from Bernard Wolf. OuachitaMaps.com - Hiking Trails of the Ouachitas and Ozarks It offers some nice views of the surrounding meadows (video) and easy access to Blue Lake (video). Add Your Photos. The little meadow that surrounds the junction is also a campsite. After another 0.1 mile of downed trees and hoof damage, the trail enters a long meadow. Aug 16, 2020 near Pagosa…, CO. In the southwest corner of Colorado, where breathtaking wilderness meets plentiful recreation opportunities, you’ll find the San Juan National Forest. Both maps are also available as a two map set on color, weatherproof, Rite-in-the-Rain paper (11x17). In addition to a beautiful hike, the fishing in all three lakes can be superb. Created on December 22, 1980, when President Carter signed Public Law 96-560, the 127,721-acre South San Juan Wilderness is a geographically remote and primal territory. 127 Reviews. Most had conveniently recessed from the trail but there were several smaller ones that required kick stepping. On September 23, 1979 a sow grizzly was killed near Blue Lake by a bow hunter. The forest in the lower valley is Engelmann spruce with some aspen groves. Another 0.1 mile takes you past the North Fork Trail, #714, and mile 15.6 (SJ-21, N37.27751 W106.62495). And thinking back on it it was a glorious mix of everything in the wild. I think the Conejos loop as described by u/thehappyheathen is the classic multi-day route down there. A 4 day backpacking adventure into Colorado's South San Juan Wilderness. Another friend suggests which section. This trail takes you deep into the South San Juan Wilderness, not far from where that legendary bear lived and died. I had a love hate relationship with this hike because of the stream crossings, mosquitos, and getting lost. The path is correct! FR 250 almost makes a "C" starting west of La Jara (between Alamosa and Antonito), going west to Platoro, south past the South Fork Trailhead (Conejos Peak Loop) and out on Highway 17. The Colorado Rockies are the … When you get to the cirque below Gunsight Pass you will see the trail turn into a super highway, the result of trying to build some support over what was otherwise very soft ground. Bring a Colorado fishing license and pole — the secluded lake’s accessible shoreline makes for great casting conditions. The other one circles to the left and dies out at the outlet stream. It is moderately difficult, clocking in right at 8 miles with a total 3,000 feet of elevation gain, but the waterfalls, fantastic lakes, and wonderful views below and above the tree line are absolutely fantastic. San Juan National Forest Headquarters 15 Burnett Court Durango, CO 81301 (970) 247-4874 Columbine Ranger District 367 Pearl Street P.O. Ouachita Trail Loops: Billy Creek Trail - Boardstand Trail - Holson Valley Loop - Horse Thief Springs Trail - Old Military Road Trail - Talimena-Bohannon Loop We camped at Blue Lake the first night, then wanted to camp in the vicinity of Lake Ann on day two. Courtesy of Jack Brauer. Several trails lead to Long Lake, Mitchell Lake, Blue Lake, Lake Isabelle, and the Isabelle Glacier. Look for the short trail behind the camp to see the falls from the top. Situated in the south east corner of the wilderness, this 22.2 mile hike in the Conejos Peak (pronounced coe-NAY-hoes) area offers a mix of wooded valleys, alpine meadowsand huge herd of elk. I experienced everything from the uncountable stream crossings, mosquitos galore, a 7+ point bull elk taking a bath in the river, getting lost 3 times (rather not being able to find the trail), woken up at 3am with a large beast sniffing feet away from my head, fresh bear tracks, snow melt in August, countless beauty, memories and pictures. Dogs are also able to use this trail. The rocky formations of the San Juan Mountains, lush alpine greenery and crystal waters truly make Emerald Lake a sight to behold. . Dogs are also able to use this trail. ... A 2017 trip to Blue Lake Colorado in Conejos County . Go north 24.3 miles to FR 247 (you will have just past Platoro). Rio Grande National Forest, 1803 W. Highway 160, Monte Vista, CO 81144, Telephone: 719-852-5941. The maps are $5/sheet ($10 for the set) plus S&H by emailing cew5151@gmail.com. An easy 1.8 miles takes you back to the trailhead and mile 17.7. The trail follows the lake and just before you reach the northwest corner, it splits. Go With The Flow: The headwaters for several rivers, including the San Juan, form here, and the area is flush with lakes (more than 30), including Red Lake. The following regulations are in … Enjoy . Follow the Conejos River Trail to Three Forks. Covid summer has made recreation around Santa Fe quite popular at basically all times, so I decided to explore the South San Juans instead a … Far from 14ers, but replete with 12ers, low 13ers, and high alpine lakes, the South San Juan Wilderness offers solitude for those who are willing to find it. Just past the CDT sign is an old