The hike up to Ice Lake and Island Lake in Colorado's San Juan Mountains is truly an amazing one. Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. 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. 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 other one circles to the left and dies out at the outlet stream. 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. Although printed in black and white, the maps and detailed trail descriptions are worth the money you spend on this paperback. Ouachita Trail Loops: Billy Creek Trail - Boardstand Trail - Holson Valley Loop - Horse Thief Springs Trail - Old Military Road Trail - Talimena-Bohannon Loop JUNE 29th - JULY 5th, 2014 --- A six night, seven day backpacking trip into the South San Juan Wilderness. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. This is especially true early in the season when it might be a little boggy. Waypoints SJ-16 to SJ-17 Chama, NM Intermediate. The La Jara-Platoro section is a good road but it was curvy, slow and sometimes narrow. Follow the Conejos River Trail to Three Forks. The loop is shown in red and is based on the GPS track taken on the hike. We are leaning very hard toward the San Juan Wilderness around Platoro Reservoir area in Unit 81. By combining three or more of these trails with the CDT, you can make an excellent backpacking loop 20 to 30 miles long. 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. At about mile 7.7, the trail leaves the meadow and enters the forest. The first 1.8 miles of Trail 712, known as both the Conejos River Trail and the Three Forks Trail, follows the long, broad meadow that surrounds the Conejos River. Track of the Loop: This link is to a Google Earth KML track file of the Blue Lake loop. This idea is not farfetched and would likely Other Ouachita Hikes: Beech Creek Trails - Buckeye Trail - Caney Creek Area - Caney Creek Trail - Eagle Rock Loop OuachitaMaps.com - Hiking Trails of the Ouachitas and Ozarks 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. 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. But after it was all said and done, I would def do it again. Enjoy . But, don't ask me about fishing - I cannot kill a fly. This stunning alpine lake offers soul stirring views of pristine waters. Nestled away in the Weminuche Wilderness, Emerald Lake is a breathtaking site. ImSozoed - Duration: 25:05. Blue Lake Loop, South San Juan Wilderness, CO. Trek into the South San Juan Wilderness, and you’ll find what just might be the wildest place in Colorado. 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. Eagles Nest Wilderness falls within the jurisdiction of Dillon Ranger District and Holy Cross Ranger District, White River National Forest. from Bernard Wolf. Email [email protected] The last grizzly bear in Colorado was killed by a hunter in 1977. Saw about 3 groups over 3 days on the trail. In addition to a beautiful hike, the fishing in all three lakes can be superb. 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. South San Juan Wilderness Specific Regulations. 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 . Alternatively, both maps are available on 11x17 Rite in the Rain weatherproof stock for $5/sheet ($10 for the set) plus S&H. 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. The green and black line is the wilderness boundary. 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. Although camping is at large, selected established camp sites are green “^”. 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 Maps: The maps are true 1:24,000 scale based on the USGS 7.5 minute quadrangles. Blue Lake. The only facility is a vault toilet. The trail soon enters the forest to begin a 1,200 foot climb to Blue Lake. Dogs are also able to use this trail. The trail is mostly in the forest for the next mile and was in really bad shape. The new trail stays the west edge near the tree line. If you have the right software you can select the tracks you want and load them on your GPS. But a 76-mile section from Wolf Creek to Cumbres Pass? The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until September. From Grand Lake, the eastern portion of the wilderness is accessed by traveling north on Hwy 34 into Rocky Mountain National Park’s Kawuneeche Valley entrance. Flat and grassy surrounded by a lush forest. Accessible from the upper 1.2 miles west of lower Blue Lake, S3 (13,410') and S5(13,360') rise on the divide crest. Another 0.3 miles takes you to Three Forks junction (SJ-15) where you close the loop. 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. This was the last documented grizzly in Colorado. The Hike. 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 creek is braided but it still took a little searching for a place to cross dry. “No,” says my friend Katey, a seasoned mountain climber and wilderness guide. A 4 day backpacking adventure into Colorado's South San Juan Wilderness. We were finding lots It begins at the Three Forks Trailhead at the south end of FR 247 and follows the Conejos River, El Rito Azul, Continental Divide and Middle Fork Trails. Stay on the CDT at SJ-19 and go over the nose that separates Middle and North Fork. 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. Ford the Conejos River here. 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. It is also the junction of the South Fork Trail, #724. On September 23, 1979 a sow grizzly was killed near Blue Lake by a bow hunter. There are several primitive camp sites around the Lake that offer panoramic views of the lake and surrounding countryside. You will lose that 550 feet in 0.9 miles. 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). About a 0.1 of a mile before the North Fork crossing, there is a beautiful campsite back the left (west). 