Winter Trail

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The Winter Trail is a trail located in Colorado.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement:
  • Compass Latitude: 374643N
  • Compass Longitude: 1080334W
  • Numeric Latitude: 37.7786053
  • Numeric Longitude: -108.0595173
  • Elevation in Meters:
  • Elevation in Feet:

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References

  • None

Buchanan Pass Trail

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Buchanan Pass Trail #910

From the Middle Saint Vrain Trailhead, the Buchanan Pass Trail runs west along the north side of Middle Saint Vrain Creek. It is a gradual climb for the next five miles to the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary. Close to here, the Buchanan Pass Trail intersects the Saint Vrain Mountain Trail.

The Buchanan Pass Trail continues up-valley for just under one mile to intersect with Saint Vrain Glacier Trail. The Buchanan Pass Trail crosses the creek and hooks to the south. The half-mile spur trail to Red Deer Lake intersects after another 1.1 miles.

Another 0.8 miles beyond this spur, the Buchanan Pass trail meets Beaver Creek Trail. From this intersection, the Buchanan Pass Trail climbs steeply west to the Continental Divide at Buchanan Pass (elevation 11,837′). There have been years in which this pass is never clear of snow. From the pass, ten miles of trail continues west and connects with the Cascade Creek Trail.

Permit Info: Part of 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: Motorized vehicles prohibited. Camping is prohibited along the first half-mile of trail west of Middle Saint Vrain Trailhead. On those portions of Buchanan Pass Trail within the Indian Peaks Wilderness, 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 (people and livestock combined).

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

Closest Towns: Allenspark, Colorado
Water: Middle Saint Vrain Creek; 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: Approximately 6.5 miles north of Ward, Colorado, on Colorado Highway 72, watch for signs for Peaceful Valley and Camp Dick Campgrounds. Turn west onto Middle Saint Vrain Road (County Road 92 and National Forest System Road 114) and proceed 1.25 miles to the west end of Camp Dick.

Mountain Biking

The first five miles of Buchanan Pass Trail, from Peaceful Valley west to the Indian Peaks boundary are open to mountain biking. It is possible to ride a loop from Peaceful Valley or Camp Dick via Buchanan Pass Trail and Middle Saint Vrain Road or Coney Cutoff and Coney Creek Roads and Sourdough Trail.

Difficulty Level: Easy to Difficult

River and Stream Fishing

Day Hiking and Backpacking

This trail is ten miles long from Peaceful Valley Campground to Buchanan Pass. The first seven miles climb gently along the Middle Saint Vrain Creek. The trail becomes much steeper as it makes the approach to Buchanan Pass on the Continental Divide. Destinations include Saint Vrain Mountain, Saint Vrain Glaciers, Red Deer Lake and Buchanan Pass. This trail intersects Sourdough Trail, Saint Vrain Mountain Trail, Saint Vrain Glaciers Trail, and Beaver Creek Trail. From Buchanan Pass, the trail continues west to Cascade Creek Trail.

Fire Information On portions of this trail within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, campfires are prohibited year-round. Where allowed, and 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 climbs 1,600 feet in the last two miles from its intersection with Beaver Creek Trail to Buchanan Pass
Difficulty Level: Easy to Difficult
Area/Length : 
From the Middle Saint Vrain Trailhead to: Buchanan Pass Trailhead – 3.8 miles; Red Deer Lake – 6.9 m

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 3.8 and 6.9 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 400600N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053502W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.099986
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.58389
  • Elevation in Meters: 2,621 to 3,607
  • Elevation in Feet: 8,600 to 11,837

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References

Diamond Lake Trail

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The Arapaho Pass Trail enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness and climbs for 1.2 miles to the Diamond Lake Trail.

The Diamond Lake Trail forks left from the Arapaho Pass Trail and drops elevation for a half-mile before crossing the North Fork of Middle Boulder Creek. Diamond Lake is located a mile further uphill from the bridge and scenic waterfall. This stretch of trail is on a northeast-facing slope and holds snow long after the Arapaho Pass Trail has melted dry. Turn west on a marked side trail to Diamond Lake.

