You will stay on the CDT for the next 5.9 mile until SJ-19. The Colorado Rockies are the … You get to FR 247 from FR 250, about a mile northwest of Platoro. Waypoints SJ-16 Take the trail to the right, cross the small outlet creek near the lakes edge and start the 200 foot climb out of the lake basin. Green depicts unmaintained trials such as to the top of Conejos Peak. Worth Noting: The last grizzly bear in Colorado was killed near Blue Lake in 1979. Sneffels trailhead (outside of Ouray; see link) or by the more popular Dallas Creek Trail (the direction described here). 250 is really well kept for a dirt road, probably due to the traffic. The South San Juan Wilderness lies on the Rio Grande National Forest near Platoro and Antonito Colorado. After the junctions you will be on the south side of the Continental Divide, with some great view of the upper stretches of the Navajo River Valley. Dogs are also able to use this trail. 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. 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. Trek into the South San Juan Wilderness, and you’ll find what just might be the wildest place in Colorado. 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. It also leads to a stunning alpine lake, Blue Lake 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. In late June there were still some good sizes snow fields. An easy 1.8 miles takes you back to the trailhead and mile 17.7. I was by myself and spent 3 nights out. This trail takes you deep into the South San Juan Wilderness, not far from where that legendary bear lived and died. Blue Lake is pretty with its clear water and back drop of small bluffs of volcanic rock. 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). 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. Info: USGS 7.5 minute Quadrangles: Platoro, Victoria Lake, Elephant Head Rock and Summit Peak. Best lake trails in South San Juan Wilderness, Colorado. Island Lake near Silverton, CO Hiking the Ice Lakes Trail Our San Juan National Forest hidden gem is Island Lake, which is one of four amazingly incandescent bodies of glacial water (Ice, Clear and Fuller lakes are the other three) that can be found in the Upper Ice Lake … The nearest towns are Grand Lake, Walden, Kremmling, and Estes Park, Colorado. South San Juan Wilderness would be a great location to reintroduce the grizzly bear in Colorado! . You should be able to right click the file and save it on your computer. 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. The following regulations are in … The rocky formations of the San Juan Mountains, lush alpine greenery and crystal waters truly make Emerald Lake a sight to behold. Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Add Your Photos. Both maps are also available as a two map set on color, weatherproof, Rite-in-the-Rain paper (11x17). Don't miss the small waterfall in the creek from Lake Ann. 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. Although camping is at large, selected established camp sites are green “^”. 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). Quartz Lake Trail is a 9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Pagosa Springs, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. Continue walking on the main road, when you come to a “Y”, take the left toward the pointed pyramid shaped mountain in the skyline. Google Earth Images: In a 0.1 miles, cross the Conejos River. Blue Lakes are set in a scenic glacial basin within the 16,505 acre Mount Sneffels Wilderness. Accessible from the upper 1.2 miles west of lower Blue Lake, S3 (13,410') and S5(13,360') rise on the divide crest. On September 23, 1979 a sow grizzly was killed near Blue Lake by a bow hunter. San Juan National Forest Headquarters 15 Burnett Court Durango, CO 81301 (970) 247-4874 Columbine Ranger District 367 Pearl Street P.O. For those seeking a longer trek, the route connects with the Continental Divide Trail at the lake’s southern tip. SJ-20 (N37.26470 W106.65947) is Conejos Falls. Originally designated as wilderness by Congress in 1980, it is a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System and now maintains 158,790 acres. The green and black line is the wilderness boundary. One such hidden gem is (yet another) Crater Lake, tucked away in the South San Juan Wilderness - an area labeled by many as "Colorado's wildest corner". Blue Lake Backpack. A The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is best used from April until October. JUNE 29th - JULY 5th, 2014 --- A six night, seven day backpacking trip into the South San Juan Wilderness. The South San Juan Wilderness is the least visited wilderness in Colorado. The other one circles to the left and dies out at the outlet stream. Selected Ozark Hikes: Butterfield Trail (Devils Den) - White Rock-Shores Lake Loop, Weatherproof Topographic Maps at Courtesy of Jack Brauer. The South San Juan Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the San Juan National Forest, east of Pagosa Springs, in southern Colorado.. The only facility is a vault toilet. After that, it follows the edge of another long meadow. Since there is a 200 foot camping restriction at Blue Lake and because most of the sites were trashy, we stayed there. 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. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Stay on the CDT at SJ-19 and go over the nose that separates Middle and North Fork. Weatherproof Topographic Maps at Look for the short trail behind the camp to see the falls from the top. 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. Track of the Loop: This link is to a Google Earth KML track file of the Blue Lake loop. We are leaning very hard toward the San Juan Wilderness around Platoro Reservoir area in Unit 81. Email cew5151@gmail.com. Another 0.1 mile takes you past the North Fork Trail, #714, and mile 15.6 (SJ-21, N37.27751 W106.62495). 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. There are a lot of social trails on the southwest side. There is also a road from Del Norte that starts of as Pinos Creek Rd but I have never been on it. 