McIntyre Creek Trail (#996)

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The McIntyre Creek Trail is accessed via the McIntyre Trail (#966) which enters the Rawah Wilderness and begins with a mile-long traverse to McIntyre Creek before beginning a 4-mile ascent to an area known as Housmer Park. The McIntyre Creek Trail travels south from Housmer Park and ascends steeply to join the Medicine Bow Trail after passing through a seldom-hiked, boggy area near beaver dams and ponds. Horseback riders and outfitters frequently use the McIntyre Creek Trail especially during hunting season.

Usage: Light
Restrictions: General Wilderness Regulations: Dogs must be on a hand held leash. No motorized or mechanized equipment. Camps, campfires, and stock, where allowed, at least 200 feet from water and trails. Group size limited to 12 people or stock animals. Certified weed-free hay is required. Alpine Closure: Fires are prohibited above 10,800’ (tree line).
Closest Towns: Red Feather Lakes, Rustic, Laramie, WY
Water: Water can be filtered and treated from nearby water sources.
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles.

Directions: Note: access to this trail, is via the McIntyre Trail (#966). Travel 11 miles northwest of Fort Collins on U.S. Highway 287 to Colorado Highway 14. Turn left on CO 14, and travel 52 miles to County Road 103, Laramie River Road. Turn right and travel north about 16 miles to County Road 80C, Glendevey Road. Turn left and travel about 3 miles to the Link and McIntyre trailhead parking on the left just past the Browns Park Campground.

Day Hiking

Fire Information:  Check for any seasonal fire restrictions before your hike. This trail is within the Rawah Wilderness Area, where campfires must be at least 200 feet from water and trails. You may collect dead and down wood; do not break branches from standing trees for firewood. Please attend to campfires at all times. Touch any remaining coals with the bare hand to insure campfire is cold and dead out. Remember, if it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave!
Difficulty Level: Most Difficult

Backpacking

Fire Information:  Check for any seasonal fire restrictions before your hike. This trail is within the Rawah Wilderness Area, where campfires must be at least 200 feet from water and trails. You may collect dead and down wood; do not break branches from standing trees for firewood. Please attend to campfires at all times. Touch any remaining coals with the bare hand to insure campfire is cold and dead out. Remember, if it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave!
Difficulty Level: Most Difficult

Horse Riding

Loading Ramp no
Size Restrictions  no
Hitching Rails no
Corrals no
Difficulty Level: Most Difficult

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References

Beaver Creek Trail

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Beaver Creek Trail #464

Forest Trail #434 (Beaver Creek Trail) is 11.1 miles long and is in the West Elk Wilderness. The lower 2.75 miles is no longer maintained. The maintained trail segment begins at Forest Trail #601 and ends at Forest Trail #449. Forest Trail #464 is open for the following uses: hiking, backpacking, and horseback riding.

WEST BEAVER CREEK TRAIL #447
From the south, the trail gradually climbs along the Beaver Creek valley. The trail meanders through aspen and pine forests giving a sense of isolation and solitude. Beaver Creek is unique due to the reintroduction of native cutthroat trout. A fish barrier has been constructed near the Gunnison National Forest boundary to
protect the upper stretches of both Beaver Creek and West Beaver Creek from non-native fish encroachment.

From the south (Access #1), the trail begins on Colorado Division of Wildlife lands, passes through BLM lands, finally crossing onto
National Forest lands approximately 1.5 miles from the trailhead. If you continue north another 4.4 miles, you will enter into the West Elk Wilderness Area. Another mile north, the trail intersects with the Beaver Creek Trail #464 near the old cabin; this intersection is not very well defined. The West Beaver Creek Trail then heads west up West Beaver Creek. Expect very primitive trail conditions as
you travel toward timberline and the intersection with the Sun Park trail #444.
BEAVER CREEK TRAIL #464
From the south, the trail begins at the West Beaver Creek Trail intersection near the old cabin. Expect primitive trail conditions from this intersection. Continue to travel north on the trail; crossing Beaver Creek numerous times before reaching the Zig-Zag Trail intersection. The trail continues to follow Beaver Creek to above
timberline. The trail then flanks the east side of the Middle Baldy Mountains to the intersection with the Sun Park Trail #444.