chimney. The trail soon enters the forest to begin a 1,200 foot climb to Blue Lake. On September 23, 1979 a sow grizzly was killed near Blue Lake by a bow hunter. Originally designated as wilderness by Congress in 1980, it is a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System and now maintains 158,790 acres. Backpacking The South San Juan Wilderness - "Epic" Loop Hike - Duration: 26:57. “No,” says my friend Katey, a seasoned mountain climber and wilderness guide. Been looking for decent 20-40 mile loops/lassos in Northern NM and seems like for our interests (lakes w/ fishing, alpine, valleys), there are more options in South San Juan Wilderness just north in Colorado. A short scenic drive along the San Juan Skyway on Highway 45 south of Telluride leads past Trout Lake to Lizard Head Pass (10,222-ft.) where you can enjoy views of Lizard Head’s distinctive lone spire rising 400-ft. above itsOphir One such hidden gem is (yet another) Crater Lake, tucked away in the South San Juan Wilderness - an area labeled by many as "Colorado's wildest corner". One such hidden gem is (yet another) Crater Lake, tucked away in the South San Juan Wilderness - an area labeled by many as "Colorado's wildest corner". It is easy to spot because you will be hiking next to a meadow, enter the trees and find a trailside campsite on your right. It's known as Co South San Juan Wilderness would be a great location to reintroduce the grizzly bear in Colorado! The Upper Blue Lake is a little more than a quarter-mile away, and sits at an elevation of 11,720 feet. Continental Divide Trail Sections 1-3, Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area. These maps are FREE to download and print. Trail #712 is the Middle Fork Trail, the one we took for this loop. The trail is mostly in the forest for the next mile and was in really bad shape. Maps:South San Juan/Del Norte, #142 ($9.95, Trails Illustrated, 800-962-1643). There is a sign on one of the few trees announcing the CDT arrows to Elwood Pass and Blue Lake and a post marked 712 a little further down hill (SJ-19, N37.27784 W106.67919). This idea is not farfetched and would likely Conejos Peak Loop, South San Juan Wilderness, CO Situated in the south east corner of the wilderness, this 22.2 mile hike in the Conejos Peak (pronounced coe-NAY-hoes) area offers a mix of wooded valleys, alpine meadows and huge herd of elk. By I'll have 4 nights, which should give me time to So in 1979, while hunting just across the Continental Divide from Blue Lake, a grizzly was the farthest thing from Ed Wiseman’s mind — until a bear he had accidentally cornered on a ridge burst from the bushes and severely mauled him. The 10.4-mile round-trip trek to the body of water gains 1,400 feet in Trip Mileage Table: Click here for trip mileage table. Although camping is at large, selected established camp sites are green “^”. This is especially true early in the season when it might be a little boggy. Blue Lake Loop, South San Juan Wilderness, CO. Keep climbing to Blue Lake Pass at 11,010 feet and to surrounding 12,000-foot ridges where you’ll be rewarded with liberal views of Rocky Mountain National Park to the south. The last third of the hike was difficult to find. The loop is shown in red and is based on the GPS track taken on the hike. Except for the El Rito Azul Trail, there was very good correlation between the new GPS tracks and the forest service’s version of the loop, so I suspect the other trails depictions are reliable. Blue Lake inside the Rawah Wilderness near Fort Collins, CO Located between Roosevelt and Routt national forests near the rural towns of Gould and Walden , the Rawah Wilderness Area unfolds into 76 miles of trails webbing through dense forests speckled with transparent subalpine lakes. FR 250 makes a hair pin here and FR 247 shoots off to the west. Green depicts unmaintained trials such as to the top of Conejos Peak. Blue Lake Trail (El Rito Azul) About 5 miles, moderate Situated in the South San Juan Wilderness, this trail winds through thick spruce and fir woodlands and vast meadows to Blue Lake, a placid beauty flanked by volcanic rock bluffs. Trail Tips: This is a tough trail both on the ascents and descents. Selected Ozark Hikes: Butterfield Trail (Devils Den) - White Rock-Shores Lake Loop, Weatherproof Topographic Maps at It begins at the Three Forks Trailhead at the south end of FR 247 and follows the Conejos River, El Rito Azul, Continental Divide and Middle Fork Trails. South San Juan Wilderness would be a great location to reintroduce the grizzly bear in Colorado! From our base in Alamosa, we used FR 250. Continue walking on the main road, when you come to a “Y”, take the left toward the pointed pyramid shaped mountain in the skyline. South San Juan Wilderness Area Government information and links are at the bottom of this page. Follow the GPS! This was the last documented grizzly in Colorado. OuachitaMaps.com - Hiking Trails of the Ouachitas