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. We were finding lots OuachitaMaps.com - Hiking Trails of the Ouachitas and Ozarks Located in Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests Neighboring towns: Pagosa Springs, Southfork, Del Norte, Monte Vista The last known grizzly bear in Colorado was killed in the wilderness in 1979. Blue Lake Trail (El Rito Azul) About 5 miles, moderate Situated in the South San Juan Wilderness, this trail winds through thick spruce and fir woodlands and vast meadows to Blue Lake, a placid beauty flanked by volcanic rock bluffs. The trip begins at the Three Forks Trailhead at the very south end of FR 247. Driving up: Take the CO 17 then take the 250 to the trailhead. Waypoints SJ-15 to SJ-16 The creek is braided but it still took a little searching for a place to cross dry. Blue Lake. Click on image to access full size maps and download them. Another friend suggests which section. 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 . 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. 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. It is also the junction of the South Fork Trail, #724. 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. Enjoy . Forest-wide Regulations. One area that is remote and pristine is the San Juan Wilderness in the Rio Grande National Forest. Flat and grassy surrounded by a lush forest. By combining three or more of these trails with the CDT, you can make an excellent backpacking loop 20 to 30 miles long. 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 Read More Then open it with Google Earth to see the entire loop in interactive 3-D. You can also load this on top of the wilderness dataset found on the South San Juan page. 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. Waypoints SJ-16 to SJ-17 ... #5 - Green Lake to Blue Lake Loop off 250. “At your age, that isn’t realistic. Blue Lake, Indian Peaks Wilderness, Colorado March 21, 2019 Green Mountain – Boulder, CO March 21, 2019 South Boulder & Bear Peaks – Boulder CO March 17, 2019 Mount Audubon – Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, CO On September 23, 1979 a sow grizzly was killed near Blue Lake by a bow hunter. The last grizzly bear in Colorado was killed by a hunter in 1977. 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. The hike begins at the Conejos trailhead southwest of Platoro Reservoir in Conejos County. 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). Colorado Maybe it's the jagged 13,000-foot peaks clawing the sky that make the area seem so raw and foreboding. It's known as Colorado's wildest corner with … It’s worth the weight to have that extra stability that could prevent your trip from turning into a tragedy. Christian, the dawg, and I on a 5-day backpacking trip to the South San Juan Wilderness in south central Colorado. At 1.8 miles (SJ-15, N37.27951 W106.62094), the trail splits. There is a sign post at SJ-16 announcing Blue Lake in a quarter mile. 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. All trails in the South San Juan Wilderness areas have been open all season. . The Map of the Wilderness: This map is FREE, but first, be advised that it is a 25 mb file, so you will need a fast connection and some patience. Trail #712 is the Middle Fork Trail, the one we took for this loop. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. Hey, I and 2 buddies are planning to head out west probably the 2nd or 3rd week of September this year for our first elk hunt. One such hidden gem is (yet another) Crater Lake, tucked away in the South San Juan Wilderness - an area labeled by many as "Colorado's wildest corner". 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. Website: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/riogrande/. The combination of high mountain meadows accented by the spruce forest gives a very soft and serene feel. I had a love hate relationship with this hike because of the stream crossings, mosquitos, and getting lost. The 10.4-mile round-trip trek to the body of water gains 1,400 feet in This 7.6-mile hike is also a great choice for its moderate grade and easy access from the town of Ridgeway Blue Lake, San Juan Wilderness Colorado You cross the Rita Azul twice along the journey and travel through vast open alpine meadows on our way to Blue Lake at 10,400 feet. A sedan could easily make it. Recreation. 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 meadowsand huge herd of elk. The little meadow that surrounds the junction is also a campsite. The path is correct! You will sometimes see the old trail in the middle of the meadow. So in 1979, while hunting just across the Continental Divide from Blue Lake, a grizzly was the farthest thing from Ed Wiseman’s mind — until a bear he had accidentally cornered on a ridge burst from the bushes and severely mauled him. To view an updated list of trail. Sat, Jul 25, 2009, 6:00 AM: Big Mountains in the Summertime!This will be a 5-day, 4-night backpacking trip (plus 2 travel days) in the scenic South San Juan Wilderness in SW Colorado. https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/colorado/south-san-juan-wilderness 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. This idea is not farfetched and would likely I think the Conejos loop as described by u/thehappyheathen is the classic multi-day route down there. Nestled away in the Weminuche Wilderness, Emerald Lake is a breathtaking site. Walk up a rocky road beside a sometimes wet, dark rock Blue Lake and Ice Lake … My father-in-law Dave, and I planned to hike this 18.5 mile loop very casually over 3 days from September 9 - 11, 2013. 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. Saw about 3 groups over 3 days on the trail. from Bernard Wolf. 7 years ago. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Follow the Conejos River Trail to Three Forks. Follow FR 247 to the end, passing Platoro Reservoir on your left. The trailhead for Crater Lake is a fair distance off any major highway - roughly 18 miles off of US Highway 160 - in close proximity to relatively unknown Elwood Pass (Forest Road 380). 