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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > San Juan National Forest > Columbine Ranger District

Quick Facts

Elk Creek Trail

Beginning Elevation: 9,000 Feet (2805.5 Meters)
Elevation Gain: 3,800 Feet (1184.5 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,800 Feet (3990.0 Meters)
Length, One-way: 8.9 Miles (14.83 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 503
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Storm King, Snowdon Peak

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This trail offers the unique opportunity of combining a wilderness trip with a ride on a steam locomotive. This being the case, it is very popular, so if you want solitude, this is not the place to be. Elk Creek drains the northern portion of the Grenadier Range which includes Arrow, Vestal and the Trinity Peaks, a mecca for mountaineers. This is a very popular access point to the Continental Divide and the Weminuche Wilderness.

Directions from Durango, Colorado: Access 1: Travel 42 miles north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550. Start walking from the top of Molas Pass on Molas Trail (665) toward Silverton. Turn east (right) at Molas Lake. Hike 5 miles down Molas Trail to Elk Park.

Directions from Durango or Silverton: Take the Narrow Gauge Railway to Elk Park.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Watch for bears in the area. Vestal basin is a no-campfire area. Updated: 2003-09-03 12:15:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON History Catch the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway at Elk Park
ICON Hiking & Walking Elk Creek Trail

Related Activities
Molas Trail - Instead of coming back up this trail from the Animas River you may want to catch the train at Elk Park. Before you begin the descent to the river you will find some excellent views.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Columbine Ranger District, 367 South Pearl Street, P.O. Box 439 , Bayfield, CO, 81122, Phone: 970-884-2512, Fax: 970-884-2428, TTY: 970-884-1433


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