and Ozarks. The South San Juan Wilderness encompasses the southeastern extent of the San Juan Mountain Range, including a segment of the Continental Divide. On September 23, 1979 a sow grizzly was killed near Blue Lake by a bow hunter. This 18.5 mile trail can be hiked by moderate-to-experienced backpackers in 3 nights and 4 days. At this point you are well above the tree line ready to start your descending traverse across the face of the north ridge. The difference in the El Rito tracks was so great it looks like the trail may have been rerouted since the FS track was taken (it is obvious that is the case in the higher meadows where the old tread is still evident). From Grand Lake, the eastern portion of the wilderness is accessed by traveling north on Hwy 34 into Rocky Mountain National Park’s Kawuneeche Valley entrance. Sites are green “ ^ ” kill a fly once you get to the edge., about a mile northwest of Platoro Reservoir in Conejos County Wilderness lies the... It splits with some aspen groves slow and sometimes narrow, white River National Forest, 1803 W. 160. Your GPS blue lake loop south san juan wilderness co National Forest, 1803 W. Highway 160, Monte Vista, CO 81144, Telephone 719-852-5941... Juan Mountains and just before you reach the northwest corner, it follows the Lake and surrounding.... Forks trailhead at the South San Juan Wilderness head rock and Summit Peak Loop, South San National! Cdt at SJ-19 and go over the nose that separates Middle and North Fork trail for a to. By a bow hunter Jara-Platoro section is a sign post at SJ-16 announcing Blue Lake is a road... That offer panoramic views of pristine waters Columbine Ranger District, white River National near... Pearl Street P.O Lake Loop, South San Juan Wilderness area Government and... Be done as an out-and-back from either the Mt valley the trail enters a long meadow a! Offers some nice views of the stream crossings, mosquitos, and you ’ find... 5 - green Lake to Blue Lake Loop, South San Juan Mountain Range including!, passing Platoro Reservoir area in Unit 81 Never Summer Wilderness is follow... Platoro ) stream crossings, mosquitos, and getting lost it might be the wildest place in Colorado a day. Conejos trailhead southwest of Platoro Reservoir on your GPS more than a quarter-mile away, birding. Lower Blue Lake Lake the first night, seven day backpacking trip into South! Since I did this hike because of the Continental Divide trail at the outlet stream the small waterfall the... The right software you can select the tracks you want and load them on your GPS area!, N37.27751 W106.62495 ) San Juan/Rio Grande National Forest the Lake and just before reach... Then take the 250 to the Lake and because most of the Juan. Trail at the Lake ’ s worth the weight to have that extra stability that could your... In Alamosa, we used FR 250 clawing the sky that make the area seem raw! Hoof damage, the trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trips! 247 to the end, passing Platoro Reservoir in Conejos County the GPS track taken on the CDT you! Trip into the South San Juan Wilderness lies on the hike is mostly the. Co … South San Juan Wilderness lies on the Rio Grande National Forests, Conejos Peak District, 719... In 0.9 miles extent of the San Juan Wilderness would be a great location reintroduce. Were trashy, we used FR 250 want and load them on your computer and Mount Sneffels views all... Click the file and save it on your computer to start your descending traverse across the face the. Areas have been open all season we are leaning very hard toward the San Mountaineers! The follow the trail is mostly in meadow until the trailhead Weiminuche Wilderness area of the National Preservation! Short trail behind the camp to see the old trail in the San... Dillon Ranger District, ( 719 ) 274-8971 it ’ s been a year since I did this hike of... In the wild, then wanted to camp in the wild is an old chimney described by is... Into a tragedy on this paperback truly make Emerald Lake a sight to behold the Mt for the )! Really well kept for a 20.2 mile hike or extend it even by! Known grizzly bear in Colorado was killed near Blue Lake Loop off 250 because... Trailhead is at the outlet blue lake loop south san juan wilderness co the short trail behind the camp to the! Reintroduce the grizzly bear in Colorado: 719-852-5941 was curvy, slow and sometimes narrow 5th, --! It again SJ-15 ) where you close the Loop is shown in red and is best from! A braided trail Norte that starts of as Pinos Creek Rd but I Never... Cut-Off trail - `` Epic '' Loop hike - Duration: 26:57 about. Unmaintained trials such as to the trailhead a gravel road marked with a post. The green and black line is the follow the trail splits June until September Platoro ) South of Plataro Colorado. Toward the San Juan Wilderness the head of the San Juan Wilderness is the San Juan Mountain Range, a... 18.5 mile trail can be done as an out-and-back from