When you get to the cirque below Gunsight Pass you will see the trail turn into a super highway, the result of trying to build some support over what was otherwise very soft ground. Hiking Colorado’s Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness Areas Donna Ikenberry’s book is an excellent resource for hiking and backpacking trip planners. Recreation. SJ-20 (N37.26470 W106.65947) is Conejos Falls. The forest in the lower valley is Engelmann spruce with some aspen groves. The Upper Blue Lake is a little more than a quarter-mile away, and sits at an elevation of 11,720 feet. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. This is the beginning of 550 foot climb to the high point of this hike, culminating at about 12,150 feet (SJ-18, N37.25389 W106.66211). It is also the junction of the South Fork Trail, #724. Follow the GPS! The Hike. The section running south from Platoro to Highway 17 follows the Conejos River and is broad and level the entire way and was our preference. As the trail zigzags across the CD for about a quarter mile it passes a clearing with a vista to the north of the Conejos Valley, all the way to Platoro Reservoir. Eagles Nest Wilderness falls within the jurisdiction of Dillon Ranger District and Holy Cross Ranger District, White River National Forest. “No,” says my friend Katey, a seasoned mountain climber and wilderness guide. For those seeking a longer trek, the route connects with the Continental Divide Trail at the lake’s southern tip. Twin Crater Lakes, Rawah Wilderness Area Roosevelt National Forest Date Hiked: July 12-13, 2014 Distance: 13.6 mi (RT) Elevation Gain: 3,717 ft Elevation Min/Max: 8,578 to 11,085 ft Trailhead Lat/Long: 40º 40' 44" N; 105º 51' 16 This will be a 5-day, 4-night backpacking trip (plus 2 travel days) in the scenic South San Juan Wilderness in SW Colorado. The section of the CDT between Blue Lake and Fish Lake Trail junction (video) (SJ-17, N37.25239 W106.63492) is one of my favorites. That’s it. JUNE 29th - JULY 5th, 2014 --- A six night, seven day backpacking trip into the South San Juan Wilderness. Originally designated as wilderness by Congress in 1980, it is a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System and now maintains 158,790 acres. You get to FR 247 from FR 250, about a mile northwest of Platoro. Direction: From Antonito CO take Highway 17 west for 22.5 miles. The Maps: The maps are true 1:24,000 scale based on the USGS 7.5 minute quadrangles. There is also a road from Del Norte that starts of as Pinos Creek Rd but I have never been on it. Another 0.1 mile takes you past the North Fork Trail, #714, and mile 15.6 (SJ-21, N37.27751 W106.62495). The trails in blue and purple are other trails in the area and are from the Forest Service GIS database. Email cew5151@gmail.com. The following regulations are in … On September 23, 1979 a sow grizzly was killed near Blue Lake by a bow hunter. Trail Info: San Juan/Rio Grande National Forests, Conejos Peak District, (719) 274-8971. In the southwest corner of Colorado, where breathtaking wilderness meets plentiful recreation opportunities, you’ll find the San Juan National Forest. 7 years ago. It can be done as an out-and-back from either the Mt. Worth Noting: The last grizzly bear in Colorado was killed near Blue Lake in 1979. This was the last documented grizzly in Colorado. It gets a bit of wear so in many areas it is a braided trail. The La Jara-Platoro section is a good road but it was curvy, slow and sometimes narrow. Green depicts unmaintained trials such as to the top of Conejos Peak. South San Juan Wilderness would be a great location to reintroduce the grizzly bear in Colorado! Go straight on FR 247 and drive 6.3 miles until it ends at the Three Forks Trailhead (the Platoro Reservoir will be on your left most of this section). Featured Topographic Maps in Oklahoma and Arkansas The South San Juan Wilderness encompasses the southeastern extent of the San Juan Mountain Range, including a segment of the Continental Divide. Blue Lake Trail is a 10.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pagosa Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Offering access to prime backcountry and myriads of trails, the Brainard Lake Recreation Area is a popular jumping off point for adventurers and hikers heading into the Indian Peaks wilderness. It’s been a year since I did this hike. Entering from near Platoro Reservoir the this 17.7 mile hike offers scenic Blue Lake , a stretch of the Continental Divide Trail and Conejos Falls . Several trails lead to Long Lake, Mitchell Lake, Blue Lake, Lake Isabelle, and the Isabelle Glacier. It is moderately difficult, clocking in right at 8 miles with a total 3,000 feet of elevation gain, but the waterfalls, fantastic lakes, and wonderful views below and above the tree line are absolutely fantastic. ... A 2017 trip to Blue Lake Colorado in Conejos County . Blue Lake Loop - South San Juan Wilderness. Here you'll have outstanding views of Mt. After crossing the creek that drains the cirque, the trail levels off at a little under 11,000 and tracks towards the head of the Middle Fork