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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Conejos Peak Ranger District

Quick Facts

Bear Creek Trail (Conejos Peak Ranger District)

Beginning Elevation: 8,550 Feet (2665.2 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,250 Feet (389.7 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,800 Feet (3054.9 Meters) Ends in upper Bear Creek Canyon at the intersection with Trail #742
Length, One-way: 1.5 Miles (2.5 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 737
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Osier

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Fall color
Copyright: Unknown
Fall color
The Bear Creek Trail passes through the Osier Mountain Area, an environment that is quite different from the Conejos Plateau Area, where most of the district's trails are found. Steep cliffs border Bear Creek near its confluence with the Conejos River. The trail climbs to the bench above these cliffs and passes through thick forests of ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, white fir and aspen.

The trail soon enters a forest of regenerating aspen. The Bear Creek drainage was burned during the Osier fire in 1879. Extensive aspen forests were established on the slopes of Osier Mountain and surrounding drainages during the years following. The aspen for the Bear and Sheep Creek valleys were attacked by tent caterpillars in 1958 and 1959, and most of the trees were killed.

Deadfall aspen are now scattered over the slopes, and young aspen are sprouting among them. A thick growth of shrubs and herbs dominate the area, sometimes hiding the trail. In midsummer, lucky hikers may find refreshing ripe raspberries and choke cherries along the trail.

The trail ends at its intersection with the La Manga Stock Driveway #711. From the trail junction, Bear Creek can be followed cross country to Osier Mountain, a 10,700 foot mesa offering beautiful views into the valley of Toltec Creek and the Rio de los Pinos.

Drinking water is available from Bear Creek and the spring at its head but should be treated before consumption.

Directions from Antonito, Colorado: Park at the River Springs Work Center on Highway 17, 15.0 miles west of Antonito. Walk west along the road, pass the corral and down to the river. The river must be forded, and extreme caution should be used. It is not advised that the Conejos River be crossed during spring runoff when it is running high and swift. Follow the Sheep Creek Trail #735 to its intersection with Bear Creek Trail #737.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: April through September .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Typical spring conditions indicate you should expect snow above 10,000 feet. Updated: 2000-05-09 10:31:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Bear Creek Trail (Conejos Peak Ranger District)
ICON Berry Picking Raspberries and choke cherries in the fall
ICON Viewing Scenery Toltec Creek and the Rio de los Pinos from Osier Mountain

Related Activities
Sheep Creek Trail - The Sheep Creek drainage has several unique features which make Trail #735 attractive to day hikers. It shows two examples of ecological succession, one following fire and one following an insect infestation.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Conejos Peak Ranger Station, 15571 County Road T-5, P.O. Box 420 , La Jara, CO, 81140, Phone: 719-274-8971, TTY: 719-274-3139


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