Mad Creek Trail (just north of Steamboat Springs) is a popular and relatively easy hike.  It is about 1 hour to the barn (with a brisk pace) – leave additional time for investigating the rocks.  The first part of the hike is a relatively steep climb, but look for golden minerals – biotite mica (platy silicate minerals – igneous to metamorphic origin). The first 2/3 of the hike traverses through mainly metamorphic gneiss (layered metamorphosed sandstone and mudstone).  The rocks are also nearly vertical with an strike orientation ~ E-W.  This relates to the plate tectonic history of the rocks (Proterozoic subduction zone).  Look for some K-Feldspar-rich granite and basalt.  The last 1/3 of the hike before and including the area around the Mad Creek Barn traverses glacial till/moraine and glacial outwash sediment.  The terminus of the last glacial advance is interpreted to have occurred in this location (for maps and more information including references see Geology of Mad Creek Trail).

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