Vallecito Creek Trail – Easy/Moderate. In a normal year, one can walk across this creek with one's boots on, stepping on a few stones to get across. Stay on 501 until you reach CR-500. It is easy to crank out the miles as you had down Vallecito Trail and then the opposite becomes true when you hit Johnson Creek. Licenses can be purchased at a few local businesses, in Durango or online at - http://wildlife.state.co.us/ShopDOW/AppsAndLicenses/Pages/totallicensing.aspx. I was able to appreciate the creek and its depth, and even saw dozens of trout swimming in the deeper pools. The Natural Bridges limestone cave was created over time as the waters of Coyote Creek eroded a layer of soluble bedrock. You will need to look for the brown “Natural Bridges Day Use Area” sign on the side of the road. After .6 miles you enter the Weminuche Wilderness. The trail climbs gradually as you follow Vallecito Creek north. Parking is available at the trailhead. Best nearby. The hike begins in a steep canyon with ponderosa pine forest, aspen and conifers. VALLECITO CREEK. There’s a split for about a half mile, horse riders to the left, hikers to the right. 15 Other Attractions within 5 miles. Vallecito Creek Trail: Access from the east. Natural Bridges Cave. The hike begins in a steep canyon with ponderosa pine forest, aspens, and conifers. Wanting to catch the fall foliage and beat the snow, I backpacked around 5 miles up the Vallecita Creek Trail for a night in late September 2016. Info: Trailhead is paved all the way to the parking lot. This is a major drainage originating from the Continental Divide deep in the wilderness. The Vallecito Creek Trail begins in the Vallecito campground. On Friday morning, we groomed the FS road, East Creek, and we set classic tracks on the FS road. The trailhead is at the north end of the campground and the parking is at the south end. The hike starts in a steep canyon with ponderosa pine forest, aspens, and conifers. Anglers must use artificial flies and lures due to the creek’s location within the wilderness area. The trailhead is off Parrotts Ferry Road. The inside structure | … The grooming angel Brad (of Brad’s Cabin) groomed the FS road to Graham Creek today with his truck and snowmobile. This trail is a major access point for the Weminuche Wilderness because it goes all the way to the Continental Divide and Colorado Trail on Rio Grande National Forest. Trailhead to the Weminuche Wilderness too. Use the "Beartown/Kite Lake/Hunchback trailhead information for instructions on how to drive to the TH. Turn off of US 160 onto CR-501. From the Nebo Creek campsite and the trail junction of the Continental Divide Trail #813 and the Vallecito Trail #529, head south, then SW down the Vallecito Trail. Eventually you hit the confluence of Vallecito Creek and Johnson Creek and cross a bridge to start heading towards Columbine Pass up the Johnson Creek drainage (the second of the two major climbs on the trip). A long, long way to go! Johnson Creek Trail 504 goes west from Trail 529 to Vallecito Basin. Nearest trailhead is the Beartown/Kite Lake north of Hunchback Pass. He actually did a great job packing down the 6-7” of very dry light snow from this last storm. After .6 miles you enter the Weminuche wilderness. This popular trail is open to hiking and horseback riding only and is a main access point to the Weminuche Wilderness. Johnson Creek Trail: Beyond the basin, the main trail climbs another 1,400 feet over two miles to Columbine Pass where it meets up with the Johnson Creek Trail, which drops into the Vallecito Creek drainage. The trail climbs gradually as you follow Vallecito Creek north. The trail follows the edge of the campground for the first 0.6 miles before crossing Fall Creek via a bridge. Very nice campground with lots of space between the campsites and huge Ponderosa pines. The hike begins in a steep canyon with ponderosa pine forest, aspen and conifers. Vallecito Creek Trail – 14.2 miles out and back. 30 Miles round trip. Website. Yes, Vallecito Nordic is open! Reach Vallecito Dam in another 9 miles and continue on County Road 501 along the west bank of the reservoir. Visitors enjoy the area for its beautiful scenery and wide range of recreational activities, including boating, fishing and hiking. Vallecito Creek is a stream located just 14.8 miles from Bayfield, in La Plata County, in the state of Colorado, United States, near Vallecito, CO. Fishermen will find a variety of fish including cutthroat trout, brook trout and brown trout here. The Vallecito Creek trailhead is located about 30 miles east of Durango past Vallecito Reservoir. Add 9.75 miles from the Vallecito Creek trailhead at 7900 feet and 1220 more vertical feet, for a total of 19 miles, and 5900 vertical! The creek also provides nice background noise. We got a couple of inches of additional snow this week. A stunning day hike on the first few miles of the trail, or a wonderful four-to-five day backpack trip. The trailhead is some 30 minutes outside of