Continuing straight and passing the turnoff to Diamond Lake, the main trail continues for 2.4 miles, and climbs up to cross the ridge just above tree line. The return to tree line may be difficult to find – watch for rock cairns at the edge of the trees. The Diamond Lake Trail ends at Devils Thumb Trail.

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 (people and livestock combined).

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 0.5 miles. Turn west onto Boulder County Road 130 (signed for Eldora Ski Resort). Stay on the main road through the town of Eldora. Once the pavement ends continue another five miles to the Fourth of July Trailhead. This portion of the road is rough but passable in a passenger car during the summer months. This trailhead is extremely busy, especially on weekends, and parking is limited.

Day Hiking
This trail is within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, connecting between Arapaho Pass Trail and Devils Thumb Trail, passing by Diamond Lake along the way.

Difficulty Level: Intermediate

Backpacking
This trail is within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, where permits are required for camping June 1 – September 15. Those camped at Diamond Lake must have a permit for a designated campsite.

Fire Information  Campfires are prohibited year-round.
Difficulty Level: Intermediate
Area/Length : 
Fourth of July Trailhead to: Diamond Lake – 2.6 miles; Devils Thumb Trail – 5.0 miles. (One way)

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 2.6 and 5 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 395930N
  • Compass Longitude: 1053835W
  • Numeric Latitude: 39.9916536
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.6430583
  • Elevation in Meters: 3,078 to 3,475
  • Elevation in Feet: 10,100 to 11,400

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References

Montgomery Pass Trail

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Montgomery Pass Trail (#986)

The trail climbs 1.3 miles then enters Colorado State Forest State Park before climbing an additional half mile to the pass. From here there are magnificent views of North Park to the west, Neota Wilderness to the south, and Rawah Wilderness to the north. At the boundary line between Roosevelt National Forest and Colorado State Forest State Park there is the remains of an historic log cabin that was built around 1900. The trail is in a sub-alpine are with large sub-alpine fir and Engelmann spruce. Montgomery Pass trailhead accommodates approximately 55 vehicles.

Usage: Light
Restrictions: Trail Regulations: Motorized equipment is prohibited. Certified weed-free hay is required for stock. Leave historic artifacts as you find them.
Closest Towns: Rustic, Fort Collins, Walden
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 onto CO 14 and travel 58 miles west to the Zimmerman Lake trailhead parking lot; on the left side of the highway. The Montgomery Pass trailhead is across the highway to the north.

Day Hiking

Montgomery Pass trailhead accommodates approximately 55 vehicles.

Fire Information:  Check for any seasonal fire restrictions before your hike. Campfires must be at least 100 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: Moderate

Backpacking

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Horse Riding

Montgomery Pass trailhead accommodates approximately 55 vehicles.

Size Restrictions  no
Loading Ramp no
Hitching Rails no
Corrals no
Difficulty Level: Moderate

XC Skiing/Snowshoeing

Park at the Zimmerman Lake parking lot and cross Colorado Highway 14, near the eastern entrance to the parking lot. Look for signs and markers heading north (your right). The trail rises steeply through the trees for two miles, then breaks out of the trees just below Montgomery Pass itself. There is considerable avalanche danger on the steeper slopes in this area above tree line serious backcountry skiers can be seen on most slopes. On the descent be wary of slower, uphill skiers on the narrow trail.

Difficulty Level: Most Difficult

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 1.9 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 403232N
  • Compass Longitude: 1055336W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.5422043
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.8933459
  • Elevation in Meters: 3048 to 3353
  • Elevation in Feet: 10000 to 11000

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References

Timber Lake Trail

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Timber Lake Trail Trail 723

2,600 feet elevation gain.

The Timber Lake trail is 2.0 miles long. It begins at Forest Trail 722 and ends at Timber Lake. The trail is open for the following uses: Horseback riding, hiking, and backpacking.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 4.6 to 5.6 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 40°23'59.1"N
  • Compass Longitude: 105°50'51.3"W
  • Numeric Latitude: 40.399757
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.847580
  • Elevation in Meters: 628 to 847
  • Elevation in Feet: 2,060 to 2,780

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References

Burro Trail

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Burro Trail #80

There are two trailheads for the Burro Trail, one starting at the base of the Peak 9 ski area at Breckenridge near Beaver Run Resort and the other starting at the Spruce Creek Trailhead north of Breckenridge in the town of Blue River. The trail winds through dense forest and has some viewpoints along the way.

