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dog friendly

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The San Juan National Forest spans more than 1.8 million acres of puclic lands near Durango in the southwestern corner of Colorado. The forest encompasses three wilderness areas: Weminuche Wilderness, South San Juan Wilderness, and Lizard Head Wilderness, two of which are alpine wilderness areas. San Juan National Forest was declared by president Theodore Roosevelt in 1905 and is now also part of the Chimney Rock National Monument. The park's terrain ranges from high-desert to alpine peaks of the San Juan Mountains. Popular highlights within the park include the San Juan Skyway, a scenic drive with excellent views, and numerous hiking trails including Ice Lake Basin Trail. Activities in the park include hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, and skiing. The National Forest also offers many campsites for use, including Cayton Campground. If you want some history, take a ride on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, a historic landmark that passes through the national forest.

Trail was an extremely easy hike with amazing views. We hiked this trail in early December and the water fall was still flowing great! The hike is quite a ways from Pagosa Springs but well worth the drive. If you are going in the winter do not drive a car there. Make sure you have a SUV or truck with 4X4. The last 8 miles to the trail is narrow and not travel much. However, do not let this deter you, if you have a 4X4 the road is manageable. Last note, make sure google takes you to the right road it did not take us to the right road first. You want to take the road that ends on 637. Great hike must do!

One of my absolute favorites. Day before Thanksgiving hike with my brother and nephew, a bit icy in some spots but FABULOUS

hiking
8 days ago

The trail is public as it is on USFS land. Only the trailhead @ gate 5 is marked for residents only. Respect that and park at the public parking lot/trailhead off N. Pagosa Blvd. as shown on the All Trails map.
If parking is full there there are several other USFS gates that are on public land but all require street parking which is usually not a problem as long as you're not blocking the road.
This map shows a MTB/road biking loop but for hikers/snowshoers better loops can be made from 312, 311, 315, 305 trails. Nice scenery and rarely used in winter. But bring a map/compass/GPS as some of the trails are hard to follow when snow covered.

A bit of traffic and city noise to contend with, but easily accessible with nice views and opportunities to see wildlife.

Nice views going up the switchbacks, but unfortunately it comes with traffic noise. The synthetic noise pollution doesn't dissipate until you get back into the canyon a ways.

I had the mountain to myself today and it was wonderful. There were a few muddy & icy spots, but overall the trail was in good condition.

Very short trail but definitely an upwards hike. Once you get to the end the view is outstanding! You can even hear the rushing river below. Very good meditation spot. ♡

hiking
22 days ago

Serene, well kept.... more people need to clean up after their dogs but otherwise a great trail.

off road driving
23 days ago

Just read my post. It looks like I tried to drive up the mountain, we tried hiking up the mountain but it got too steep. Just want to clarify. I'm all for responsible trail riding.

off road driving
24 days ago

Drove up to the Notch and hiked down the east side past the crashed Bronco. Good drive also hiked to Taylor Lake.

Nice easy drive. Snowing the day we went out there.

Great hike with an incredible view at the top. Ice and packed snow in a few spots towards the top. Mostly clear as of 11/17

off road driving
24 days ago

Very good drive. Did this during the summer. Tried going up the mountainside, but it got very steep. Still a good drive. Very nice views.

No snow on the trail yet. Today was my first visit, nice mellow trail, only saw one other person on my way out. Several pools to choose from, all of which were nice and warm. Will definitely visit again.

Really pretty trail, beautiful forests and there are views of the mountains in a couple of places. There are a couple of places where you can see Pagosa in the distance with mountains in the background. It is an ATV trail but there was nobody on the trail. We went in November so it was quiet. Somewhat rocky, parts are a steep but easy climb. There is a place where trail loops but it wasn’t marked and we missed it and had to back track. It’s not obvious to turn there for the loop so watch for that or use this app to track your location.

Beautiful hike along the river with mountain and cliff views. Nice meadows for a picnic. We went to the bridge before turning back, it was a nice 2 hour hike.

1 month ago

Popular in town trail shared with mountain bikers resulted with poor quality hiking. Otherwise great trail with views and nice gradual gains.

A nice trail with a variety of terrain! A few steep ascents but pretty even mostly.
Not great views of the mountains (even in November) and very few open overlooks. Very pleasant since I love groves of pine trees and shady valleys. Loop was a bit confusing and not always clearly marked. I turned left at one point and ended up on a different trail. The length and the pretty sunset definitely made this worthwhile, but not a hike I feel like I have to do again soon.

hiking
1 month ago

Moderate ascent with some great views of Durango and the valley to the north on the east side of the loop. Full loop is 6 miles, so it makes for a good 3 hour hike. Also a pet friendly hike. If I do it again, I’ll just do the east side up and back as it offers great views and terrain. The west side is a straight descent through the forest with little to no views.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful, relatively taxing hike through the canyon with spectacular views. Entire hike is along the river. 6 miles to second bridge. Good morning hike if you’re up and about early, otherwise plan for 1/2 day hike - roughly 4-5 hours - if you go to second bridge.

hiking
1 month ago

Nice steady ascent. Nothing difficult. Good views of Vallecito lake and dam on the ascent, but no views to speak of at the top. Good for 2 hour hike.

Beautiful variety of scenery!

backpacking
1 month ago

A wonderful trail! Slightly longer than what AllTrails says, but worth every step. One of the best we’ve ever tackled.

Did this trail the first part of Nov. Absolutely beautiful and a good family trail. Beware of the horse/mule trackings; while it is beautiful countryside, there is significant trail wear from the mule/horses. Still! It is worth the trek. I hiked this trail with my 66 y/o father and we loved it. Cozy enough to wear a mid layer sweater and get to it! Get outside, Colorado!

Great hike to top of Castle Rock with the stunning views. Recent horse and cattle hoof ruts on the lower part and snow/ice near the top. Be careful.

Amazing trail. Has some difficulty since most of the way back is uphill. Very beautiful scenery including waterfalls and the Animas River.

Pretty trail for seeing mountains. It’s well maintained and fairly flat for most of it - perfect for an easy afternoon.

Loved this trail! It’s uphill for 3/4 of the way, but the lake at the end was worth it. We hiked during a light rain - trail was slippery with mud as a result, but manageable.

hiking
1 month ago

Good well marked moderate trail.

Hiked on 10/27. Doable for sure but lots of snow— wish I would have had spikes but can be carefully done without. If you have gaiters use them. My feet were soaked.

I was plenty warm with a long sleeve and puffy vest.

The directions lead you to trailhead accurately.

I went on past ice lake but could not make it to island lake as the tracks stop right now due to snow.

I’m 34 and in good shape and it took me about 2:45 to get to ice lake. I also drank near 5L of water. Totally epic views if you follow tracks up about another 500-800 feet of vert— about 1/2 mile distance.

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