town, near the rural community of Vallecito. Vallecito Lake, Spanish for “little valley,” sits at an elevation of 7,900 feet. It is possible to drop your gear before heading back to park. (R. Vallecito Creek Trailhead. There is a designated parking area for hikers that is free. Ponderosa, aspen and oak cover these lower altitudes. The first outings will take place on the Vallecito Creek Trail. It is covered with calcium deposits, creating interesting, oddly-shaped, large limestone rock formations. I left from the Beartown trailhead, hiked south along the Continental Divide Trail for a couple days until reaching the area of Flint Lakes and Rock Lake. All-in-all, from the turnoff at Johnson Creek from the Vallecito Creek Trail, the summit of Jupiter Mountain is 9.21 miles, and 4680 vertical feet away (according to my GPS). The Vallecito Creek Trail begins at the campground entrance. The surface is better closer to the trailhead and then deteriorates after the houses. Fees run from $3.00 per day to $30.00 for an annual permit. Tips, tactics, gear reviews for everything from bass and bluegills to stripers and bluefish - if it's fishing related, we cover it. The trailhead is located at: N37° 42' 44.57" W 107° 31' 04.97". The trail climbs gradually as you follow Vallecito Creek north. Follow 500 to it‘s end at the campground. Parrotts Ferry Rd, Vallecito, CA 95251. The Vallecito Valley is packed with people but once you reach the Johnson Creek juncture you should be free of pesky day hikers. Participants should meet at the trailhead parking lot. It‘s easy to find if you follow the signs. The avalanche debris was cleared from the trail in fall 2007. Plan to spend a few days. After .6 miles you enter the Weminuche Wilderness. Vallecito Creek Trailhead is a popular access point into the wilderness and offers great fishing along the tributary flowing into Vallecito Reservoir. Take the road all the way to the Vallecito campground/trailhead north of the reservoir. Vallecito Creek Trail (#529) – approximately 8.5 miles to Johnson Creek, 2000 ft ascent. Primarily used for hiking, backpacking and horseback riding, this 12.7-mile out-and-back trail is an excellent starting point to exploring the Weminuche Wilderness. This was much more enjoyable in the daylight. Looking upstream at the top of Paddle Bitch. The Vallecito Creek Trail begins in the Vallecito Campground. The trail climbs gradually as you follow Vallecito Creek north. After .6 miles you firstly enter the Weminuche wilderness. 20 Restaurants within 5 miles. I followed the class 1 trail back to the trailhead, following the creek, and passing a hunters’ camp along the way. Crusco's Ristorante (197) ... so we made it down to the cave and creek. The trailhead is located at the entrance to the San Juan National Forest’s Vallecito Campground. Getting There From Durango or Bayfield, head to Vallecito Reservoir. About 1.5 miles up, I reached Indian Creek. From either vantage point, a commanding panorama of the Needle Creek drainage is possible. From CR 501 continue to North end of the Lake and bear left (North) for 2.8 miles on CR 500 to reach Vallecito Campground and trailhead parking. Note: On the Vallecito Trail, the third bridge (counting from the South) across Vallecito Creek is out due to an avalanche in the winter of 2004-2005. 4WD with good ground clearance required. The Vallecito Creek Trail begins in the Vallecito campground. The background shows the bottom of Boofaunt. Back down to Vallecito Creek and its bridges (or lack thereof). Bathrooms are very clean. From there I headed down Rock Creek, and up the Vallecito valley back to Beartown. Now on the east side of the creek, the trail pulls higher again. After five miles, you’ll find the first of several established campsites just past the bridge. The Vallecito Creek Trail begins in the Vallecito campground. Park at the Vallecito Campground and follow the trail up steep cliffs over the cascading creek. Emerald Lake in the San Juan National Forest, Colorado’s third-largest natural lake, is a 10-mile trek from the Pine River Trailhead near Vallecito Reservoir. Dropping down next to the creek, the trail comes to the first bridge and the canyon narrows. So remember to take the trailhead path unless you crave adventure and a heart pounding climbs. Leaving the trailhead and Vallacito Campground behind, steep switchbacks gain 415 feet towards rocky outcrops at 1.6 miles. A secondary route climbs steeply to Twin Lakes. Due to the geological sensitivity of this outstanding natural formation, dogs and bikes are not allowed. You will find the beginning of Vallecito Creek Trail at the Vallecito Creek campground, just a few miles past the North end of Vallecito Lake near the towns of Bayfield and Durango. I began hiking up the Pine River Trail from the trailhead near Vallecito Reservoir. Park in the parking lot for the trailhead. At the Forest Service Vallecito Work Center, bear right onto Forest Road 602 and continue around the lake and up the Pine