Walk up the river to a head gate where the trail begins. The Middle Fork Needles (Piedra River) are most visible while driving up to Williams Creek Reservoir. The last half of the trail is at 12,000 feet, so snowmelt is late. This is a nice open meadow area and serves as a great 3-4 mile RT hike if you turn back here. Walk up the river to a headgate where the trail begins. Ivan, of the forest service, presented a map of the Colorado Roadless Area (CRA) as it relates to the Piedra Focus Area of the working group. If attempting the full length trip be aware that there are several hills in the middle taking you up and around a series of box canyons along the river, so though the total elevation gain from trailhead to trailhead is only about 500 ft. you will end up doing close to 2,000 ft. of gain when traveling from the lower to upper trailhead and even going down, from upper to lower will have a gain near 1000 vertical. Second Box Canyon: This canyon, cut by the Piedra River, showcases layers of rock from the Precambrian geologic time period. Description. The first 3.0 miles is gravel road and the rest is dirt that is extremely slick when wet. A shorter route is to start at the Taylor River trailhead in the Middle Fork valley and walk up the old Quartz Creek road. MIDDLE FORK TRAIL (#589) A steep hike at high elevation with views of Piedra river. The main river then travels southwest and south, mostly within the Piedra Wilderness. Short Trail Summary: The eastern terminus of the Piedra River Trail overlooks rafters, ice caves and otherwise grand landscape and will be busier in the summer season. This trail gets a grand start in the form of a cable-hung bridge that crosses below the confluence of the Middle Fork Snoqualmie and Taylor Rivers. Further down the trail, other campsites include Mehrten Creek (about 6 miles from the trailhead) and Buck Creek (about 9 miles from the trailhead). Follow the small brown wood sign for the Middle Fork Trail by veering left on the dirt road just before the campground. 10.2 : Piedra River Trail #596. A trail starts at Middle Fork Trailhead near the town of Pagosa Springs and goes deep into the wilderness. Continuing on the West Fork Trail, the area between the junction with the Beaver Creek Trail and the next crossing of the West Fork of the San Juan is closed to campfires and camping is permitted only in existing sites at least … Without the log, crossing will likely require you to get wet. The headwaters of the Piedra start way up in the Weminuche Wilderness, then form a trident of waterways consisting of East Fork, Middle Fork, and Williams Creek. This road closes before winter so make sure it is still open if planning a through hike. You could say it starts higher up in the Forks but for our If you only go 16 miles you will see parking pull-offs to the left, cliffs in view, scanty trails … but these are rock climbing areas, and not the Piedra River Trailhead itself. Further Destinations: From the trailhead, Redwood Meadow can be reached in about 13 miles and Bearpaw Meadow in about 14 miles. Motorcycle Riding. Directions: Drive North on Piedra Road (CR 600/FS 631) 17.8-miles to the junction at Sportsman’s Campground. These needles are also visible while driving Piedra Road toward the Piedra Gorge climbing areas. After 1.2 miles, you enter the … Cross the bridge over the Middle Fork of Piedra River to reach the trailhead. Any Activity. 17.6 : Pine-Piedra Trail #524. and river to the falls. Outdoor Learning SHOW. Despite its name, Redwood Meadow is home to one of the most remote giant sequoia groves (not redwood trees) reached by trail in the park. Hiking. Setting: … At these times, you will have to park at the Hospital Rock Picnic Area and walk less than two miles to the trailhead. It truly is a thistle jungle… I’m not sure the FS has a plan to control it. Any Activity. The hike is an easy one-mile roundtrip, out-and-back on … We went down to the second bridge, and then back up. Join us for special events the whole family can enjoy on select weekends throughout the winter. Ten miles of river are only accessible by hiking, and this is one fishing trip that is definitely worth the hike! However, it was our 3rd hike of that day and too much at that point in the heat. MIDDLE FORK TRAIL (#589) A steep hike at high elevation with views of Piedra river. Park there and begin your hike at the trailhead. Now hikers can enjoy peace and quiet on this gently graded trail just out of North Bend. It is about 1 mile and takes about 15-30 minutes each way. This log served as a perfect bridge. Trail is steep and offers little camping along the way. Follow the road to its end, about eight miles east, and follow the path upstream to the base of the falls. Prominent Features: Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan National Forest, Rio Grande National Forest, Continental Divide, Cimarrona Peak, Williams Reservoir, Palisade Lakes, Middle Fork Piedra River, Williams Creek, Hossick Creek, Cimarrona Creek, Indian Creek, Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, Middle Fork Trail, Indian Creek Trail, Palisade Meadows Trail, Williams Creek Trail, Squaw Creek Trail, … Walk along the river and enjoy the beautiful scenery to get to the waterfall. USFS webpage. 