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

Quick Facts

Ute Pass Loop Four-Wheel Drive Road

Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation: 9,944 Feet (3099.8 Meters) Ute Pass
Elevation Gain: 1,500 Feet (467.6 Meters)
Length, One-way: 17.2 Miles (28.67 Kilometers)
Length, Round Trip: 16 Miles (26.67 Kilometers) 4 WD Road
Road Number: 842 and 852
Time, One-way: 3.5-4 Hours Mountain Biking
USGS Maps: Klondike Mine, Graveyard Gulch
Vehicle Accessibility: Multiple use

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Indian Paintbrush
Copyright: Unknown
Indian Paintbrush
Begin at the parking area and head south. Turn left on the road with old cabin and follow to County Road 46 AA. Turn left on 46 AA, take this road to the top of Ute Pass (5.8 miles from parking area, 9944 feet). Bear left at top and descend Forest Development Road 852 to Columbia Gulch. Turn left onto Forest Road 857 and follow to intersection of Forest Road 858. Turn left across Little Kerber Creek and proceed up Sawlog Gulch. The 0.5 mile climb leads to an open field, which then leads back down to the parking area (3.0 miles).

This primitive road is passable to 2 WD vehicles with high clearance from Highway 114 to the top of Ute Pass (Forest Road 842). The portion of the road north of Ute Pass (Forest Road 852) is narrow, winding , boulder strewn and best suited for ATV and motorcycle use.

The valley views while climbing Ute Pass are beautiful and the Ute Pass downhill is enjoyable (and fast!). If you choose, turn right atop Ute Pass and ride another mile uphill on a slight detour to a radio repeater site. You will be rewarded by an even more breathtaking scene of the San Luis Valley than those who proceed directly downhill will see. Once up there, however, you must turn around and ride back down to Ute Pass and follow the directions for the descent.

The cliffs and wildlife along Columbia Gulch provide a pleasant background for that leg of the trip and Little Kerber Creek provides musical accompaniment. Once atop Sawlog Gulch, the meadow and wildflowers provide an excellent resting place. But be extremely careful on the descent, as it is strewn with large rocks and ruts in the trail. Trail consists of drivable roads and mostly smooth surfaces. There are long and sustained grades with a few stream beds that are easily crossed.

Directions from Saguache, Colorado: Take Colorado Highway 114 west 1.5 miles and turn right onto County Road 46 AA (Findley Gulch). Follow to intersection of Forest Development Road # 858 (Sawlog Gulch) and park at designated area. This location will access both the Ute Pass Trail and the Bonita Hill Trail.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through September .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Ute Pass Loop Four-Wheel Drive Road
ICON Mountain Biking Mostly smooth surfaces
ICON Motorcycle Riding Well suited
ICON ATV Riding Well suited
ICON Viewing Scenery A slight detour provides outstanding views of the San Luis Valley

Related Activities
Bonita Hill Trail - The southern view from atop Bonita Hill is impressive even to natives of the San Luis Valley. The hilltop is covered with a gorgeous Aspen stand and is a great place to bring a picnic lunch.

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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