Hiking the Ceran Saint Vrain Trail
I sprained my ankle while hiking about a month and a half ago. It finally healed enough for me to go hiking again this week. I’ve been meaning to check out the Ceran Saint Vrain Trail in Roosevelt National Forest just outside of Jamestown for a while. Since it is an easy trail, I thought it would be the perfect timing to go.
The Ceran Saint Vrain Trail is an easy 3.8-mile out-and-back trail with minimal elevation gain and lots of shade. The way out is slightly downhill, and the way back uphill.
Although there is ample parking and people coming and going relatively often because this is a short trail, it’s still good to get there early to grab a parking spot.
The trail starts out crossing the St. Vrain Creek, which passes through Lyons and becomes the St. Vrain River on the way to Longmont.
The St. Vrain Creek –
After crossing the creek, you enter the forest.
One of the reasons I wanted to check out this trail is because it’s a great spot for backpacking. You don’t need any permits or reservations, and there are at least 5 camping spots along the trail.
According to the US Forest Service –
“Dispersed camping is prohibited Within ¼ mile of either side of South St. Vrain Creek beginning at the Ceran St. Vrain trailhead and ending ¼ mile from the intersection of South St. Vrain Creek and National Forest System Road 252.1” – the road that the Ceran Saint Vrain Trail connects to at its end.
“Campfires are permissible unless seasonal restrictions are in effect (contact district office). Campfires must be attended at all times and cold to the touch with the bare hand before being abandoned.”
You can check the current Boulder County fire restrictions here. Although, with all the terrible wildfires that we’ve experienced in Colorado in recent years, I’d err on the side of caution and use a fuel-based mini stove like the Jetboil or MSR PocketRocket.
Backpacking sites can be found 0.25-0.5 miles in, at the 1.2 mile mark, and at the 1.5 mile mark on the Ceran Saint Vrain Trail. There are a few between the 0.25-0.5 mile marks.
The sites look spacy and are within walking distance from the creek that runs by the trail.
Not all of the camping sites were taken early on a Sunday morning when I went, so there’s a good chance that you can get a spot there, even on a weekend.
The trail itself is easy and slopes downwards on the way out. You walk through some beautiful lodgepole pine forest –
A bit further than the cluster of campsites, the trail continues for a while above the creek –
There are a few spots along the way where you can go and hang out by the peaceful creek –
Overall, this trail has quite a lot of shade, so it’s comfortable to hike in the summertime.
End of the Trail
The end of the Ceran Saint Vrain Trail connects with National Forest System Road 252.1. That forest trail is open to hiking, horseback riding, ATVs, Jeeps, motorbikes, skiing and snowmobiling.
From here it’s possible to continue on to do the Miller Rock hike, which is a total of 6 miles and about 1,000 ft elevation gain. I didn’t have time to check it out, but it’s a nice option if you want to get a bit more of a workout in.
The way back is uphill, but a gentle incline. After all, the hike has less than 300 ft elevation gain in total.
Recommended as an Easy Hike
The Ceran Saint Vrain Trail is a lovely 3.8 mile out-and-back hike in Roosevelt National Forest that is a great option for an easy hike. It is also a convenient spot for backpacking / dispersed camping.
I saw several families with little children hiking on this trail. It would be a good choice for a family-friendly hike.
I’ll definitely be going back sometime, whether for camping or for a short hike with our daughter.