The Colorado Trail is a 470-mile long hiking trail which stretches from Waterton Canyon, southwest of Denver, Colorado near Chatfield Reservoir, to Durango, Colorado. One of only a few national trails built and funded largely be volunteers, the trail passes through seven national forests and provides primarily hikers and horsemen with some of the most spectacular mountain scenery in the State.
aerial view of a conifer forest
A detailed guide book entitled "A Colorado High" The Official Guide to The Colorado Trail along with topographic maps are available through The Colorado Trail Foundation, P.O. Box 280876, Lakewood, Colorado 80226-0876.
Approximately 47.4 miles of the Colorado Trail is located on the Divide Ranger District of the Rio Grande National Forest. That portion of the Colorado Trail which lies on the Divide Ranger District, begins at a point on the Continental Divide approximately 6.3 miles west of San Luis Pass (via Sky Line Trail 645 which is primarily located on the Gunnison National Forest) near the headwaters of West Mineral Creek.
In the summers of 1988 and 1989, numerous volunteers worked on the majority of the Colorado Trail running through the Divide Ranger District. Portions of the trail were relocated, tread maintained and/or developed and Colorado Trail markers were erected which should make following the trail much easier.
From just east of San Luis Pass, where the Colorado Trail first enters onto the Divide Ranger District, to the trail junctions of Pole Creek Trail 820, East Fork Middle Pole Creek Trail 816, and La Garita Stock Driveway Trail 787 (approx. 3.7 miles north of Beartown Road 506 and Rio Grande Reservoir-Stony Pass Road 520) the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail are one and the same. For the majority of this distance, both trails utilize the existing La Garita Stock Driveway Trail 787.
From the La Garita Stock Driveway Trail junction with Trail 916, the Colorado Trail follows Pole Trail 820 for a distance of approximately 3.7 miles to its junction with Beartown (4-wheel drive) Road 506. The Colorado Trail then follows the route of Beartown Road 506, which is open to 4-wheel drive and other forms of off-road vehicle use, approximately 5 miles to a point approximately 1 1/4 miles below Kit Lake (a dead lake) where the road intersects the La Garita Stock Driveway Trail 787 once again. Here the Colorado Trail again follows the La Garita Stock Driveway approximately 2 miles to the Divide Ranger District boundary on the Continental Divide where the Colorado Trail continues onto the San Juan National Forest, heading west along Elk Creek and towards Molas Pass.
Directions: The trail enters the Divide Ranger District at a point near the headwaters of West Mineral Creek on the Continental Divide approximately 6.3 miles west of San Luis Pass (via Skyline Trail #465).There are six different road access points to the Colorado Trail on the Divide Ranger District.1) San Luis Pass Trail Access2) Spring Creek Pass Trailhead3) Carson Saddle-Wager Gulch Trail Access4) Carson Saddle-Hermit & Pearl Lakes Road-Heart Lake 4-wheel drive road Trail Access5) Rio Grande Reservoir-Stony Pass Road Trail Access6) Rio Grande Reservoir/Stony Pass-Beartown Road Trail Access
Mid-Summer through Mid-Fall .