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Mountain Biking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Divide Ranger District

Quick Facts

Crystal Lake Road 532a

Difficulty: Intermediate

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This is a short (2.5 miles) scenic primitive road that leads to Crystal Lake. It is a fairly popular side trip off the main Bristol Head Peak Road 532. Crystal Lake Road 532a joins the Bristol Head Peak Road approximately 7 miles east from where the Bristol Head Peak Road begins (across Colorado Highway 149 from Rito Hondo/Continental Reservoir Road 513). At the junction, the Crystal Lake Road continues straight ahead (northeast) just before the Boulder Creek crossing where the main Bristol Head Peak Road turns to the south.

The Crystal Lake Road usually poses no access problems unless patches of snow remain on its steeper short stretches. However, the first part of the Bristol Head Peak Road, which serves as access, is extremely steep, rocky, and rough. Many of the rocks are large, making navigation difficult due to poor-to-nonexistent tread and lack of clearance. Substantial driving skill is required to successfully negotiate this section of road without damaging your vehicle.

From its junction with the Bristol Head Peak Road, the Crystal Lake Road #532a climbs 260 feet in the first 0.5 mile and then flattens out for 0.1 mile. Over the next 0.9 mile, the road gains 240 feet in elevation then drops 200 feet in a little over 0.1 mile where it crosses a fork of Shallow Creek. Four-wheel drive pickups with long beds may have some problems negotiating a few of the short, steep sections with tight turns. This is particularly true when the road is dry causing a "spinout" effect on the rocky roadbed. The final 0.9 mile of road climbs approximately 250 feet to Crystal Lake. The route travels through spruce-fir stands and small subalpine parks to the lake, which sits on a small open flat.

This five-acre lake usually provides fair to good catches of rainbow, cutthroat, and brook trout to the angler. The lake is subject to winter kill. However, the Colorado Division of Wildlife periodically stocks the lake.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cold Water Fishing Crystal Lake
ICON Mountain Biking Short road
ICON ATV Riding Short road
ICON Motorcycle Riding Dirt Bikes

Related Activities
North Clear Creek - Four fishing access points to North Clear Creek are provided by means of primitive dirt roads, marked with white arrows, that lead off Forest Road #513 (Continental Reservoir/Rito Honda Reservoir Road).

North Clear Creek Campground - Some sites are in open, while some sites are screened with small aspen/spruce/fir. Good general area in the fall to observe and take pictures of fall aspen colors.

North Clear Creek Falls - This site is 27 miles west of Creede in a fenced area with open grass vegetation. There is a very picturesque view of North Clear Creek Falls.

North Clear Creek Road 510 Scenic Drive - This scenic mountain drive is on a gravel road which provides access to South Clear Creek Campground, North Clear Creek Campground and North Clear Creek Falls Overlook.

North Clear Creek Road 510/Santa Maria-Seepage Roa - The route crosses open parks and rolling aspen-covered hills. Beautiful views of Bristol Head Peak and the surrounding mountains of the Continental Divide, as well as North Clear Creek waterfall are available.

Sawmill Gulch Trail (Conejos Peak Ranger District) - A pleasant day hike which offers spectacular views along the way. An excellent area for picnics and mountain scenery exists at the trail's end.

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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