Ute Creek Trail #819 is the major access route into the vast Ute Basin Area. Four major fishable lakes sit below the Continental Divide in the beautiful basin. The Ute Trail is a popular route with Weminuche Wilderness visitors. Many trail travel options are available once the hiker reaches the open basin area above Black Lake. Fishing is rated good to excellent in the creeks and lakes of the Ute Drainage.
Camera clicking is common along this trail. Inspiring views of "The Window" and "The Rio Grande Pyramid" will long be remembered by trail users.
The main Ute Creek Trail begins with a difficult crossing of the Rio Grande River. Do NOT use the private footbridge on the Sky Hi Ranch for any purpose. Early summer crossings of the river at the trailhead should not be attempted. After the river crossing, the trail climbs at a gentle grade along the east-facing slope of Ute Creek. Approximately 2.0 miles from the trailhead, the trail is carved into a short 1/4 mile segment of cliff-like topography and then begins to closely parallel Ute Creek for about a mile in distance.
The trail will then turn gradually away from the immediate creek bottom and start a steep ascent toward Black Lake. Several switchbacks must be negotiated during the climb. Immediately after passing the shore of Black Lake, the trail will break out in the vast open meadow area at the confluence of East, West, and Middle Ute Creeks. The final segment of this trail involves crossing of three small tributaries at the headwater area of Middle Ute Creek. Shortly after the third crossing, the trail makes a short climb to its junction with the Continental Divide Trail at Twin Ute Lakes. The trail is well-defined and easy to follow for its entire length.
Directions from Creede, Colorado: Travel south on Colorado Highway 149 for 20.1 miles to Forest Road #520 (Upper Rio Grande River Road). Go approximately 16.0 miles to the Ute Creek Trailhead. Ute Creek Trail #819 begins on the south bank of the Rio Grande River. If crossing of the Rio Grande River appears hazardous, do not proceed. Do NOT use the footbridge on the nearby Sky Hi Ranch. It is for private use only!
June through September
(NOTE: Hikers using the trail in June can expect some high water crossings on most streams.)