Best Season: Summer through fall.
Closest Towns: Gunnison, CO
Operated By: Forest Service

Directions:

ACCESS #1: Travel 6 miles west on US Hwy 50 from Gunnison to the Gunnison
State Wildlife Area and turn right on the Beaver Creek Road #726.
A.) Travel north 2.5 miles through Colorado Division of Wildlife lands to Harris
Hereford Ranch. Once past the ranch, the road degrades from a gravel-surfaced
road to an un-surfaced primitive road requiring 4-wheel drive, even when road
conditions are dry. Park and hike or drive another 2 miles to the trailhead (at the
end of road #3113).
B.) Travel north 2 miles through Colorado Division of Wildlife lands and turn
right on Steers Gulch Road #726 before reaching the Harris Hereford Ranch.
Travel north to the trailhead (at the end of the road). When wet, 4-wheel drive is
required to safely travel on Forest Road #726. At the trailhead, park and hike
west into the West Elk Wilderness area on the Zig-Zag Trail #601. The Zig-Zag
Trail has a series of switchbacks that descend steeply to the Beaver Creek Trail
#464; approximately 4.5 miles north of the junction with the West Beaver Creek
Trail #447.
ACCESS #2: Travel about 3.5 miles north of Gunnison on US HWY 135. Take a
left on County Road 730 and travel northwest up Ohio Creek Road for
approximately 9 miles. Turn left onto Mill Creek Road, also known as BLM Road
3118, and follow it to the Little Mill Creek Trailhead #455. This trail intersects
with the Zig-Zag Trail, which then connects with Beaver Creek Trail within th~
West Elk Wilderness.

Beaver Creek Trail #911

Beaver Creek Trail enters into the Indian Peaks Wilderness shortly after leaving the Beaver Creek Trailhead. After a few switchbacks, the trail circles the ridge and intersects with the Mount Audubon Trail.

Beaver Creek Trail continues northward for 3.4 miles, descending the northeastern flank of the mountain on a nice graded trail, finally dropping into Coney Flats. From Coney Flats the Beaver Creek Trail turns west into the Indian Peaks Wilderness. The Coney Lake Trail intersects 0.25 miles west of Coney Flats, and Beaver Creek Trail ends at Buchanan Pass Trail, 1.8 miles west of Coney Flats.

Permit Info: This trail lies within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area:

  • Camping permits required for all overnight trips between June 1 and September 15. Overnight permits cost $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15.
  • Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round. Day-hiking permits are free.
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: Indian Peak Wilderness restrictions apply:

  • Motorized and mechanized vehicles are prohibited.
  • Pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times.
  • Campfires prohibited.
  • Campsites must be at least 100 feet away from water and trail.
  • Group size is limited to 12.
  • Packstock are prohibited on portions of this trail
  • Camping is prohibited on portions of this trail from May 1 through November 30.

Fishing and hunting: permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife.

Closest Towns: Ward, Colorado
Water: Occasional streams; treat water for drinking
Restroom: Vault toilet at trailhead
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301

Directions:

From Colorado Highway 72 at Ward, turn west onto the Brainard Lake Road. Travel 2.5 miles to the entrance portal, and continue another three miles to Beaver Creek Trailhead.

Day Hiking and Backpacking

This trail is within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. The south end climbs steeply to the north over a shoulder of Mount Audubon before dropping down Beaver Creek drainage and on to Coney Flats. From here the trail cuts west and ends at Buchanan Pass Trail. Destinations include Mount Audubon, Coney Lake and Buchanan Pass.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate to Difficult

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References

Coal Creek Trail

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Coal Creek Trail #702

The Coal Creek Trail #702 is moderate to difficult due to the length and offers trail loop options in open aspen/oak/coniferous forest.  Becasue of the high elevation, snow banks and drifts can be visable until mid-June and creek crossings may be difficult due to spring run-off.  The fullest length of the trail is under the Mesa Rim, providing scenery into the Kannah Creek Basin, with plenty of wildlife viewing and plant identification.  The trail ends at Carson Lake for fishing and undeveloped camping.

