Little Elk Creek Trail

Distance: 5.4m round trip | Climb: 650ft | Surface: gravel, sand

Star Rating

Trail Addict Rating: 4 39 ratings

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Experience

The Little Elk Creek trail was converted from an old road and railroad grade which has resulted in a relatively flat trail. This makes it a great choice for families with young children looking for a weekend outing or trail enthusiasts of all experiences to explore.

At mile 2.7 you have the option to turn around or follow the Gravel Road an additional .75 miles to reach Dalton Lake/Dalton Lake Centennial Trailhead. Camping, swimming, fishing and additional hiking are available here.

TIPS FROM MOM: If you’re taking kids or dogs with you on this hike, they will get wet. Don’t fight it, bring some towels and water shoes and have fun! There are several large flat rocks in the creek near the turn around point which make a great spot for a picnic. Don’t forget to bring a trash bag for clean up!

Directions

  • I-90 to Exit 44
  • Take Chimney Canyon Rd to the West
  • Turn right on Sturgis Rd toward Sturgis
  • Turn left onto Little Elk Creek Road. Follow until road ends.
  • Parking is available. No bathrooms.

Reminder: To use this map on your route, make sure to download this gpx file into your favorite mapping app. in case you lose cellular connection.

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39 Comments

  1. 4

    Nice trail. Will redo when trees are leafed out.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.9
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  2. 5

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  3. 4

    One of my favorites fun for kids

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3
    Gender:
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  4. 4

    Very cool, set back trail. The paths split at one point. one going higher and the other near the creek. Very nice and scenic set into a small valley. We didn’t make it all the way to Dalton Lake, because we ran short of time, not energy.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4.5
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  5. 4

    FAMILY HIKE SUNDAY!! WE LOVED IT!!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  6. 5

    This trail is near my home and I do it often. One of my favorites in the hills.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  7. 3

    6.62 miles from the Dalton Lake area, a little further than the “official” trail. I’m referencing a log from 11/5/16. I’ve done this hike a couple of times (last time from the other trailhead) and it’s kind of scenic. There are a few spots where the trail splits and you can end up on a precarious perch if you pick the wrong one, but can easily see where to go back. It’s an out-and-back but kind of neat to go from the hills to the outside of them on a trail in an area where there aren’t even any roads that can get you through that way.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.62
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  8. 5

    Great! A nice, wide trail with interesting rock features and a creek.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  9. 5

    Went on a moonlight trek.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  10. 4

    Hiked to Dalton Lake TH. Enjoyed a great day hiking

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.44
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  11. 4

    Some rain to start but it was nice and cool after a hot day today.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  12. 4

    Easy hike, beautiful area, and fun opportunities to play in the creek!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  13. 4

    Beautiful area and a very nice hike. Sorry to see the cigarette butts on the ground during the hike and some graffiti on some of the rock walls. Otherwise we saw many hikers throughout the course.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.97
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  14. 5

    It was so beautiful ! Perfect for dogs , bike and kids ! Bring the towels !!! Enjoy swim some little creek ?

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.84
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  15. 4

    Took the dog for a nice walk along the creek. Great way to cool down.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 1.91
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  16. 5

    beautiful hike and nice water spots for the dog to cool off in

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  17. 4

    There are definitely portions of this trail that are not friendly for young children.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.9
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  18. 5

    Beautiful views , up hill all the way to the end. The up hill for so long made it challenging for me. But I did it.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  19. 4

    Took a week off from the kids challenge due to rally traffic and tried this trail out. Hope to do the whole thing next week and pack a lunch. Very pretty

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  20. 4

    Took little elk creek all the way past the end to dalton lake. Very pretty. Some difficult climbs at times but our 4 year old did all 7 miles.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  21. 4

    Out of shape for this one. Up hill the entire way to the lake. I still rocked it. Took me a long time to complete.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  22. 4

    From Trailhead to white gate. Took dog for a walk and really enjoyed the changing of colors. (Yellow, Red, and Greens).

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 1.86
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  23. 4

    We turned this out & back into a loop and really enjoyed it!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 8.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  24. 5

    1/6/18 Love this trail

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  25. 5

    Love this trail

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  26. 5

    Great trail to snowshoe! Fresh snow when we went and it was awesome! We took the trail all the way up to the road and then up to (frozen)Dalton Lake. It was worth the extra little bit to go up there. Very nice trail.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  27. 4

    A great easy to moderate hike. I hiked on a super windy day, but the hike travels through the base of a canyon, so there was just a light breeze. I ended up hiking the extra .75 miles to Dalton Lake to check it out. Great hike for kids & dogs, too.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.9
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  28. 4

    Great trail!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  29. 5

    Favorite trail our family has hiked in the Hills thus far. Lots of opportunities for the kids to play in the creek, plus gorgeous views.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  30. 4

    Beautiful trail!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  31. 4

    Nice hike that’s close to home.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 1.25
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  32. 4

    easy trail great for family/kids dogs can play in the water at different parts

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  33. 5

    Great hike, beautiful weather with a nice sunset glowing in the canyon.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4.78
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  34. 4

    Hiked to the turnaround spot. Very pretty and great for kids!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  35. 4

    Easy trail.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  36. 5

    Very nice hike, Make sure you look UP when you are on this trail.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.5
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  37. 4

    Love this trail – beautiful!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  38. 5

    This trail is one of our favorites! Close to home, it’s a good workout but not overly strenuous for families. The trail follows the creek which makes is fun and pretty. We continued all the way up to Dalton Lake, which is a real gem! The trail and lake weren’t overly crowded, which makes for a wonderful little getaway right in our own backyard.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

  39. 5

    wonderful trail any time of year.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.8
    Gender: Male
    Trail: Little Elk Creek Trail

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