Thursday, September 19, 2019

Hiking the Piedras River Trail in SW Colorado


While in Pagosa Springs, we took off early one day and decided to drive up to Wolf Creek Pass. We had not seen this pass in 40 years or more. As we were driving up we stopped off along the roadside and took the short hike up to the top of Treasure Falls. It was pretty dry this time of year but was still is impressive especially after taking the time to hike to the top of it.


After our hike, we continued our drive to the top of Wolf Creek Pass and I had planned to do another short hike near the top. However once we reached the pass we were disappointed in how many of Colorado's high altitude trees had died. One in 14 trees is dead in Colorado forests! Colorado’s mountain pine beetle and the spruce beetle have caused an increase of 30% in the number of dead trees only since 2010. It is really disheartening…


After the disappointment of Wolf Creek Pass on our last full day in Pagosa Springs we decided to find a good hike nearby (where it was green). After perusing the web I found the Piedras River Trail which was about a half an hour or so drive north of town.. The drive to the trailhead started out on paved road but turned to an easily drivable dirt road pretty quick and was enjoyable because of the scenery..

IMG_20190910_125407The trail basically began in a meadow on the river’s rim then slowly dropped down to the Piedras River. As we were walking through the meadow we passed some Aspen trees which were just beginning to turn their yellow fall color. Also, an oddly enough I found wild hops growing all along the trail!


As we left the meadow and began to drop down in elevation the trail became more rocky and shady. The trail was fairly easy although there were some more moderate rocky parts and a bit steep in a some places. The trail basically parallels the river offering some great views looking down into it. At times the trail meandered down by the river where we were able to feel the temperature of the water… Cold!


We continued on down the trail until we escaped the rocky canyon and found ourselves back in a meadow surrounded by pines, spruce and fir. We walked another 1/2 mile or so then returned back the way we came. The entire trail is 12 miles long and would have been great if we had someone to shuttle us back to our car.


We only went in about 1 3/4 miles in and back out with about a 700 ft. elevation change. This was a great little hike and best of all it was green…

We highly recommend this trail!

NOTE: We are currently in Cortez CO and then we will stay a few days south of Cortez before moving on into Utah where we will be at Bluff Utah for a week…

1 comment:

  1. It is terrible to see the dead trees in the West. We went thru that several years ago here in the Southeast as well.