Usage: Light-Medium
Restrictions: Closed to motor vehicles.  Open to mountain bike, hike and horse.
Closest Towns: Breckenridge, CO
Information Center: Dillon Ranger District; 680 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne, CO

Directions:

Access 1: From Spruce Creek: From I-70 take Exit 203, Frisco/Breckenridge, and travel south on HWY 9 through Frisco and to Breckenridge. Continue south on HWY 9 past Breckenridge for 2.3 miles and turn right onto Spruce Creek Rd (Country Rd 800). Take left turns at the forks for approximately 1 mile to the Spruce Creek Trailhead parking lot. Do not parallel park on the County Road or on the private drives. To access the Burro Trail continue along Spruce Creek Rd for a short distance and turn right onto Crystal Creek Rd. Within 1/4 mile the Burro Trail intersects the road.

Access 2: From Breckenridge, Peak 9: From I-70 take Exit 203, Frisco / Breckenridge, and travel south on HWY 9 through Frisco and travel to Breckenridge. The lower access is via the Beaver Run parking area at the Peak 9 base of Breckenridge Ski Area. You can park either in the limited Beaver Run Peak 9 paid parking lot or park down in town and take the free shuttle bus to the base area. Once at the Beaver Run parking area you will need to go 100 yards across the Lehman ski run to the Burro Trail trailhead on the south side of the run.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 3.9 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 392727N
  • Compass Longitude: 1060310W
  • Numeric Latitude: 39.4574873
  • Numeric Longitude: -106.0527966
  • Elevation in Meters: 3108 to 3226
  • Elevation in Feet: 10,197 to 10,586

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References

Eaglesmere Trail

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Eaglesmere Trail #61

The trail maintains a steady climb through aspen and pine forests, eventually reaching a clearing offering views down to Lower Cataract Lake, the Lower Blue Valley and up to Eagles Nest Peak. The trail climbs up to Eaglesmere Lakes that are nestled in the trees. This is an excellent hike to view the Aspen trees changing colors in the fall. In addition, an abundance of wildflowers can be seen from mid-late June.

Usage: Light
Restrictions: Open to Hike/Horse Only. Trail enters the Eagles Nest Wilderness Area.
Closest Towns: Heeney, CO

Directions: From I-70 take Exit 205, Silverthorne/Dillon, and travel north on HWY 9. Travel 16 miles north on HWY 9. Just after mile marker 118 turn left onto Heeney Rd (County Rd 30). Follow Heeney Road for 5.3 miles and turn left onto Cataract Creek Road (FDR 1725). Continue for 2 miles to a junction just past the Cataract Creek Campground, turn right onto FDR 1726 and follow road the to the Eaglesmere Trailhead.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 3.6 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 395009N
  • Compass Longitude: 1062009W
  • Numeric Latitude: 39.8358191
  • Numeric Longitude: -106.335862
  • Elevation in Meters: 2,660 to 3,177
  • Elevation in Feet: 8,727 to 10,422

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References

Mount Evans Trail

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Mount Evans National Recreation Trail (#51)

This section of trail starts at the Summit of Mount Evans Interpretive Site parking area. This short hike will allow you to “bag a fourteener” the easy way.

Operational Hours: 24/7 when the road is open
Fees The standard amenity recreation fee is required at Mount Goliath Natural Area, Summit Lake Park, and the Summit of Mount Evans Interpretive Site and passes are valid for all of three fee sites. While the road is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week (weather permitting) the fee is only required during daily hours of operation: 8:00 AM to 6:30 PM.  Vehicle Pass (1-12 occupants) is $10 for a three day pass.
Permit Info: Valid recreation pass must be displayed on vehicle.
Open Season: 28 May
Usage: Heavy
Restrictions: No camping, campfires or stove fires except in designated campgrounds or dispersed campsites. Dogs must be on leash.
Closest Towns: Idaho Springs, CO
Water: None
Restroom: Vault
Operated By: U.S. Forest Service

