another intersection. A right turn will take you on FR505.1A which dead ends at FT787, which allows motorcycles and ATVs. The left will continue on FR505 and keep heading down the valley.
Old Boiler in meadow

photo by:
Adam M

Rat Creek

photo by:
Adam M

The forest will become denser as you continue to follow FR505. After about 1.5 miles you will begin to climb up the saddle between East Butte and Bulldog Mountain on a ledge road. There will be a few openings in the trees that will give you views toward Creede.
Ledge Road

photo by:
Adam M

Once over the saddle the forest will be even thicker and you will pass quite a few side roads. Stay with the main road, FR505. In less than a mile the road will work its way to the bottom of a gulch and then open up into a wide meadow. The road will continue south where it ties into the Bachelor Loop Road at a large curve. From here take a right onto the graded road and follow it into Creede.
Data updated: December 18, 2013        4WD Road driven: July 27, 2010        Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2014