11.2-500 : Piedra Stock Drive Trail #583. This short trail is used to get to the Middle Fork Conejos River Trail, North Fork Conejos River Trail, and El Rito Azul Trail - all of which connect you to the Continental Divide Trail. Summer typically brings scorching temperatures that deter most hikers. OHV Riding (>50”) Nordic Skiing. To get there: Piedra Road North (CR 600 /FS 631) for 17.8 miles; right on Middle Fork Road (FS 636) 5.6 miles to its end. The shortest out and back, and a nice family hike is from the upper trailhead down to where you access the river in a deep rock canyon with sheer walls at approximately ½ mile down trail. It is a good idea to leave a car or have someone meet you at one end or the other. Continuing another ½ mile past the 2. bridge will take you up hill to a nice vantage point where there is also a trail leading North to Weminuche Creek. After a strenous hike on the slope between Sugarbowl Dome and River Valley, you can reach Bearpaw Meadow and the High Sierra Trail. Ten miles in length from Middle Fork Trailhead over Palomino Mountain to the Continental Divide Trail. USFS webpage. Volunteers did some trail clearing in 2016 so it may be slightly better now. Miles indicated in the title and throughout the text use river miles (RM). Water Activities SHOW. Hopefully the piedra won’t have the same fate. USFS webpage. Snowshoeing. Piedra River Trail - a hike well worth the effort !!! Winter Sports SHOW. Highlights: Panther Creek Falls, fishing in the Middle Fork of the Kaweah River for those who don't mind bush-whacking, wildflowers in the spring, views up the river drainage to the Great Western Divide, access to Redwood Meadow (one of the most remote sequoia groves in the park). If you have the know-how, however, the easiest way … Its wild rapids have given it nicknames ranging from dilemma to snarl. Do not attempt to travel this road in wet weather. Take the first road to the right, the East Toner Road (#637), and follow it to the end. Another good picnic option is the Piedra River Picnic area just 1/4 mile away from the Piedra River trailhead parking lot. Directions: Drive North on Piedra Road (CR 600/FS 631) 17.8-miles to the junction at Sportsman’s Campground. Most years at the ½ mile river access a large Ice formation appears from the cliff face right down into the river which is a popular destination. This ride travels from Sportsmans Supply on Piedra Road to East Fork of the Piedra River near Piedra Falls. Snowmobiling. Middle Fork Trail (589) Piedra River Trail (596) Piedra Stock Drive Trail (583) Quartz Ridge Trail (570) Sand Creek Trail (593) Turkey Creek Trail (580) Weminuche Trail (592) West Fork Trail (561) West Fork Trailhead; Williams Creek Trail (587) Horse Riding & Camping SHOW OHV Riding & Camping SHOW. Head east on the trail and cross the Middle Fork of Piedra River. You'll need to cross the Conejos River and its tributaries several times so you'll need a good pair of sandals. At this point, turn right and head southeast to Redwood Meadow. The trailhead is at 9,040 feet elevation. Turn north onto First Fork Road (FS 622). Click on the PDF files attached below for detailed trail notes and trail map that you can download and print out. Common Wildlife You Might See: Mule deer, black bear, bobcat, mountain lion, rattlesnake, and lots of birds. The trail eventually edges closer to the river, then leads to a metal span bridge. This trail is ten miles in length from Middle Fork Trailhead over Palomino Mountain to the Continental Divide Trail. If continuing on to do the entire river trail, stay right and do not cross that bridge. See chapter "V Piedra River" in Falcon Guides book Hiking Colorado. The parking area is large and no bathrooms are available, though across the street up the river is a day use area that does of have  a toilet. Protect your camera from the mist and watch your footing on the wet trail. 11.2-500 : Piedra Stock Drive Trail #583. Wildlife viewing, whitewater rafting, fishing, backpacking, bird watching, wildflowers and ample photography opportunities are to be found along this trail. They appear high on the ridge to the right (east) and appear to be a collection of volcanic ridges, spires, and one super thin needle of almost impossible height. The trail journeys through a great mix of river canyon, meadows, and forest. However, it was our 3rd hike of that day and too much at that point in the heat. ATV Riding. Mountain Travel Guide webpage. Allowances:  Open to hiking, biking, foot traffic and horses. Leave the Piedra Road and continue on the Middle Fork Road (#636) for two miles. or so… where there is a big marked parking lot on the left. By combining three or more of these trails with the CDT, you can make an excellent backpacking loop 20 to 30 miles long. Cross the bridge over the Middle Fork of Piedra River to reach the trailhead. Location: Northeast of Durango, near Pagosa Springs. You'll need to cross the Conejos River and its tributaries several times so you'll need a good pair of sandals. 17.6 : Pine-Piedra Trail #524. By combining three or more of these trails with the CDT, you can make an excellent backpacking loop 20 to 30 miles long. Turn right on to Middle Fork Road, FS 640 and follow this road for two miles to East Toner Road. Another good picnic option is the Piedra River Picnic area just 1/4 mile away from the Piedra River trailhead parking lot. Follow the river via First Fork Road, approximately ten miles to the end of the road where the trailhead is. Had a lovely lunch break just beyond the middle fork bridge, and another day did the Ice Caves hike. The hike is an easy one-mile roundtrip, out-and-back on Piedra Falls Trail #671. When to Go: This low elevation trail is best in spring, late fall, or winter. MaxTrails.com webpage. Walk upstream to a head gate … Take the first road to the right, East Toner Rd (FS 637), and drive that for 7.5-miles to the parking lot at the end of the road. 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