This is a great little (short) trail with a big attitude. The road, which was closed to vehicle traffic back in the early 1980s, was reopened in June of 2014. It runs from Boulder to the Elkhorn Road just south of Elkhorn MT.
This road was originally, believe it or not, a stagecoach route to Elkhorn. The Boulder side does fully follow a part of the original trail, though. This is due to a landowner conflict, but a new access trail was made. The trail was closed back in the 80s but was reopened due to the hard work of several people who showed the trail was not legally closed.
Brian crosses a rock garden
Because of this re-opening and re-routing of a small portion of the old road, it does not appear correctly on older maps. The lower portion of the original trail now goes through a metal gate and onto private, closed, land. So don’t go there. Please stay on the new trail.
This is a Class 3 PLUS trail due to a few interesting rock challenges. Vehicle damage is not uncommon on this trail. The larger the vehicle, the more likely damage becomes. Rock rails or sliders are highly recommended. This is primarily due to just two spots. If careful, a stock Jeep YJ or Tacoma can make it without damage...ok, a little luck may help too.
People who are trailering their rig may wish to consider leaving the trailer at the Boulder Town Pump (get permission, of course). There is a parking area at the trailhead. It is an unimproved dirt road for part of the way, so keep that in mind.
The is "The Cut" on McCarty Creek Trail. It can be an interesting obstacle.
How to get there:
Our directions start in the town of Boulder. Toward the south side of town is East 4th Avenue. Turn east here on the road which runs in front of the Jefferson High School, so go slow. East 4th Avenue continues east out of town and then curves to the right (south). At this point, the road becomes Muskrat Lane. Follow Muskrat Lane until you come to a 4-way intersection. Our path takes us straight across the intersection. The road is now McCarty Creek Road. This is where the adventure begins.
DIRECTIONS TO PARKING AREA
This is pretty simple. The parking area is 4.5 miles from the turn at the high school and 2.3 miles from the 4 way intersection at Muskrat Road. Just follow the main trail until you get to the parking area. See...I told you it was easy. This is a good spot to air down.
Parking Area Grid Coordinates and Google Maps Link:
The Elkhorn Road Intersection Coordinates: 46°15'27.2"N 111°57'42.2"W ~~OR~~ 46.257552, -111.961719For a Google pin link to this location: **CLICK HERE**
The trail is 6.2 miles long from the parking area to the junction with Elkhorn Road. The majority of the trail is FS Trail 1074 aka: McCarty Creek Trail. Just before you reach the Elkhorn Road, you will be on Tramway Road.
It is really a simple trail to follow, with one exception. From the parking area, you just head north through the cattle guard. The road will turn eastward just after crossing McCarty Creek. That exception? When you come to the large power lines you will need to turn right, go almost to the next tower and then turn left onto the trail heading that way.
By Richard Hiltz
Don always makes things look so easy.
NOTE: We are simply describing a 4x4 route. We accept no responsibility for your decisions. 4x4 off-roading can be great fun but it can also be dangerous. People can get hurt and vehicles can get stuck and/or damaged. Trail conditions can, do, and will, change at any time. Road conditions may no longer be accurately reflected in this or any trail description. Only you can decide what trails or obstacles your experience and vehicle can safely navigate. When in doubt, turn around. Wheel Safe!!