Rentals & Guides: Colorado Mountain Adventures
Open Season: July
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: Summer
Restrictions: Open to Hiking, Horseback, and Mountain Bike.
Closest Towns: Grand Junction, CO
Restroom: Yes

Directions:

UPPER ACCESS:
From the Highway 65, turn onto Lands End Road, FSR #100 and travel west for approximatley 3.1 miles to the Carson Lake Road #108.2. Turn left, south at this junction, and travel for 1.4 miles until it ends at the northwest side of Carson Lake. The upper Coal Creek Trailhead is located approximately 20 feet below the lower parking area.

LOWER ACCESS:
From Grand Junction, travel southeast on Highway 50 for approximately 12 miles to its junction with the Lands End Road, FSR #100. Turn left and travel on the Lands End Road for approximately 14 miles to the Wild Rose Picnic Grounds. The Coal Creek Trailhead is located at the far end of this picnic area.
Parking:

UPPER TRAILHEAD:
From the west side of Carson Lake. T. 12S.,  R. 96W.,  Sec. 22. U.S.G.S. Map: Hells Kitchen

LOWER TRAILHEAD:
Out of the Wild Rose Picnic Ground. T. 12S.,  R. 97W.,  Sec. 16. U.S.G.S. Map: Lands End.

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Elk Creek Trail

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Elk Creek Trail # 731

The Elk Creek trail is 15.0 miles long. It begins at Forest Road 128 and ends at Forest Trail 813.

Elk Creek provides excellent opportunities for trout fishing along its entire length. The trail follows Elk Creek from its confluence with the Conejos River to its upper reaches and passes through a variety of terrain including deep canyons and wide meadowed valleys. The trail is well traveled by fishermen, hikers and horse packers and is easy to follow. Suitable camping sites are dispersed along the valley. Water from Elk Creek can be filtered for drinking. Parking is availabe at the Trailhead

The trail joins the Continental Divide Scenic Trail #813. Other trails which can be reached via the El Creek Trail are the Notch Trail #729 and the Rough Creek Trail #727.

The trail is open for the following uses: Horseback riding, hiking, backpacking, cross country skiing and snow shoeing.  Outside the wilderness, the trail is open to mountain biking.

Area Amenities: Toilets,Drinking water,Parking
Open Season: May – October
Usage: Medium
Closest Towns: Antonito
Water: Yes at Elk Creek Campground
Restroom: Yes at the campground
Information Center: The trail begins by climbing high above Elk Creek where the valley narrows overlooking the boulder-strewn stream. The trail then follows the valley, with Elk Creek meandering slowly through the wide, flat First, Second and Third Meadows. Steep cliffs of volcanic rock loom above the valley floor and are intermittently broken by side canyons. At the head of Elk Creek Canyon, the trail climbs the steep southern slope to Dipping Lakes, which sit on the ridge dividing the Elk Creek and Chama River drainages. The trail joins the Continental Divide Scenic Trail #813 directly above Dipping Lakes.

Directions:

From Antonito travel west on highway 17 to Elk Creek Campground, about 23 miles. Just after entering Elk Creek CG cross the bridge and take the trail leading south along the bank of Elk Creek.

Mountain Biking

From the trail head to the South San Juan Wilderness boundary only.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

River and Stream Fishing

Trout in Elk Creek and Conejos River.

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Backpacking and Day Hiking

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Horse Riding

Difficulty Level: Moderate

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Amenities

Toilets at Elk Creek campground
Parking at the trailhead
Drinking water at Elk Creek campground

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Hourglass Trail

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Hourglass Trail (#984)

Hourglass Trail is accessed via the Beaver Creek Trail (#942) which skirts the north side of Sky Ranch, then rejoins the road west of the ranch for a short distance before re-entering the forest. It then skirts the north side of Hourglass Reservoir and arrives at the north end of Comanche Reservoir dam. Hourglass Trail (#984) begins at the south end of the dam and soon enters the Comanche Wilderness. It continues to climb for nearly four miles and terminates at the Mirror Lake Trail (#943) which provides access to Mirror Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Usage: Light
Restrictions: General Wilderness Regulations: Dogs must be on a hand held leash. No motorized or mechanized equipment. Camps, campfires, and stock, where allowed, at least 200 feet from water and trails. Group size limited to 12 people or stock animals combined. Certified weed-free hay is required for stock.
Closest Towns: Rustic, Fort Collins
Water: None
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles.

