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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > San Juan National Forest > Mancos-Dolores Ranger District

Quick Facts

Priest Gulch Trail

Average Time: Full Day
Beginning Elevation: 8,100 Feet (2524.9 Meters)
Difficulty: Most Difficult
Elevation Gain: 3,220 Feet (1003.7 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,320 Feet (3528.7 Meters)
Length, One-way: 7.5 Miles (12.5 Kilometers) From upper access, although shuttle is recommended
Trail Number: 645
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Clyde Lake, Rico, Wallace Ranch

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Priest Gulch CampGround
Copyright: R.J. Greffenius
Priest Gulch CampGround
Trail (marked #645 on San Juan National Forest Recreation Map) follows Priest Gulch drainage through lush meadows and forests. Watch for a landslide 3 miles in. Trail crosses Shoas Peak Road (Forest Service Road #592) about 6 miles in. Trail then climbs steeply 1 mile to intersect with Calico Trail. Area is secluded.

Mule deer, elk, bear, and coyote make home here, as well as several types of birds (including magpies, gray jays, Clark's nutcracker, red-tailed hawks, various woodpeckers, and owls).

This trail is subjected to harsh weather conditions that can and have created mudslides that require care and occasional detouring in crossing.

Directions from Dolores, Colorado: PRIEST GULCH SHUTTLE DROP-OFF: Go 25 miles north of Dolores on Colorado Hwy 145 (12 miles south of Rico). Look for Priest Gulch Trailhead sign on west side of the road across from Priest Gulch Store. Turn left and go .25 mile past private property. Stay on the road and do not trespass. Trailhead has parking and horse facilities.UPPER ACCESS: Go north on Colorado Hwy 145 19 miles to Taylor Mesa Road (Forest Service Road #545). Turn northeast and go 15 miles (past intersection with Forest Service Road #547) to junction with Forest Service Road #52. Turn right and go 1 mile to the trailhead on right. If you begin here, the hike is downhill.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Summer through Fall .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter conditions. Updated: 2004-04-22 15:27:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Priest Gulch Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Horses are allowed

Related Activities
Priest Cutoff Trail - This trail provides an excellent opportunity for a loop day hike from Priest Gulch campground by connecting Priest Gulch Trail and the Calico Trail.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Mesa Verde Country Visitor Information, P.O. Box HH , Cortez, CO, 81321, Phone: 800-253-1616, Fax: 970-565-1155, lynnd@mesaverdecountry.com


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