Hiking The Conejos River Trail
The 39th most popular hiking trail in Colorado.
Tuesday 12 July 2016 04:46 GMT
Southeast of Pagosa Springs, the South Fork Conejos River Trail (#724) is a 10 mile route open to hikers and horseback riders. The spectacular and well-traveled route starts at FS250 and heads west along the South Fork Conejos River into the the South San Juan Wilderness Area.
The South Fork Trail is a well traveled and easily followed trail providing access to the spectacular South Fork Conejos Canyon. From the South Fork Trail one may reach several of the smaller canyons and the high lakes, such as Canon Rincon, and Green, Blue and Glacier Lakes. Water and camping sites are available along the entire route. Drinking water should be treated before consumption.
The South San Juan Wilderness is entered a short distance from the start of the trail. Beyond this point motorized equipment is prohibited the entire length of this trail.
To reach the trailhead from Alamosa, head south on US285. In Antonito, turn west on SR17 for 22 miles. Turn north on FS250 for about 10 miles heading past Rocky Mountain Lodge and the Old Thomas Ranch. Turn left into parking area. From here a trail leads to the Conejos River at its confluence with the South Fork.
The South Fork of the Conejos Canyon is a spectacular example of glacial topography: a steep sided U-shaped valley with glacial deposits filling the valley bottom. As one heads west from the footbridge, one passes over glacial moraines rock that was scoured from the canyon above and dumped in huge piles when the glacier receded. These moraines have since been eroded by water flowing from the south Fork of the Conejos Canyon. At the confluence of the South Fork and Hansen Creek, the South Fork Canyon narrows considerably but retains its glacial character. The forested slopes are broken often by outcrops of volcanic rock. The trail traverses the steep slopes high above the stream, occasionally descending to the canyon bottom. Waterfalls may be seen in some of the smaller tributary canyons, such as Canon Escondido.
The difficulty of the trail varies considerably, ranging from a gentle path following the stream to steep switchbacks climbing the valley slopes. The trail is well traveled and easy to follow. From the South Fork Conejos Trail, hikers may continue onto the Green Lake Trail #726, Canon Rincon Trail #719 or the Continental Divide Trail #813.
Overall, Conejos River Trail is the 39th most popular hiking trail of all 72 hikes in Colorado.