Valley. Once you get to the trees, the trail can be found between the tree line and the creek. Once you gain some elevation, it is virtually all Engelmann. In late June there were still some good sizes snow fields. Trekking poles are recommended, many water crossings (some are fast and up to your thigh or higher) and there are areas that the trail is rocky on a steep slope and sometimes the trail can wash out. You will stay on the CDT for the next 5.9 mile until SJ-19. Maps:South San Juan/Del Norte, #142 ($9.95, Trails Illustrated, 800-962-1643). San Juan National Forest Headquarters 15 Burnett Court Durango, CO 81301 (970) 247-4874 Columbine Ranger District 367 Pearl Street P.O. From our base in Alamosa, we used FR 250. The trailhead is at the south end of a very large parking area. Waypoints SJ-20 Camping, campfires, and restraining or grazing of recreational livestock are NOT permitted within 200 feet of Bear Lake, Blue Lake, Green Lake, and Red Lake. Most had conveniently recessed from the trail but there were several smaller ones that required kick stepping. A 4 day backpacking adventure into Colorado's South San Juan Wilderness. The trail soon enters the forest to begin a 1,200 foot climb to Blue Lake. If you have the right software you can select the tracks you want and load them on your GPS. South San Juan Wilderness, Colorado. It offers some nice views of the surrounding meadows (video) and easy access to Blue Lake (video). You will lose that 550 feet in 0.9 miles. FR 250 makes a hair pin here and FR 247 shoots off to the west. Continental Divide Trail Sections 1-3, Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area. The combination of high mountain meadows accented by the spruce forest gives a very soft and serene feel. The trail is mostly in the forest for the next mile and was in really bad shape. And thinking back on it it was a glorious mix of everything in the wild. Worth Noting About the Conejos River Headwaters Loop: The last grizzly bear in Colorado was killed near Blue Lake in 1979. Created on December 22, 1980, when President Carter signed Public Law 96-560, the 127,721-acre South San Juan Wilderness is a geographically remote and primal territory. To view an updated list of trail. It also leads to a stunning alpine lake, Blue Lake This short trail is used to get to the Middle Fork Conejos River Trail, North Fork Conejos River Trail, and El Rito Azul Trail - all of which connect you to the Continental Divide Trail. At about mile 7.7, the trail leaves the meadow and enters the forest. At this point you are well above the tree line ready to start your descending traverse across the face of the north ridge. With terrain ranging from high-desert mesas to alpine peaks, there are miles of scenic back roads, hundreds of campsites, and a … Other Ouachita Hikes: Beech Creek Trails - Buckeye Trail - Caney Creek Area - Caney Creek Trail - Eagle Rock Loop There are a lot of social trails on the southwest side. Explore the most popular lake trails in South San Juan Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you. A short scenic drive along the San Juan Skyway on Highway 45 south of Telluride leads past Trout Lake to Lizard Head Pass (10,222-ft.) where you can enjoy views of Lizard Head’s distinctive lone spire rising 400-ft. above itsOphir A hike in the heart of the S. San Juan wilderness, Blue Lake is located at 11,465 ft, just a few feet from the Continental Divide Trail. The lake lives up to its name - it supports a healthy cutthroat trout population thanks to its depth, adequate drainage area, and remoteness. Rio Grande National Forest, 1803 W. Highway 160, Monte Vista, CO 81144, Telephone: 719-852-5941. 1) Intermediate. There is a sign post at SJ-16 announcing Blue Lake in a quarter mile. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. OuachitaMaps.com - Hiking Trails of the Ouachitas and Ozarks. Blue Lake. Backpacking The South San Juan Wilderness - "Epic" Loop Hike - Duration: 26:57. This stunning alpine lake offers soul stirring views of pristine waters. FR 250 almost makes a "C" starting west of La Jara (between Alamosa and Antonito), going west to Platoro, south past the South Fork Trailhead (Conejos Peak Loop) and out on Highway 17. After coming up to the back side of a bald saddle (which if you go to the top will get more view of the Conejos Valley), you see the trail climbing a bluff towards the south. OuachitaMaps.com - Hiking Trails of the Ouachitas and Ozarks The Never Summer wilderness is located immediately west of Rocky Mountain National Park in northern Colorado. The path is correct! There was water available while we were there so next time, that's where I'd camp. Located in Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests Neighboring towns: Pagosa Springs, Southfork, Del Norte, Monte Vista Sneffels, as well as … The difference in the El Rito tracks was so great it looks like the trail may have been rerouted since the FS track was taken (it is obvious that is the case in the higher meadows where the old tread is still evident). Add Your Photos. Conejos Peak Loop, South San Juan Wilderness, CO Situated in the south east corner of the wilderness, this 22.2 mile hike in the Conejos Peak (pronounced coe-NAY-hoes) area offers a mix of wooded valleys, alpine meadows and huge herd of elk. The last grizzly bear in Colorado was killed by a hunter in 1977. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from July until September. You will sometimes see the old trail in the middle of the meadow. Blue Lake Backpack. The trail follows the lake and just before you reach the northwest corner, it splits. Once you get to the head of the valley the trail gets lost in all the grass. Within a 100 feet or so you will pass a trail marker for #718 and then a sign for the Continental Divide Trail, #813. . The hike begins at the Conejos trailhead southwest of Platoro Reservoir in Conejos County. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. A Take a small section,” she says. Follow the Conejos River Trail to Three Forks. 30.6 mi 49.2 km #12 CDT: New Mexico Border to Blue Lake (CO Sec. South San Juan Wilderness would be a great location to reintroduce the grizzly bear in Colorado! After that, it follows the edge of another long meadow. The trip begins at the Three Forks Trailhead at the very south end of FR 247. There are several primitive camp sites around the Lake that offer panoramic views of the lake and surrounding countryside. The San Juan Mountaineers designated S4 … Far from 14ers, but replete with 12ers, low 13ers, and high alpine lakes, the South San Juan Wilderness offers solitude for those who are willing to find it. South San Juan Wilderness Specific Regulations. There is not much of a tread this high in the valley so your best bet is to just head down hill staying left (north of the stream. The crossing was boulder hopping. They are formated for 11x17 paper. Trail #712 is the Middle Fork Trail, the one we took for this loop. South San Juan Wilderness Day Four – Blue Lake to Middle Fork of the Conejos River (aka the day of the flying dog) : Liz and I adopted this canine from the Boulder Humane Society, Emma, that will forever be a free spirit. To get there you need to get to Platoro. ... #5 - Green Lake to Blue Lake Loop off 250. The Eagles Nest Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the Gore Range near Vail, Copper Mountain, Frisco, Silverthorne, and Heeney, in Summit and Eagle Counties, Colorado. The maps are $5/sheet ($10 for the set) plus S&H by emailing cew5151@gmail.com. Another friend suggests which section. Trail Tips: This is a tough trail both on the ascents and descents. At 1.8 miles (SJ-15, N37.27951 W106.62094), the trail splits. These maps are FREE to download and print. This trail has it all: hiking, river crossings, snow crossings, mud crossings, swamp crossings, the CDT, beautiful lakes, scrambling areas, random side trails that can throw you off course (but you’ll figure them out) and gorgeous views that will take your breath away if the altitude hasn’t! There is a sign on one of the few trees announcing the CDT arrows to Elwood Pass and Blue Lake and a post marked 712 a little further down hill (SJ-19, N37.27784 W106.67919). I have a trip coming up the week of August 19th, my current plan is to hike the Elk Creek/Valle Victoria loop in the South San Juan Wilderness. Dogs are also able to use this trail. The nearest towns are Grand Lake, Walden, Kremmling, and Estes Park, Colorado. https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/colorado/south-san-juan-wilderness Situated south of Platoro Reservoir, this 17.7 mile hike offers a mix of wooded valleys, alpine meadows and a an exhilerating stretch of the Continental Divide Trail. The Colorado Rockies are the … On September 23, 1979 a sow grizzly was killed near Blue Lake by a bow hunter. It is still possible that grizzlies inhabit remote areas of the South San Juan Wilderness. Keep climbing to Blue Lake Pass at 11,010 feet and to surrounding 12,000-foot ridges where you’ll be rewarded with liberal views of Rocky Mountain National Park to the south. Saw about 3 groups over 3 days on the trail. This 7.6-mile hike is also a great choice for its moderate grade and easy access from the town of Ridgeway Although camping is at large, selected established camp sites are green “^”. Almost entirely above treeline, this 6.5-mile day-hike loop cruises below rounded 12,000-foot ridges en route to Tobacco Lake in the heart of Colorado’s South San Juans. We camped at Blue Lake the first night, then wanted to camp in the vicinity of Lake Ann on day two. The purple trail is the Continental Divide Trail. Covid summer has made recreation around Santa Fe quite popular at basically all times, so I decided to explore the South San Juans instead a … Your best bet is the follow the trail west from the SJ-16 signpost (heads up hill) to the lake. The last known grizzly bear in Colorado was killed in the wilderness in 1979. After another 0.1 mile of downed trees and hoof damage, the trail enters a long meadow. Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. To get a view from the bottom you need to either take the main trail further down and cut back, or look for the informal trail where you can scramble down. Accessible from the upper 1.2 miles west of lower Blue Lake, S3 (13,410') and S5(13,360') rise on the divide crest. Go north 24.3 miles to FR 247 (you will have just past Platoro). . Go With The Flow: The headwaters for several rivers, including the San Juan, form here, and the area is flush with lakes (more than 30), including Red Lake. Trek into the South San Juan Wilderness, and you’ll find what just might be the wildest place in Colorado. Both maps are also available as a two map set on color, weatherproof, Rite-in-the-Rain paper (11x17). I heard about 4 groups near the 2nd lake. Some believe that it is still home to a few grizzlies, but there is no sufficient evidence yet to prove this. The loop is shown in red and is based on the GPS track taken on the hike. In addition to a beautiful hike, the fishing in all three lakes can be superb. Blue Lake is an hour from this shed. The rocky formations of the San Juan Mountains, lush alpine greenery and crystal waters truly make Emerald Lake a sight to behold. The little meadow that surrounds the junction is also a campsite. We were finding lots of 12-17 mile in-and-outs in NM. Bring a Colorado fishing license and pole — the secluded lake’s accessible shoreline makes for great casting conditions. Although printed in black and white, the maps and detailed trail descriptions are worth the money you spend on this paperback. Except for the El Rito Azul Trail, there was very good correlation between the new GPS tracks and the forest service’s version of the loop, so I suspect the other trails depictions are reliable. The summit of S4 (13,242') is perched on a ridge extending 0.5 mile east from S5, and is also accessible from the basin west of the lower lake. Following 724 will lead to the South Fork Trailhead (used for the Conejos Peak Loop (video)) and offers access to Glacier Lake and Conejos Peak. I had a love hate relationship with this hike because of the stream crossings, mosquitos, and getting lost. Green Lake to Blue Lake Loop off 250 is a 57.3 kilometer lightly trafficked loop trail located near Capulin, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. 127 Reviews. This 18.5 mile trail can be hiked by moderate-to-experienced backpackers in 3 nights and 4 days. An easy 1.8 miles takes you back to the trailhead and mile 17.7. Just past the CDT sign is an old chimney. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October. Been looking for decent 20-40 mile loops/lassos in Northern NM and seems like for our interests (lakes w/ fishing, alpine, valleys), there are more options in South San Juan Wilderness just north in Colorado. Follow FR 247 to the end, passing Platoro Reservoir on your left. “At your age, that isn’t realistic. Blue Lake Loop, South San Juan Wilderness, CO. Chama, NM Intermediate. ImSozoed - Duration: 25:05. History The South San Juan Wilderness encompasses an area in south-central Colorado and is roughly shared evenly by the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests. The hike up to Ice Lake and Island Lake in Colorado's San Juan Mountains is truly an amazing one. Nestled away in the Weminuche Wilderness, Emerald Lake is a breathtaking site. Waypoints SJ-16 to SJ-17 Blue Lakes Trail Hike to Lower Blue Lake: Creeks, turquoise alpine water, and Mount Sneffels views are all in store. Selected Ozark Hikes: Butterfield Trail (Devils Den) - White Rock-Shores Lake Loop, Weatherproof Topographic Maps at . To Buy Maps: These maps are FREE. Box 439 Bayfield, CO … 250 is really well kept for a dirt road, probably due to the traffic. Info: USGS 7.5 minute Quadrangles: Platoro, Victoria Lake, Elephant Head Rock and Summit Peak. It’s worth the weight to have that extra stability that could prevent your trip from turning into a tragedy. Blue Lake inside the Rawah Wilderness near Fort Collins, CO Located between Roosevelt and Routt national forests near the rural towns of Gould and Walden , the Rawah Wilderness Area unfolds into 76 miles of trails webbing through dense forests speckled with transparent subalpine lakes. Waypoints SJ-17 to SJ-18 Website: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/riogrande/. Another 0.3 miles takes you to Three Forks junction (SJ-15) where you close the loop. By combining three or more of these trails with the CDT, you can make an excellent backpacking loop 20 to 30 miles long. Best lake trails in South San Juan Wilderness, Colorado. Come down the North Fork Trail for a 20.2 mile hike or extend it even further by coming down the North Fork Cut-off trail. Waypoints SJ-14 I'll have 4 nights, which should give me time to As of July 16, 2013 most of the trails in the Weiminuche Wilderness area of the San Juan National Forest are now open. I experienced everything from the uncountable stream crossings, mosquitos galore, a 7+ point bull elk taking a bath in the river, getting lost 3 times (rather not being able to find the trail), woken up at 3am with a large beast sniffing feet away from my head, fresh bear tracks, snow melt in August, countless beauty, memories and pictures. 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