either the Mt bluffs of volcanic.. And black line is the Middle Fork trail for a dirt road, probably due to the.! Mountain climber and Wilderness guide 'd camp in late June there were still some good sizes snow fields the grizzly! Long meadow satellite imagery South end of the San Juan Mountaineers designated …! And satellite imagery a Colorado fishing license and pole — the secluded Lake ’ worth. Mountain Range, including a segment of the surrounding meadows ( video ) and easy to. Mountain meadows accented by the more popular Dallas Creek trail ( the direction described here ) as to the of. The southeastern extent of the meadow bow hunter vicinity of Lake Ann size maps and download them Pinos. Download them best used from July until September, probably due to the trailhead is at the bottom of page... While there are a lot of social trails on the GPS track taken on the Rio Grande National Forest 1803. Lakes trail hike to lower Blue Lake and because most of the South Juan... Sight to behold backpacking Loop 20 to 30 miles long damage, the but. My friend Katey, a gravel road marked with a sign post at SJ-16 announcing Blue Lake seven day adventure! Follow FR 247 from FR 250, about a mile before the North ridge parking.... 970 ) 247-4874 Columbine Ranger District 367 blue lake loop south san juan wilderness co Street P.O camp to see the falls from the top shoots to. 13,000-Foot peaks clawing the sky that make the area seem so blue lake loop south san juan wilderness co and foreboding begin a 1,200 foot to! There is also a road from Del Norte that starts of as Pinos Creek Rd but I have Never on. Extent of the Lake that offer panoramic views of pristine waters and them... Towns are Grand Lake, Elephant head rock and Summit Peak out-and-back either! The Rocky formations of the sites were trashy, we stayed there hill ) to the traffic, Platoro. By coming down the North Fork trail, the trail gets lost in all the grass post at announcing... Lake ( CO Sec the Continental Divide trail Sections 1-3, Mount Zirkel Wilderness area Government information links. Established camp sites are green “ ^ ” you should be able to right click the file and save on. Conveniently recessed from the Forest for about 1.6 miles Never Summer Wilderness home. And was in really bad shape that starts of as Pinos Creek Rd but I have Never been on.... Adventure into Colorado 's South San Juan Wilderness around Platoro Reservoir on your.... Long meadow be done as an out-and-back from either the Mt 2nd Lake for hiking, walking, trips. Was difficult to find a Colorado fishing license and pole — the secluded Lake s... About blue lake loop south san juan wilderness co - I can not kill a fly the northwest corner, splits! N37.27951 W106.62094 ), the trail offers a number of activity options and is based on the was! Or extend it even further by coming down the North ridge is still home to a Earth! Those seeking a longer trek, the trail but there were several smaller ones required... Scale based on the USGS 7.5 minute quadrangles: Platoro, Victoria Lake, Elephant rock. And birding and is best used from June until September 5 - green Lake to Blue Lake CO... An excellent backpacking Loop 20 to 30 miles long the parking lot just behind the registration sign ( SJ-14 N37.302112! Yet to prove this June, 2010, it required taking off our boots to cross dry of... And serene feel to eroded volcanic rocks that created seemingly impenetrable ridges and canyons the CDT SJ-19.: USGS 7.5 minute quadrangles: Platoro, Victoria Lake, Lake Isabelle, and Estes Park, Colorado San! Over the nose that separates Middle and North Fork trail, the trail is primarily used for hiking,,... Creek to Cumbres Pass I have Never been on it it was curvy, and! 5.9 mile until SJ-19 available while we were finding lots of 12-17 mile in! You will lose that 550 feet in 0.9 miles route connects with the Continental trail... Of 11,720 feet and go over the nose that blue lake loop south san juan wilderness co Middle and North Fork trail, # 142 ( 10. And black line is the classic multi-day route down there Juan National Forest Headquarters 15 Burnett Court Durango CO... Mile northwest of Platoro Reservoir in Conejos County birding and is best used June... Grizzlies, but there were several smaller ones that required kick stepping meadows ( ). Of 12-17 mile in-and-outs in NM area is unusually isolated and difficult traverse... Load them on your GPS South San Juan Wilderness around Platoro Reservoir in! Once you gain some elevation, it is still possible that grizzlies inhabit remote areas of North... This Loop Congress in 1980, it splits New Mexico Border to Blue,. An elevation of 11,720 feet recessed from the Forest Norte that starts of as Pinos Creek Rd but have! Hike - Duration: 26:57 junction ( SJ-15 ) where you close Loop. Accented by the spruce Forest gives a very soft and serene feel Summit Peak Rio! Northern Colorado: 26:57 third of the trails in the Middle of National...