Directions: I-70 westbound, Idaho Springs exit #240 – Hwy 103. Drive approx. 12 miles to the turn off for Highway 5, Mount Evans road. Proceed through the fee station and drive 3 miles south on Highway 5 to the area.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 0.5 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 39°34'50.0"N
  • Compass Longitude: 105°35'32.0"W
  • Numeric Latitude: 39.580543
  • Numeric Longitude: -105.592214
  • Elevation in Meters: 3694 to 3738
  • Elevation in Feet: 12130 to 12264

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References

Two Elk Trail

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Two Elk Trail #2005

The Two Elk trail starts and/or ends at Forest Road 762 near Minturn and the Vail Pass / Tenmile Canyon National Recreation Trail in East Vail: This trail is popular as a one-way “shuttle hike” where people will leave a car at one end and drive a second car to their trailhead. From the east end, it travels through the cool shady Timber Creek Canyon, climbs a steep section to the Two Elk Pass summit with views of the Gore Range, Sawatch Range, and Vail’s Back Bowls, and descends slowly through meadows and the valley between Vail’s Back Bowls and Blue Sky Basin Bowls finally emerging from the last section of cool aspen-pine forest to the west trailhead.

Current Conditions: * Closed annually from May 6 – July 1 for elk calving and migration.
Usage: Light
Restrictions: The portion of Two Elk Trail that travels through Vail’s Back Bowls is closed annually from May 6 – July 1. Please observe these closures out of respect for resource protection and wildlife calving, feeding, and migration needs.
Closest Towns: Minturn

Directions: EAST TRAILHEAD: Travel east on I-70 to exit 180 for East Vail. Turn right and travel 2.3 miles east on the south frontage road, passing under the interstate and past the Gore Creek Campground. Park just beyond at the road closure gate and walk 1.8 miles up the old Vail Pass road, today’s recreation path, to the Two Elk trailhead on the right. WEST TRAILHEAD: Travel west on I-70 to exit 171 for Minturn, Leadville, and Hwy 24. Turn right and travel south 2.7 miles and into Minturn to Cemetery Bridge. Turn left, cross the bridge and tracks, then proceed south past the cemetery. Go right at the first fork and left at the second fork. Follow this somewhat rough dirt road about 1.8 miles and park at the trailhead at the end.

Access from Vail:

EAST TRAILHEAD: Travel east on I-70 to exit 180 for East Vail. Turn right and travel 2.3 miles east on the south frontage road, passing under the interstate and past the Gore Creek Campground. Park just beyond at the road closure gate and ride 1.8 miles up the old Vail Pass road, today’s recreation path, to the Two Elk trailhead on the right.

WEST TRAILHEAD: Travel west on I-70 to exit 171 for Minturn, Leadville, and Hwy 24. Turn right and travel south 2.7 miles and into Minturn to Cemetery Bridge. Turn left, cross the bridge and tracks, then proceed south past the cemetery. Go right at the first fork and left at the second fork. Follow this somewhat rough dirt road about 1.8 miles and park at the trailhead at the end.

Trail Highlights: From the east trailhead, follow the Old Vail Pass road, now the Vail Pass Recreation Path, 1.8 miles to the junction with the true Two Elk Trailhead on the right. The trail drops from the recreation path to a bridge crossing the Black Gore Creek, then passes under I-70 into the tight Timber Creek canyon which is a cool shady forest alongside the creek. At mile 2.6 the trail makes a sharp right across a third bridge before starting the steepest climb. The majority of the trail’s altitudtude gain happens in this next difficult 1.5 miles to the Two Elk Pass summit. The summit is marked, but does not provide the scenic vista encountered on some of the higher summits. As you ride on, the trees open up to reveal views of the Gore Range, Sawatch Range, and Vail’s back bowls. The rest of the trail is a challenging single-track descent. Note: the next portion of the trail that crosses through the bottom of Vail’s back bowls, and travels alongside the Two Elk Creek, is closed for elk calving from May 6 to July 1. Soon the single-track trail joins up with a service road; ride along this but keep your eyes open for the trail which breaks off of the service road about 100 yards before the road reaches the first chairlift. Remain alert on this trail, as it is very rocky and has many turns in it. After 9 miles of trail riding, you will cross the Two Elk Bridge. Just a little further on is another bridge just before reaching the West Trailhead and the conclusion of this ride.