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. Dogs are also able to use this trail. Make it even longer by going up to the Adams Fork Trail (713) and come out on FR 247 a mile and a half north of the trailhead parking lot. Bring a Colorado fishing license and pole — the secluded lake’s accessible shoreline makes for great casting conditions. About a 0.1 of a mile before the North Fork crossing, there is a beautiful campsite back the left (west). 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. Once you gain some elevation, it is virtually all Engelmann. Chama, NM Intermediate. Waypoints SJ-18 to SJ-20 The crossing was boulder hopping. While easy to follow, it was braided and torn up by horse and cattle and there must have been a big blow because there were seemingly hundreds of downed trees. After another 0.1 mile of downed trees and hoof damage, the trail enters a long meadow. Click on image to access full size maps and download them. A 4 day backpacking adventure into Colorado's South San Juan Wilderness. The new trail stays the west edge near the tree line. It can be done as an out-and-back from either the Mt. Blue Lakes Trail Hike to Lower Blue Lake: Creeks, turquoise alpine water, and Mount Sneffels views are all in store. 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. Cut through the old campsite (marked as no camping allowed), wrap around the south tip of the lake, follow the obvious trail slanting up the hill, pass the campsite and fire ring and head north. 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 … 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. Although printed in black and white, the maps and detailed trail descriptions are worth the money you spend on this paperback. 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. It’s been a year since I did this hike. These maps are FREE to download and print. Worth Noting About the Conejos River Headwaters Loop: The last grizzly bear in Colorado was killed near Blue Lake in 1979. Waypoints SJ-14 to SJ-15 The South San Juan Wilderness encompasses the southeastern extent of the San Juan Mountain Range, including a segment of the Continental Divide. Here you'll have outstanding views of Mt. The Upper Blue Lake is a little more than a quarter-mile away, and sits at an elevation of 11,720 feet. Just past the CDT sign is an old chimney. This idea is not farfetched and would likely facilitate a healthier ecosystem in the San Juan Mountains. But a 76-mile section from Wolf Creek to Cumbres Pass? Backpacking The South San Juan Wilderness - "Epic" Loop Hike - Duration: 26:57. More Green Lake to Blue Lake Loop off 250 is a 35.6 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Capulin, Colorado that features a lake and is rated as difficult. 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. 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 forest in the lower valley is Engelmann spruce with some aspen groves. The trail will enter the forest again at the top of the elevation gain and come back out into meadow as you near SJ-16 (mile 5.5, N37.23926 W106.62530). The trail soon enters the forest to begin a 1,200 foot climb to Blue Lake. . South San Juan Wilderness, Colorado. The San Juan Mountaineers designated S4 … “No,” says my friend Katey, a seasoned mountain climber and wilderness guide. 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. This was the last documented grizzly in Colorado. Courtesy of Jack Brauer. Maps:South San Juan/Del Norte, #142 ($9.95, Trails Illustrated, 800-962-1643). Sneffels, as well as … 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. South San Juan Wilderness Area Government information and links are at the bottom of this page. Some believe that it is still home to a few grizzlies, but there is no sufficient evidence yet to prove this. The trail is primarily used for hiking, nature trips, and bird watching and is best used from July until September. This is especially true early in the season when it might be a little boggy. There was water available while we were there so next time, that's where I'd camp. Blue Lake. As of July 16, 2013 most of the trails in the Weiminuche Wilderness area of the San Juan National Forest are now open. This 18.5 mile trail can be hiked by moderate-to-experienced backpackers in 3 nights and 4 days. To Buy Maps: These maps are FREE. 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. The forest roads are in black and based on aerial and satellite imagery. 127 Reviews. 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. In late June, 2010, it required taking off our boots to cross. Other Ouachita Hikes: Beech Creek Trails - Buckeye Trail - Caney Creek Area - Caney Creek Trail - Eagle Rock Loop South San Juan Wilderness would be a great location to reintroduce the grizzly bear in Colorado! Blue Lake Loop, South San Juan Wilderness, CO. Once you get to the trees, the trail can be found between the tree line and the creek. 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. There are several primitive camp sites around the Lake that offer panoramic views of the lake and surrounding countryside. 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 Turn right on Forest Road 250, a gravel road marked with a sign for Platoro. Hiking Colorado’s Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness Areas Donna Ikenberry’s book is an excellent resource for hiking and backpacking trip planners. From our base in Alamosa, we used FR 250. ... A 2017 trip to Blue Lake Colorado in Conejos County . Once you get to the head of the valley the trail gets lost in all the grass. 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. Waypoints SJ-20 to SJ-21. 1) Intermediate. Waypoints SJ-20 This will be a 5-day, 4-night backpacking trip (plus 2 travel days) in the scenic South San Juan Wilderness in SW Colorado. Continental Divide Trail Sections 1-3, Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area. By If you look at the Excel spreadsheet of the trip mileage, you'll see there is a work sheet for a slightly longer trip. Go north 24.3 miles to FR 247 (you will have just past Platoro). FR 250 makes a hair pin here and FR 247 shoots off to the west. 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! 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