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

Quick Facts

Continental Divide - Spring Creek Pass to Carson Saddle Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,898 Feet (3397.1 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,462 Feet (455.7 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,360 Feet (3852.9 Meters)
Length, One-way: 18.7 Miles (31.17 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 813
Usage: Light to Moderate
USGS Maps: Slumgullion Pass, Lake San Cristobal, Finger Mesa
Vehicle Accessibility: Multiple use First 8.6 miles




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

Spring Creek Pass, Hermit Lakes, Rio Grande Pyramid
Copyright: G. Lloyd
Spring Creek Pass, Hermit Lakes, Rio Grande Pyramid
The Colorado Trail follows the Jarosa Mesa 4-Wheel-Drive Forest Development Road # 547, west out of Spring Creek Pass Picnic & Campground. The first 8.6 miles of this route is open to 4-wheel-drive and other off-road vehicles. The road and trail follows the Continental Divide. Uncompahgre Peak, 14,286 feet, can be seen from several locations along the route, along with numerous other peaks and mountain ranges.

The trail and road runs through scattered spruce-fir trees and then willow brush as the route gains elevation. Once on top of Jarosa Mesa, the route traverses in open alpine parks for several miles before starting its descent just below the crest of the Continental Divide to Carson. Except for a spring near the road, about 2.5 miles from the start, water is scarce or nonexistent along the route until the vicinities of the headwaters of Big Buck, Ruby, and Kitty Creeks.

The route is closed to 4-wheel-drive motorized vehicles over 40 inches wide (including jeeps) approximately midway between Big Buck and Ruby Creeks. Up to this point, the 4-wheel-road is open to all forms of vehicles, i.e. jeeps, trail bikes, ATVs, mountain bikes, etc. From midway, between Big Buck and Ruby Creeks, the route continues as a trail southwest and west to Coney Peak and to the Carson area. The route continues as a trail and is open only to ATVs, trail bikes, mountain bikes, motorized vehicles 40 inches or less wide, and not to 4-wheel drive jeeps until you reach Coney Peak.

Just east of the Carson area lies the highest point on the entire Colorado Trail, just below 13,344 feet, Coney Summit. From the top of Coney, an indistinct jeep trail is open to jeeps from the Carson Saddle to Coney but not beyond to the east.

Directions from Lake City, Colorado: Travel 17.0 miles south on Colorado Highway 149 to Spring Creek Pass Trailhead. The trailhead is obvious where Highway 149 tops out on the Continental Divide and Spring Creek Pass. A jeep road, Forest Development Road # 547, continues west from the top of the pass along the Continental Divide and serves as the Continental Divide and Colorado Trails for the first several miles.

Directions from Creede, Colorado: Travel 33.0 miles north on Colorado Highway 149 to Spring Creek Pass Trailhead. The trailhead is obvious where Highway 149 tops out on the Continental Divide and Spring Creek Pass. A jeep road, Forest Development Road # 547, continues west from the top of the pass along the Continental Divide and serves as the Continental Divide and Colorado Trails for the first several miles.

Directions from Lake City, Colorado: CARSON SADDLE-WAGER GULCH TRAIL ACCESS: Travel south on Colorado Highway 149 approximately 1.5 miles to a turnoff which leads right to Lake San Cristobol. Continue 9.3 miles on the road up the valley of the Lake Fork to the 4-wheel drive turnoff at left, which leads to Wager Gulch and Carson. The drive is approximately 5.0 miles up this rough 4WD road to Carson Saddle, so called because it is a low point on the Continental Divide about 1.0 mile beyond the old mining town of Carson.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Mid-Summer through Fall (NOTE: A few picnic tables and a toilet are the only facilities provided.) .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports
snowed in Updated: 2000-05-09 10:34:00.0


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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Four-Wheel Driving On Forest Road 547
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking Continental Divide - Spring Creek Pass to Carson Saddle Trail
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding First 8.6 miles is open to 4 WD and off-road vehicles
Yes
ICON Mountain Biking The route follows Forest Road 547
Yes
ICON Motorcycle Riding On Forest Road 547
Yes
ICON ATV Riding On Forest Road 547
Yes



Related Activities
Bristol View Campground - Campground is located 22.6 miles west of Creede on Forest Road #510. 16 Campgrounds with fishing and trail access.

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.

Marshall Park Campground - This site is located near Colorado Hwy. 149 and is the closest forest campground to Creede. There is very little screening or trees, so heavy vehicle traffic along Colorado Hwy. 149 is visible.

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/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.

Palisade Campground - Some sites are open, while other sites are screened with cottonwoods/aspen/spruce/fir. Campground is located adjacent to Colorado Highway 149 for easy access to travelers passing through.

Palisade Trail - This trail goes north towards Blue Park and Long Park and is mostly used by hikers and hunters.

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.

Road Canyon Picnic Ground - 24.5 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road #520. Picnic and fisherman parking.

Silver Thread Campground - This facility is located adjacent to Highway 149. The area is mostly open and grassy with little screening or trees. CO Highway loops around the campground on three sides, with no screening from the campground.



More Information

Visitor Information:

South Fork Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 12 , South Fork, CO, 81154, Phone: 719-873-5512

Rio Grande County - South Fork, Del Norte, Monte Vista, P.O. Box 577 , South Fork, CO, 81154, Phone: 800-571-0881 or 719-873-5512, Fax: 719-873-5693, www.southfork.org

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