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. 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. The San Juan Mountaineers designated S4 … 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. 30.6 mi 49.2 km #12 CDT: New Mexico Border to Blue Lake (CO Sec. We went east following the El Rio Azul Trail, #718. 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. Blue Lake Loop. A sedan could easily make it. Worth Noting About the Conejos River Headwaters Loop: The last grizzly bear in Colorado was killed near Blue Lake in 1979. Direction: From Antonito CO take Highway 17 west for 22.5 miles. Trek into the South San Juan Wilderness, and you’ll find what just might be the wildest place in Colorado. Several trails lead to Long Lake, Mitchell Lake, Blue Lake, Lake Isabelle, and the Isabelle Glacier. 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 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. 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. It is easy to spot because you will be hiking next to a meadow, enter the trees and find a trailside campsite on your right. 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 Click on image to access full size maps and download them. 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. From here the hike is mostly in meadow until the trailhead. 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. They are formated for 11x17 paper. Rio Grande National Forest, 1803 W. Highway 160, Monte Vista, CO 81144, Telephone: 719-852-5941. Google Earth Images: Blue Lake is an hour from this shed. Once you get to the trees, the trail can be found between the tree line and the creek. Weatherproof Topographic Maps at At this point you are well above the tree line ready to start your descending traverse across the face of the north ridge. Most had conveniently recessed from the trail but there were several smaller ones that required kick stepping. There is also a road from Del Norte that starts of as Pinos Creek Rd but I have never been on it. The trailhead is at the south end of a very large parking area. 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. 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. Once you gain some elevation, it is virtually all Engelmann. Don't miss the small waterfall in the creek from Lake Ann. Green depicts unmaintained trials such as to the top of Conejos Peak. Recreation. 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. South San Juan Wilderness, the last refuge of grizzlies in Colorado. The combination of high mountain meadows accented by the spruce forest gives a very soft and serene feel. https://www.alltrails.com/parks/us/colorado/south-san-juan-wilderness Crowd-free, rocky mountain highs -- you'll find this and more in Colorado's South San Juan Wilderness. After another 0.1 mile of downed trees and hoof damage, the trail enters a long meadow. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. Located in Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests Neighboring towns: Pagosa Springs, Southfork, Del Norte, Monte Vista The crossing was boulder hopping. In a 0.1 miles, cross the Conejos River. A 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 … The rocky formations of the San Juan Mountains, lush alpine greenery and crystal waters truly make Emerald Lake a sight to behold. It's known as Co Follow FR 247 to the end, passing Platoro Reservoir on your left. For those seeking a longer trek, the route connects with the Continental Divide Trail at the lake’s southern tip. Waypoints SJ-20 Take a small section,” she says. The 10.4-mile round-trip trek to the body of water gains 1,400 feet in I'll have 4 nights, which should give me time to The South San Juan Wilderness encompasses the southeastern extent of the San Juan Mountain Range, including a segment of the Continental Divide. The lake lives up to its name - it supports a healthy cutthroat trout population thanks to its depth, adequate drainage area, and remoteness. 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! It’s worth the weight to have that extra stability that could prevent your trip from turning into a tragedy. 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. Trip Mileage Table: Click here for trip mileage table. 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. The trip begins at the Three Forks Trailhead at the very south end of FR 247. Another friend suggests which section. 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). 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". 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.. In the southwest corner of Colorado, where breathtaking wilderness meets plentiful recreation opportunities, you’ll find the San Juan National Forest. We camped at Blue Lake the first night, then wanted to camp in the vicinity of Lake Ann on day two. It is still possible that grizzlies inhabit remote areas of the South San Juan Wilderness. Bring a Colorado fishing license and pole — the secluded lake’s accessible shoreline makes for great casting conditions. The area is unusually isolated and difficult to traverse, thanks to eroded volcanic rocks that created seemingly impenetrable ridges and canyons. I think the Conejos loop as described by u/thehappyheathen is the classic multi-day route down there. 127 Reviews. Sneffels trailhead (outside of Ouray; see link) or by the more popular Dallas Creek Trail (the direction described here). 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 … 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. An easy 1.8 miles takes you back to the trailhead and mile 17.7. 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