Comments: Note: Officially, the east trailhead of the Two Elk National Recreation Trail is at it’s junction with the Old Vail Pass trail, but the mileages on these descriptions include the 1.8 miles of the Old Vail Pass trail you must ride to get to the trailhead. A designated National Scenic Trail, Two Elk Trail can be ridden in either direction, although the Trail Highlights section, above, details the more popular east to west route. Two cars are needed to ride the 11 mile length of the trail oneway. Another option is to ride Hw

Length: 11 miles (one way)
Trail Use: Moderate to High
Difficulty: More Difficult
Open To: Hiking, Biking, Horseback
Beginning Elevation: 8,772 ft. (east trailhead)
Ending Elevation: 8,030 ft. (west trailhead)
Elevation Gain: +2324 ft. – 3066 ft. = -742 ft.
USGS Map(s): Minturn, Red Cliff, Vail East

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 11 Miles
  • Compass Latitude: 393508N
  • Compass Longitude: 1062000W
  • Numeric Latitude: 39.5855417
  • Numeric Longitude: -106.3333611
  • Elevation in Meters: 2674 to 2448
  • Elevation in Feet: 8772 to 8030

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References

Calico Trail

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Calico Trail (Upper) (208)

The Calico Trail is comprised of two sections, the Upper and Lower Calico Trails. The lower portion of the trail is accessed via the Priest Gulch Trailhead (see Priest Gulch & Lower Calico Trails information sheet). The most northerly portion is referred to as the Upper Calico Trail; this portion of the trail is part of the National Recreation Trail (NRT) system. Beginning at the Calico Trailhead (see directions below for trail head access), the single-track trail makes its way over and around several peaks, as well as along fairly long stretches of narrow ridgelines. While these stretches afford some spectacular views, be aware of frequent afternoon thundershower activities, which are fairly common in late July and August. The view to the north includes 14,159-foot high El Diente Peak, which is within the Lizard Head Wilderness. The trail winds through a forest of spruce and fir as it follows the divide between the Dolores and West Dolores Rivers, climbing at an average grade of 8% to 11,866-foot high Papoose Peak. The Upper portion of the Calico NRT ends at the junction with West Fall Creek Trail (640) where the lower portion of the Calico Trail comes in. From this junction you can loop back to the Calico Trailhead via the Falls Creek and Winter Trails (202), or continue on to the Priest Gulch Trailhead via the Lower Calico Trail.

 General Notes:Starting elevation: 10,500 ft. (Calico Trailhead, FDR 471 near the Meadows)
Highest elevation: 12,150 ft. (Sockrider Peak)
Ending elevation: 8,050 ft. (Priest Gulch Trailhead)
Trail length one way: 19.2 miles
Maps: See Map 1— North of Dolores (link above), SJNF map, USGS 7 ½’maps: Wallace Ranch, Clyde Lake, Rico, Dolores Peak
Difficulty: moderate-difficult

Directions to the Upper Calico Trailhead: From Dolores on Highway 145, travel east 43 miles, and take the north end of the West Fork Road (FDR 535) turnoff, which is across the highway from Cayton Campground (7 miles north of Rico). The road switchbacks out of the Dolores River Canyon for several miles, then turns south on the Eagle Creek Road (FDR 471). The trailhead is about one mile down this road.

The Calico Trail comprises two sections, upper and lower. A loop hike is possible using the upper portion, which is also a designated National Recreation Trail (NRT). Starting from The Meadows at the Calico Trailhead, the Winter Trail (#202) branches to the northwest. It descends gradually for the first 2 miles, and then drops into the West Dolores Canyon, arriving just east of Dunton, 8,770 ft. The trail (now the Falls Creek Trail, #640) then starts up Fall Creek Canyon and climbs rapidly to join the Calico just northeast of Johnny Bull Mountain. From there it’s up over Sockrider Peak and back down to The Meadows. Total round trip is about 13 miles.