Directions: Travel 11 miles northwest of Fort Collins on U.S. Highway 287 to Colorado Highway 14. Turn left on CO 14, travel 26 miles, and turn left on County Road 63E, Pingree Park Road. Travel 16 miles to Forest Road 145. Turn right, pass Tom Bennett Campground, and travel 2 miles to Beaver Creek Trailhead just before entering Sky Ranch.

Day Hiking and Backpacking

The Hourglass Trail begins along the Beaver Creek Trail at the east end of Comanche Reservoir and ends at the intersection with Mirror Lake Trail. This is not an easy trailhead to find. The trail will follow a stream for a short distance, climb through a mature forest before reaching the alpine tundra with view to Comanche Lake. See Beaver Creek trail for trailhead information.

Fire Information  Check for any seasonal fire restrictions before your hike. This trail is within the Comanche Peak Wilderness Area, where campfires must be at least 200 feet from water and trails. You may collect dead and down wood; do not break branches from standing trees for firewood. Please attend to campfires at all times. Touch any remaining coals with the bare hand to insure campfire is cold and dead out. Remember, if it is too hot to touch, it is too hot to leave!
Difficulty Level: Most Difficult

Horse Riding

See Beaver Creek trail for trailhead information.

Size Restrictions  no
Loading Ramp no
Hitching Rails no
Corrals no
Difficulty Level: Most Difficult

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Lost Lake Trail

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Lost Lake Trail #813

Difficulty: Moderate
Trail Use: Moderate to Heavy
Length: From Hessie Trailhead (TH) to Lost Lake – 1.4 miles. DISTANCE IS ONE WAY.
Elevation: 9,000 feet at Hessie TH; 9,800 feet at Lost Lake.
From Hessie Trailhead, cross the footbridge following Devils Thumb Trail #902 which climbs steeply for about a half-mile on an old road.

 

Camping is allowed only at designated campsites.

Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: The Lost Lake Trail is located outside the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Wilderness regulations do not apply. Camping at Lost Lake is restricted to eight designated campsites around the lake. Permits are not required, camping is first-come, first-served. Fishing and hunting: permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Parks & Wildlife.
Closest Towns: Nederland, Colorado
Water: Lakes and streams; treat water for drinking.
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service
Information Center: Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301

Directions:

From Nederland, head south on Colorado Highway 119 for 0.6 miles. Turn west onto County Road 130, signed for Eldora. Follow the paved road through the valley to the Town of Eldora, where the pavement ends. Continue beyond the end of the pavement for 0.75 miles to the fork in the road. The left fork goes to Hessie Trailhead.

Lake and Pond Fishing

Day Hiking and Backpacking

This is a short, steep trail. It splits from Devils Thumb Trail about one mile out of Hessie Trailhead, then climbs for another 1/2 mile, ending at Lost Lake. It offers distant views of the Continental Divide.