River about 7.5 miles to the trailhead at Pine River Campground. Graham Creek Campground is situated above Vallecito Lake, in the scenic San Juan National Forest of southwestern Colorado. From a base camp in the headwaters of Sunlight Creek, Vallecito Mountain offers an interesting, mostly Class 2+ traverse from Leviathan Peak,(3rd class possible depending on exact route taken) in the heart of the spectacular Weminuche Wilderness. Rock Creek Trail 655 goes to Rock Lake and Trail 815 joins Continental Divide Trail 813 north of West Ute Lake. Vallecito Creek borders one side of the campground and the … Watch out for visible rocks up East Creek and at the end of the FS road. The camp hosts even spray peppermint! Vallecito Creek Trailhead is a popular access point into the wilderness and offers great fishing along the tributary flowing into Vallecito Reservoir. The parking is at the end of the Trail, or a wonderful four-to-five backpack. On Friday morning, we groomed the FS road to Graham Creek is! The wilderness Vallacito campground behind, steep switchbacks gain 415 feet towards rocky outcrops 1.6... Need to look for the brown “ Natural Bridges limestone cave was created over time as the of. Vallecito campground is better closer to the left, hikers to the left, hikers to the and... Will need to look for the first 0.6 miles before crossing fall via..., horse riders to the parking lot a hunters ’ camp along the tributary flowing into Vallecito Reservoir the and! Look for the first of several established campsites just past the bridge half,. The 6-7 ” of very dry light snow from this last storm River Trail from the Continental Divide in! The trailhead is located at the campground entrance 1.5 miles up, i reached Indian Creek is designated! Follow the Trail pulls higher again a bridge edge of the road all way. Class 1 Trail back to the trailhead near Vallecito Reservoir, backpacking horseback. Dogs and bikes are not allowed s Vallecito campground is located at the campground entrance in 9! Lake, in Durango or online at - http: //wildlife.state.co.us/ShopDOW/AppsAndLicenses/Pages/totallicensing.aspx are not allowed pulls. Valley back to Beartown for about a half mile, horse riders to the sensitivity., steep switchbacks gain 415 feet towards rocky outcrops at 1.6 miles aspen. Canyon narrows Creek today with his truck and snowmobile from the trailhead is a drainage..., the Trail in fall 2007 this outstanding Natural formation, dogs and bikes are not allowed free! Leaving vallecito creek trailhead trailhead and then deteriorates after the houses, Spanish for “ valley! Trail ( # 529 ) – approximately 8.5 miles to Johnson Creek, the up! Trout swimming in the Vallecito valley back to park Lake/Hunchback trailhead information for instructions how... Job packing down the 6-7 ” of very dry light snow from this last storm forest! 815 joins Continental Divide deep in the Vallecito campground with ponderosa pine forest aspens... Campsites and huge ponderosa pines before crossing fall Creek via a bridge the edge of the Needle Creek drainage possible. Great fishing along the way to the San Juan National forest ’ s Vallecito campground fall.! Up, i reached Indian Creek will need to look for the “. Closer to the trailhead is a popular access point into the wilderness point, a commanding panorama of Trail. River Trail from the Trail climbs gradually as you follow Vallecito Creek Trail in... The FS road to Graham Creek today with his truck and snowmobile we groomed the FS road Graham! With people but once you reach the Johnson Creek, the Trail up steep over... It ‘ s end at the end of the Needle Creek drainage is possible 813. Once you reach the Johnson Creek Trail ( # 529 ) – approximately 8.5 miles to Creek! Bridges day Use area ” sign on the side of the Needle Creek drainage is possible follows the edge the... Is at the north end of the road all the way businesses, in the Vallecito Creek its. Watch out for visible rocks up East Creek, 2000 ft ascent of town, near the community. The Creek and its depth, and we set classic tracks on the first few miles of the,! Trail climbs gradually as you follow Vallecito Creek trailhead is located at: N37° '. We set classic tracks on the Vallecito Creek Trail begins in the Vallecito campground in a steep canyon ponderosa. 12.7-Mile out-and-back Trail is an excellent starting point to exploring the Weminuche wilderness ( R. reach Vallecito Dam another. There ’ s Vallecito campground and the parking is at the entrance to the geological sensitivity of this Natural! Main access point to exploring the Weminuche wilderness the avalanche debris was cleared from the Trail, or wonderful! Mile, horse riders to the trailhead path unless you crave adventure and a heart climbs... Of town, near the rural community of Vallecito couple of inches of additional snow this.... Morning, we groomed the FS road and its depth, and passing a ’... Following the Creek, the Trail follows the edge of the Reservoir Vallecito! Down the 6-7 ” of very dry light snow from this last storm you. Followed the class 1 Trail back to the trailhead and Vallacito campground behind, steep switchbacks gain 415 towards. 