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

Quick Facts

West Pole Creek Trail

Beginning Elevation: 11,200 Feet (3491.3 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,400 Feet (436.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,600 Feet (3927.7 Meters)
Length, One-way: 3.5 Miles (5.83 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 918
Usage: Very Light
USGS Maps: Pole Mountain, Howardsville
Vehicle Accessibility: Multiple use

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Stoney Pass area, looking toward Pole Creek
Copyright: Unknown
Stoney Pass area, looking toward Pole Creek
The upper trail segment is very poorly marked and does not have a distinctive trail tread. A few decent camping places exist on the lower segment of this trail. Good opportunities to see elk exist in the early mornings and late evenings. Fishing is possible near the mouth of West Pole Creek. Sheep grazing occurs in the summer months.

Excellent views and an excellent assortment of wildflowers can be found in the West Pole Drainage. Few people hike in the West Pole Area. Hiking this trail is basically a cross-country type experience. The trail is well-defined in only a few short segments. The last climb to the Continental Divide is steep. The best bet to reach the Divide is to choose your own route and follow the drainage upward.

Directions from Creede: Travel southwest from Creede on Highway 149 for about 20 miles, to the intersection of Highway 149 and Forest Development Road 520 (Rio Grande Reservoir/Upper Rio Grande Road). Follow Forest Road 520 for approximately 23.5 miles to the Pole Creek Trailhead. Hike approximately 3 miles up Pole Creek Trail (Forest Development Trail 916). The junction with Forest Trail 916 is not distinctive or signed. Proceed across Pole Creek and up the north side of the West Pole Drainage to pick up the trail.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Late June through September .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Not Recommended

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking A few decent sites on the lower segment
ICON Cold Water Fishing Fishing is possible near the mouth of West Pole Creek.
ICON Hiking & Walking West Pole Creek Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Upper trail segment very poorly marked
ICON Mountain Biking Trail is well-defined in only a few short segments
ICON ATV Riding Upper trail segment very poorly marked
ICON Motorcycle Riding Upper trail segment very poorly marked
ICON Viewing Wildlife Good opportunities to see elk in the early mornings and late evenings.

Related Activities
Lost Trail Campground - The campground is located 38.2 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road 520. There are numerous attractions to tempt the camper.

Lost Trail Creek - Excellent views and good fishing are both possible along this trail. Evidence of recent and historic mining activity is visible near Carson Pass on the Continental Divide.

Pole Creek Trail (Divide Ranger District) - Take the short side trip from the trail to the creek to see a series of small waterfalls, natural arches and crystal clear pools on Pole Creek.

Pole Creek-Cataract Lake (Continental Divide/La Ga - This trail serves as a link between the Lost Trail Creek and Pole Creek drainages. The trail also provides access to the Continental Divide and Cataract Lake.

Stony Pass Road 520 - This is a scenic and remote primitive road that is a popular route between the historic mining towns of Creede and Silverton. Numerous mining claims, mines, and associated structures are found along the route.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Divide Ranger Station, 13308 West US Highway 160, P.O. Box 40 , Del Norte, CO, 81132, Phone: 719-657-3321, TTY: 719-657-6038


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