Explore the most popular camping trails near Bayfield with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Just completed the hike (May 2018). As another person posted, the trail is relatively easy for the first 6 Miles. After that point, there’s about 15 downed trees on your way to the lake along with a steep incline. My pedometer marked the hike at 11 Miles one way, not 9, so making it to the lake in one day is rather strenuous. The lakes are gorgeous and well worth the hike!

I completed the hike in July 2017. The first 6 miles a more or less flat with amazing valley views. Once you cross the bridge and head north to the lake, it gets quite steep but you still have access to plenty of water and shade. The real work begins about a mile/mile and a half before the campsite below Little Emerald where you are treated to fallen tree after fallen tree across the trail. On our way up some awesome ladies were working to mitigate that problem but it I imagine it will be a nonstop job with all of the beetle-killed pine along the way.

The campsite south of Little Emerald can accommodate a relatively large group of people without getting too cozy but it will be crowded on a holiday weekend. The walk around Emerald is excellent and the view down the valley is breathtaking.

Great trail, especially if you’re trying to squeeze a trip in late October into early November. Also, a good trip for novices or 55+’s who are fairly new to backpacking. Lower elevation, not much elevation change . . . at least for most of the trail coming in from Vallecito Reservoir. Ours was a three day trip, in and out with a day in between. Wanted to try to go to Emerald Lake for a day trip on the second day, but weather prevented us from going. Anyway, great places to camp leading up to the Emerald Lake trail or at the the junction.

hiking
8 months ago

Nice trailhead with map. Pretty area but trails not marked at all! Great vista!!

hiking
8 months ago

If we didn't have All Trails we would have gotten lost. Not well marked! Other than that, beautiful trail with incredible vistas!

hiking
Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Very easy and pretty hike to the river

backpacking
Saturday, August 13, 2016

My sister and I did a 3 day, 2 night backpacking trip on the pine River/emerald creek trail back in mid-May. It was our first backpacking trip, and it was great for both of us!! We hit a lot of snow about 6/7 miles into the emerald creek trial, so we turned back earlier than expected from that trail. (Side note: it definitely hit freezing that first night). However, turning back from emerald creek and continuing on pine River wound up being a blessing in disguise because the Pine River trail is beautiful!! And lower altitudes so no snow. There was a pre-made campsite up on a little hill that overlooked some beautiful mountains. To sum up: UNREAL first backpacking trip. Would love to do these trails again in the summertime.

hiking
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Forgot to rate it. 5 stars!!!

hiking
Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Just experienced Pine River Trail and it was fantastic. Very green and beautiful. We were heading to Emerald Lake but the incline of elevation was very long and high. The trail starts out at about 8000 elevation and inclines to about 10000 elevation. The trail is very rocky but manageable to hike on with beautiful scenery and plant life. We got half way and camped out at a campsite along the Pinos River. It was sooo beautiful and relaxing, caught a brown trout and ate it for supper. There was a groupimg of bear poops in our campsite but we saw none come around at the time. Awesome trail altogether, I wish we could have gone further to Emerald Lake.

hiking
Thursday, August 09, 2012

We actually came from the Rock Creek Trail (started at Vallecito Campground-Vallecito Creek Trail (14 mi) north to Rock Creek Trail (East about 6 miles) to Flint Creek trail south to Pine River Trail south. We entered the Flint Creek trail at Flint Lake.
A strong suggestion, if you take this loop, do not start at Pine River and go to Vallecito. Start at Vallecito and go around. It looks to be much easier.
Flint lake is majestic and beautiful. The trout (brown and brook from what I caught) are huge. We caught 12 to 18 inchers. Fantastic fishing.
The trail east on Flint Creek was above treeline for the first 1-2 miles. The views of the Continental Divide are fantastic. The trail is rocky but well maintained. The trail goes down in elevation aggressively. We were more than happy to be going down, not up this trail.
Once we entered the forest, we saw a elf-like forest, it was so moist and fertile. So much green plant life.
There was a creek crossing that was a little tricky. We thought the trail stayed on the north side, when in fact, the trail crossed the creek. Just look for the trail on the other side of the creek. It's not apparent immediately, but it is there.
One Flint Creek, joins Pine River Trail, the canyon really opens up. There are several nice camp sites at this trail intersection as well. The Pine River Trail is a very gradual downward slope to the trailhead. It is definitely rated easy even though it gains over 1600 feet just to the Flint Creek trailhead. The trail is at times, very rocky, but manageable. There are several waterfalls on the east side of the canyon that are fantastic views.
We had 2 bucks and a doe in our campground the last night. We also had a fox in the campground early in the morning looking for scraps-none here.
If you camp above treeline in the Flint Creek to Rock Lake area, watch for marmets that will literally eat the rubber off your walking poles. Put everything in your tent at night or it will be gone in the morning. No joke.
Rained (as usual this time of year) 3 of 4 nights. One night we had hail.

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1 day ago

backpacking
3 months ago

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8 months ago

backpacking
11 months ago

hiking
Monday, October 17, 2016

hiking
Sunday, September 04, 2016

camping
Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Sunday, September 07, 2014