Fire Information  Unless seasonal restrictions are in effect, campfires must be attended at all times and cold to the touch with the bare hand before being abandoned. Collection of dead and down wood is allowed; do not break branches from standing trees for firewood.
Elevation desc This trail gains 800 feet over 1.5 miles
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Access
  • From Nederland, head south on Colorado Highway 119 for ½ mile. Turn west onto County Road 130 (Eldora Ski Resort sign). Stay on the main road through the town of Eldora.
  • Once the pavement ends, continue for another mile. Look for a sign and vehicles parked above a side road heading sharply down and to the left. This side road leads to Hessie TH and is a cobblestone creek bed that carries water year round. Vehicles without high clearance should park at this junction. From here, it is a ¼-mile walk to the trailhead.
  • This trailhead sees high use, especially on weekends, and parking is limited.
Trail Highlights
  • From the trailhead, cross the footbridge and take the Devil’s Thumb Trail #902, which climbs steeply for about a ½-mile on an old road.
  • Do not take the Devil’s Thumb Bypass, which turns right (north) in 0.8 miles, just before the bridge. This trail does not pass the Lost Lake Trail junction. Instead, cross the bridge and stay on the main Devil’s Thumb Trail.
  • It is 1.1 miles from the trailhead to the Lost Lake Trail junction. Turn left (south) following signs for Lost Lake Trail #813. The lake is up another ½-mile on a good trail.
  • Camping is allowed at one of the eight first-come, first-served campsites around the lake.
Important Information
  • Lost Lake is located outside of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. Therefore, wilderness regulations do not apply: permits are not required for camping and campfires are allowed.
  • CAMPING AT LOST LAKE IS LIMITED TO DESIGNATED CAMPSITES ONLY.
  • If you are planning to build a campfire during the summer months, it is advisable to contact the Boulder Ranger District (303-541-2500) before your trip in regards to possible fire bans.
  • The Hessie Trailhead may not be accessible by vehicle during the winter months.

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References

Petroglyph Point Trail

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Petroglyph Point Trail 2.8 miles, round-trip
Begins from the Spruce Tree House trail, and continues below the edge of the plateau to a petroglyph panel, makes a climb to the top of the mesa and returns via the rim to the museum. This trail provides views of Spruce and Navajo Canyons and is the only trail in the park to view petroglyphs. Gate access to trail is only available when Spruce Tree House is open. Please contact a ranger for times the gate is open. Trail guide available. Registration required.Stats

A petroglyph is an image pecked or engraved on a rock surface. According to one Hopi elder, this petroglyph, found on Mesa Verde’s Petroglyph Point Trail, may tell the story of two clans (the Mountain Sheep Clan and the Eagle Clan) separating from other people and returning to their place of origin. Notice the boxy spiral shape? This likely represents a sipapu, the place where Pueblo people believe they emerged from the earth (believed to be near the Grand Canyon). You can also see the head and arms of a figure, and on the bottom right, a possible Katsina clan symbol.

Like many petroglyphs, this panel seems intended to communicate the oral stories that keep Native American cultures alive. Sadly, some ancient petroglyphs at Mesa Verde have been destroyed by recent fires. On the other hand, many tribes believe that human creations such as these were meant to fall back to the earth rather than to be preserved beyond their natural life. The stories and interpretations of them change over time, much as stories do that are passed down in your own family and culture. How are stories told in your family? What do they teach you about the past? Do they give you a vision for the future?

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Salt Creek Trail

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Salt Creek Trail provides access into Buffalo Peaks Wilderness and parts of the trail are also located outside of the Wilderness area.  Because of this, it’s available for a variety of uses such as quiet backcountry hiking as well as mountain biking.

Be sure you are aware of which part of the trail you are on, so that you don’t violate any rules that govern the use of wilderness areas, such as no mountain biking.

Restrictions: Wilderness regulations apply within Buffalo Peaks Wilderness.
Closest Towns: Fairplay, Colorado
Water: Treat all non-potable water before consuming.
Restroom: No
Information Center: South Park Ranger District

Accessibility:

This trail is open year round; however, access will be difficult during the winter months.
Directions:

Access to the Salt Creek Trail in Pike National Forest can be made at:

  • North Salt Creek Trailhead
  • Buffalo Peaks Trailhead
  • Lynch Creek Trailhead

Mountain Biking

Be aware which part of Salt Creek Trail you are riding on.  Mountain biking is prohibited within Buffalo Peaks Wilderness.

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Ute Creek Trail

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Ute Creek Trail #819

The Ute Creek trail is 13.2 miles long. It begins at Ute Trailhead and ends at CDNST #813/twin Lakes. FDT#819 (Ute Creek Trail) is the major access route into the vast Ute Basin Area. Four major fishable lakes sit below the Continental Divide in the beautiful basin. The Ute Creek Trail is a popular route with Weminuche Wilderness visitors. Many trail travel options are available once the hiker reaches the open basin area above Black Lake. Fishing is rated good to excellent in the creeks and lakes of the Ute Drainage.

