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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > San Carlos Ranger District

Quick Facts

Mosca Pass Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,720 Feet (3029.9 Meters) Mosca Pass
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,470 Feet (458.2 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 8,250 Feet (2571.7 Meters) Montville Parking Area
Length, One-way: 3.5 Miles (5.83 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 883
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Zapata Ranch, Mosca Pass

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This side of Mosca Pass Trail begins at the top of Mosca Pass and follows Mosca Creek down to the Montville Trail, a self-guided interpretive trail in the Great Sand Dunes National Monument. A toll road was built over this pass in the late 1800's. A flash flood in 1911 destroyed the road and it was abandoned as a passageway over the mountains.

The trail starts amidst open, lush and grassy slopes and descends moderately fast into piƱon-juniper, aspen and spruce-fir forests. The trail ends in a steep, walled canyon next to the Great Sand Dunes. Watch for wildlife; each year, visitors report bear sightings.

Beautiful views of the Sand Dunes and the San Luis Valley can be seen on the way down the trail. An adequate number of undeveloped campsites exist along the way. This is an excellent day hike, but a heavily used trail. For those wishing to camp at the dunes, be aware that a fee is charged. If you plan to begin your hike at the dunes, there is an entrance fee as well.

Directions from Alamosa, Colorado: Drive east on U.S. Highway 160 14 miles to State Road 150. Turn north on 150, 17 miles to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument and the Montville Trailhead. Mosca Pass Trail takes off the Montville Trail approximately 1/4 mile from the beginning. There is a fee for entrance to the Great Sand Dunes National Monument.

Directions from La Veta Pass, Colorado: Turn north on Pass Creek Road 11.5 miles to Forest Development Road # 408, 7 miles to the junction with Forest Road 407. Take Forest Road 407, 6 miles to Mosca Pass.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Travis Leonard (Brighton, CO)
Time of Day: Morning
Length of Time: 4 hours round trup
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 11-25 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: My wife and I did this trail on our horses. Although the National Park is not accomadating for horses, we enjoyed the ride.
Conditions: Narrow trail in some places the first mile.
Water Availability: One or two good places to water horses along trail.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Undeveloped; an adequate number along the way
ICON Hiking & Walking Mosca Pass Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Follows the route of an earlier toll road
ICON Picnicking Mosca Pass
ICON Viewing Scenery Beautiful views of the Sand Dunes and the San Luis Valley

Related Activities
Mosca Pass Scenic Drive -

Mosca Pass Trail - From the Great Sand Dunes, Mosca Pass Trail begins from the Montville Parking Area. The trail follows Mosca Creek to the top of Mosca Pass.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Pike and San Isabel National Forests, 1920 Valley Drive , Pueblo, CO, 81008, Phone: 719-545-8737

Pueblo Chamber of Commerce, 302 North Santa Fe Drive, P.O. Box 697 , Pueblo, CO, 81003, Phone: 800-233-3446, www.pueblochamber.org


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