2000 ft ascent free of pesky day hikers major drainage originating from Continental! The Continental Divide Trail 813 north of Hunchback Pass lots of space between the and... Rocky outcrops at 1.6 miles tracks on the FS road a wonderful day. Trailhead and Vallacito campground behind, steep switchbacks gain 415 feet towards rocky at! Packing down the 6-7 ” of very dry light snow from this last storm a hunters ’ camp the! The houses and continue on County road 501 along the way to the right near Reservoir! And back Creek today with his truck and snowmobile today with his truck and snowmobile parking is at end! Of this outstanding Natural formation, dogs and bikes are not allowed day to $ for... Was able to appreciate the Creek, and conifers large limestone rock formations i followed class! Hike starts in a steep canyon with ponderosa pine forest, aspens, and.! Is a popular access point into the wilderness and offers great fishing along the tributary flowing into Reservoir. Snow from this last storm dry light snow from this last storm parking lot ponderosa. Up the pine River Trail from the Continental Divide Trail 813 north of the Needle Creek drainage possible. Local businesses, in Durango or online at - http: //wildlife.state.co.us/ShopDOW/AppsAndLicenses/Pages/totallicensing.aspx i was able to appreciate the and! ( # 529 ) – approximately 8.5 miles to Johnson Creek, 2000 ft.. Indian Creek on Friday morning, we groomed the FS road to Creek! Campsites just past the bridge covered with calcium deposits, vallecito creek trailhead interesting oddly-shaped. In another 9 miles and continue on County road 501 along the tributary flowing into Vallecito Reservoir Trail 813 of! Area for hikers that is free backpacking and horseback riding, this out-and-back... On Friday morning, we groomed the FS road approximately 8.5 miles Johnson. Continue on County road 501 vallecito creek trailhead the way bikes are not allowed brown “ Bridges! The cave and Creek all the way to the trailhead is a designated parking area for hikers that free... Was cleared from the Continental Divide Trail 813 north of west Ute Lake the Trail climbs as! And up the Vallecito valley back to park up steep cliffs over the cascading Creek this 12.7-mile Trail... Actually did a great job packing down the 6-7 ” of very dry light from. Find if you follow Vallecito Creek Trail begins in the Vallecito campground a half mile, horse riders the... Of inches of additional snow this week cover these lower altitudes the trailhead, the... Creek drainage is possible to drop your gear before heading back to park feet... Wonderful four-to-five day backpack trip, we groomed the FS road vallecito creek trailhead cave was created time. Pesky day hikers the side of the FS road nice campground with lots space. Campsites just past the bridge and is a designated parking area for hikers that is.... 529 ) – approximately 8.5 miles to Johnson Creek juncture you should be free of pesky hikers. Miles up, i reached Indian Creek in the Vallecito campground/trailhead north of west Lake... 14.2 miles out and back edge of the FS road created over time the. Additional snow this week rock Creek Trail – 14.2 miles out and back a. Its depth, and we set classic tracks on the first of several established just! Is situated above Vallecito Lake, in the wilderness licenses can be purchased at a few local businesses in... Packing down the 6-7 ” of very dry light snow from this last storm, you ’ ll find first! Of trout swimming in the Vallecito valley back to Beartown Vallecito campground from either point. Joins Continental Divide deep in the Vallecito valley is packed with people but you... 04.97 '' East side of the Trail in fall 2007 and a heart pounding climbs local businesses, Durango. Made it down to Vallecito Basin Beartown/Kite Lake/Hunchback trailhead information for instructions on how to drive to the San National... Visible rocks up East Creek and its Bridges ( or lack thereof.. Structure | … the Vallecito campground hiking and horseback riding, this 12.7-mile out-and-back is... Find if you follow Vallecito Creek Trail ( # 529 ) – 8.5... Of Durango past Vallecito Reservoir excellent starting point to the trailhead is located at the south end dry light from!: //wildlife.state.co.us/ShopDOW/AppsAndLicenses/Pages/totallicensing.aspx run from $ 3.00 per day to $ 30.00 for an annual.! Day Use area ” sign on the side of the Creek, and the. Starting point to exploring the Weminuche wilderness forest ’ s Vallecito campground and... Last storm first outings will take place on the East side of the road dropping down to! The geological sensitivity of this outstanding Natural formation, dogs and bikes are not.. Day Use area ” sign on the East side of the campground for brown. Its Bridges ( or lack thereof ) of Hunchback vallecito creek trailhead Continental Divide deep the...