Camera clicking is common along this trail. Inspiring views of “The Window” and “The Rio Grande Pyramid” will be long remembered by trail users.

The main Ute Creek Trail begins with a difficult crossing of the Rio Grande River. Early summer crossings of the river at the trailhead should not be attempted. After the river crossing, the trail climbs at a gentle grade along the east-facing slope of Ute Creek for approximately two miles. Shortly thereafter the trail is carved into a short ¼ mile segment of cliff-like topography. The trail then begins to closely parallel Ute Creek for approximately one mile. The trail will then turn gradually away from the immediate creek bottom and start a steep ascent toward Black Lake. Several switchbacks must be negotiated during the climb. Immediately after passing the shore of Black Lake, the trail will break out into the vast open meadow area at the confluence of East, West and Middle Ute Creeks. The final segment of the trail involves crossing three small tributaries at the headwater area of Middle Ute Creek. Shortly after the third crossing, the trail makes a short climb it its junction with the Continental Divide Trail at Twin Ute Lakes. The trail is well-defined and easy to follow for its entire length.

The trail is open for the following uses: Foot Travel and Horseback Riding. This trail is entirely within the Weminuche Wilderness.

Current Conditions: Easy, elevation gain 2,200
Area Amenities: Toilets
Open Season: Mid-June – Mid September
Usage: Medium-Heavy
Restrictions: No Motorized Vehicles. Wilderness Area
Closest Towns: Creede, CO
Water: No
Restroom: 1 Vault Toilet at Trailhead
Operated By: Forest Service

Directions: From Creede, CO, take State 149 south (toward Lake City) 19.3 miles to Rio Grande Reservoir sign (Forest Rd. 520). Turn left onto Rd. 520 and go 16 miles all the way to the inlet of Rio Grande Reservoir. Bear left onto a dirt road to the trailhead.

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References

Big Blue Trail

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Big Blue Creek Trail #232

The Big Blue Trail #232 is within the Uncompahgre Wilderness, it begins at Wilderness the boundary, where Wilderness Regulations apply, and ends at Uncompahgre Peak Trail #239. This trail provides an access route to Uncompahgre Peak which raises 14,309 feet in elevation.  It travels through Spruce-Fir forests, open parks, alpine tundra and offers spectacular views of the mountain peaks over 13,000.  Fishing for Brook and Rainbow Trout in Big Blue Creek and Slide Lake is excellent.  Slide Lake is approximately 4.5 miles from the trailhead and receives heavy use.

Open Season: June – October
Usage: Heavy
Best Season: Summer to Fall
Restrictions: Open to Hiking and Horseback.
Closest Towns: Lake City, CO

Directions:

Big Creek Trailhead:
From Lake City, travel north on Gunnison Highway 149 for 10 miles to the intersection with the Alpine Forest Access Road, FSR #868.  Turn left and follow the signs to the Big Blue Campground which is approximately 12 miles from Hwy 149.  The Big Blue Trail Trailhead is about half a mile south of the campground.  The Alpine Forest Access Road is narrow and steep with sharp curves.  Trailers are not recommended.

Nellie Creek Trailhead:
From Lake City, turn west onto Second Street.  Travel 0.1 mile and turn left onto the Henson Creek Road.  This is the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway.  Travel approximately 5 miles to the sign for the Nellie Creek Trailhead, Nellie Creek Road, FSR #877.  The trailhead is 4 miles up Nellie Creek Road. 4 wheel dive is recommended.

Parking:

Big Blue Creek Trailhead: T. 46N., R. 5W., Section 25. U.S.G.S. Maps: Sheep Mountain and Uncompahgre Peak.  Elevation: 9,700 feet.

Nellie Creek Trailhead: T. 45N., R. 5W., Section 15.  U.S.G.S. Map: Uncompahgre Peak.  Elevation: 11,460 feet.

Lake and Pond Fishing
Slide Lake Brook and Rainbow Trout.

River and Stream Fishing
Big Blue Creek Brook and Rainbow Trout.

 

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