Calico Trail (Lower) (649)

The lower portion of the trail (#649) can be reached via the Priest Gulch Trailhead, (#645, see Priest Gulch Trail description for trailhead location). Originally designed as a stock drive into the high country, this trail was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. Beginning at the Priest Gulch Trailhead, the lower Calico Trail begins by crossing Priest Gulch Creek via a walking bridge and starts a fairly steep accent up a red-rock ridge via many switchbacks. It will be a steady climb for about 1.4 miles through a mixed ponderosa pine and aspen forest before leveling out. For a loop hike using the lower portion of the trail, you can take the Priest Gulch Cut-Off (Trail #201) at mile 2.3, which will cut over to the Priest Gulch trail and back down to the Priest Gulch Trailhead for an approximately 5-mile loop hike.

Priest Gulch and Lower Calico Trails (645 & 208)

Access for both the Priest Gulch #645 and the Lower portion of the Calico #208 Trails is located at the Priest Gulch Trailhead, located across the highway from the Dolores River. From the town of Dolores, travel northeast for approximately 25 miles on Highway 145. The Priest Gulch trailhead is clearly marked on the north side of the highway; the turn is adjacent to a private driveway.For a 3.5-mile loop, take the Priest cutoff trail #201 at mile 1.25 on the Priest Gulch Trail and mile 1.75 on the Lower Calico Trail.The Priest Gulch Trail climbs in elevation alongside Priest Gulch drainage, it passes thru lush meadows and a forest of spruce, fir, and aspen. Common wildlife sightings might include Mule deer, Black bear, coyote, magpies, gray jays, Clark’s nutcracker, red tail hawk, and various woodpeckers, to name a few. This trail will terminate at the junction with the Calico Trail.The Lower Calico Trail was originally designed as a stock drive into the high country; this trail was built through the efforts of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930’s. The trail begins by crossing Priest Gulch Creek via a trail bridge, and starts a fairly steep accent up a red-dirt ridge via many switchbacks. Before leveling out, it will be a steady climb for 1.4 miles through mixed ponderosa pine and aspen forest. The trail continues north past the junction with Priest Gulch Trail where it eventually meets up with the junction of West Fork Falls Creek #640 and the Upper Calico #208 trails.It is possible to do a 16-mile loop back to the Priest Gulch Trailhead by using the Priest Gulch and the Lower Calico Trails.PACK IT

 General Notes:Starting elevation: 8,050 ft. (Priest Gulch Trailhead, Highway 145, across from the Priest Gulch campground)
Highest elevation: 12,150 ft (Sockrider Peak)
Ending elevation: 11,320 ft. (junction with Calico Trail)
Trail length one way: 7.5 miles
Maps: See Map 1— North of Dolores (link above), SJNF map, USGS 7½’ maps: Wallace Ranch, Clyde Lake, Rico, Dolores Peak
Difficulty: Moderate-Difficult

Directions to trailhead: From Dolores on Highway 145, travel northeast 23 miles. The trailhead is clearly marked on the north side of the highway; the turn is next to a private driveway.

For a five-mile loop, take the Priest Gulch Cutoff Trail #201 at mile 1.5, which will take you up (it is steep!) to the lower portion of the Calico Trail and back down to the Priest Gulch Trailhead.

As the trail climbs alongside the Priest Gulch drainage, it passes through lush meadows and a forest of spruce, fir, and aspen. This trail intersects with the Calico Trail around mile 7.5. For a sixteen-mile loop hike, take the lower portion of the Calico Trail back to the Priest Gulch Trailhead. If on horseback, be aware the final stretch of the lower portion of the Calico Trail is very steep as it drops down into the Dolores River Canyon.

Stats

  • Trail Measurement: 22 Miles, Upper (19.2 Miles) and Lower (7.8 Miles)
  • Compass Latitude: 37°44'37.0"N
  • Compass Longitude: 108°04'54.0"W
  • Numeric Latitude: 37.743611
  • Numeric Longitude: -108.081667
  • Elevation in Meters: 2,449
  • Elevation in Feet: 8,036

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References