Explore the most popular fishing trails in Rio Grande National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

hiking
9 months ago

Recommend going with someone who has done the hike before. Just a few spots near the top where you can go in the wrong direction. This is a very challenging hike but still do-able. Kids included.

hiking
9 months ago

Wow! We made it! What an experience to see a lake named by one of our ancestors. The hike was really tough - after the 26+ switchbacks, there's still a ways to go. But the lake is worth it! It's even been stocked with fish!

fishing
10 months ago

This was a tough one. I didn't think I would make it. Pace yourself. The views are EPIC! Also, don't get your hopes up once you pass that 26th switchback, there's more up ahead. Prepare for mosquitoes from hell and even worse weather. We made the hike only to stand for 3 hrs in the hail! Good luck.

hiking
11 months ago

I hiked this 5/27/17. For an asthmatic Floridian who lacks cardio, it took me about 2 and a half hours to reach the lakes. As it was threatening to rain after I'd chilled for over an hour, I got back to the trailhead in just over an hour.

The trail is practically entirely uphill going out. Towards the very start, there are two creeks to cross--the first one is fairly deep and got the insides of my half-ankle-high boots wet. You can likely avoid getting wet on the second one. It's a gorgeous hike with two small meadows. You're primarily in a mix of aspen and pine. There's many fallen trees around, but only one obstructed the trail. Towards the beginning of the trail, you can hear a waterfall to your right (if going out) and walk on a sort of obvious trail to see part of it and a beaver dam.

When I was at the lakes, a pair of hunters in a jeep entered the area from the opposite side and shot some ducks. I don't think they saw me (I was at the tree line), but they left quickly. Certainly watch yourself out there, but I doubt they meant harm except to ducks.

The trail is fairly rocky at times, and there's a few mud spots towards the end from snowmelt, but you should be fine if you watch your footing. It's gorgeous out there.

Also, be weary as there is no cell service in this part of the forest. It doesn't matter to some, but someone was worried for me since I hadn't replied all day since letting them know I had left.

11 months ago

The hike ended up being 8 miles and that included going to the falls which is off to the side of the main trail. There are some fallen trees in the middle of the trail, a horse wouldn't be able to get around. If you're looking for your prince there's tons of frogs to choose from at the lake. Watch out for wood ticks along the way, I found 2 on my clothes on my way up. The GPS doesn't take you to the trail, if you look to the right just before turning on old bridge road there's a sign that points you in the right direction.

hiking
Tuesday, September 27, 2016

beautiful and quiet!

backpacking
Sunday, August 21, 2016

This is a fun trail with about 2500 ft of elevation gain at the front. It's beautiful and Ruybalid lake is well worth the hike. However, if you're looking to follow the trail past the lake and hook up with "No Name Lake" trail be prepared. The trail after the lake is non-existent. Even with a good map, compass, and GPS we weren't able to find the trail. We ended up bush wacking our way through marshes and thick forest to get to No Name Lake.

bonus: less than a mile up there is a detour to some of the most amazing falls I've ever seen. Definitely take it.

hiking
Monday, July 11, 2016

This is mentioned as an easy, 0.1 mile trail, but a couple of miles before the trailhead, the road becomes very rough. So you either must have a vehicle with 4WD and decent ground clearance or hike a few miles. Also, be aware that there is no designated parking, or even clear trail markings at the beginning of the offroad area. Plan accordingly.

hiking
Wednesday, July 06, 2016

I'm reviewing to provide some up-to-date information. Unfortunately, I didn't have time to hit the entire trail but I'll definitely be back for the whole thing. The trail is pretty easy to find. From Antonito take HWY 17 to Horca and turn right onto FDR 50, a dirt road. This will take you past Rainbow Trout Ranch. Take FDR 50 to Record Bridge Road. *Note if you turn left to take Old Bridge Road following GPS you will not be able to reach the other side of the Conejos so go up one street. Pass over the bridge and there's a little parking area with a sign for the trail, #855, the San Juan Wilderness, and a couple of lakes. The trail head is just slightly to the left of the parking area. 1.3 miles into the hike are The Falls. There is a sign that marks where you can follow the trail to the falls. We took this and ended up heading all the way back over the rocks to see the falls up-close and personal. They're beautiful. The hike up to this spot is not terribly challenging, just watch your footing on the rocks and take it slow. The trail has pretty good coverage with the trees at these early spots so you're not constantly in the sun. The trail had some people on it but it was certainly not crowded.

hiking
Sunday, July 03, 2016

Beautiful lake with a really accessible and easy hike in. The only reason I'm giving it 4 stars is the number of people there.

hiking
Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I think this is a great trail. I would not rate it difficult, cause I just hiked it with my 8 month old in a child carrier and my other 3 kids-ages 3, 7, and 10. (2015) The first part of the trail is a lot of up and down and mostly in the tree's. After that it smooths out a bit and you are in meadow with a few spots of shade.
There are fences (barb wire and old posts) through out the trail that need open and closed if you have a large pack--or can be climbed under if small pack and you are flexible. With fences comes cows. We saw a large herd, but it moved as we got closer--my son blew his whistle at them and they really moved. But it can be muddy because of this reason.

After the 1st lake you can find a trail to the left--after a small hill climb you find an easier trail-than if you would have gone straight. You do have to 'jump' a small stream/mud (I put a rock in the middle and with two large steps got over it that way) if you go this way.

The lake is catch and release, but easy to fish. There are a few camping spots, but a lot of the wood has been used up so don't plan on a roaring fire unless you bring a way to cut the dead wood around (we had a small hatchet).

We hiked in Friday-got rained on most of the late afternoon and into the night, Saturday was beautiful, and Sunday was also beautiful. If I remember I will try to upload photos

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Short trail through trees to lake and then it opens up to see the mountains on other side of lake. Good fishing for brook trout. Bunches of columbines on hillside on other side of lake the first part of July.

hiking
Thursday, July 18, 2013

Great views of waterfalls, nice trail and beautiful scenery, some areas of the trail were steep, but overall it's a very rewarding and amazing area to see anytime of the year!

hiking
Sunday, June 30, 2013

Absolutely loved this hike, very rewarding. The first two miles feel like your going straight up. Lots of steep switch backs but the views of the valley is amazing. Take the time to go see the waterfall on the way up it's great and only about 300 yards off the main trail. Take your fishing gear the Rainbow trout are huge. This is one of those spots you want to just hang your hammock in the tree and enjoy the amazing scenery.

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

fishing
10 months ago

walking
Saturday, June 04, 2016