Wondrous Weminuche

ImageContained within the boundaries of the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests, Colorado’s Weminuche Wilderness boasts 490,000 acres of pristine countryside.

 

Best Treks
More than 500 miles of trail are open for exploration in the Weminuche Wilderness, including 80 miles of the Continental Divide Trail. Consider these ride suggestions from staff members in the Columbine and Divide Ranger Districts.

• Vallecito Creek Trail No. 529, from Johnson Creek to Hunchback Pass: This nearly 10-mile trek in the San Juan National Forest takes riders along a portion of Vallecito Creek as it meanders toward the Continental Divide Trail. The Vallecito is known for some of the best fly-fishing in the country, so be sure to pack along a current fishing license and a rod for the chance to reel in wild rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout. Rated easy to moderate for difficulty, the trail gains 3,000 feet in elevation by the time it reaches Hunchback Pass at 12,500 feet. Wildflower-covered meadows, aspen groves and waterfalls are just a few of the views afforded along the way.   

• Weminuche Trail #818: This 4.5-mile trail provides an easy, scenic trek as it travels from the 30 Miles Campground to the Weminuche Pass area. At an elevation of 10,600 feet, the pass is considered the lowest access point to the Continental Divide. Past the Rio Grande Reservoir Area, fishing opportunities abound along Weminuche Creek. Stock unloading areas are located at ¼-mile and ½-mile distances from the campground, along Rio Grande Reservoir Road #520.

Restrictions
Group size in the Weminuche Wilderness is limited to 15 people per group, with a maximum combination of stock and people not to exceed 25. Weed-free hay is required and leave-no-trace principles apply. Dispersed camping is available without a permit.

Hazards
The wilderness is located within high-altitude country, so be prepared for sudden storm activity, including lightning, rain, hail and flash flooding. As always, check with U.S. Forest Service personnel regarding trail closures and updates. Watch for predators, as mountain lion and black bear make their home within the area.

Resources
• San Juan National Forest
Durango, Colorado
(970) 247-4874
fs.fed.us/r2/sanjuan

• Columbine Ranger District
Bayfield, Colorado
(970) 884-2512

• Rio Grande National Forest
Monte Vista, Colorado
(719) 852-5941
fs.fed.us/r2/riogrande/

• Divide Ranger District
Del Norte, Colorado
(719) 657-3321

Local Outfitters
• Colorado Mountain Expeditions
Durango
(970) 375-1250
coloradoexpeditions.com

• Colorado Trails Ranch
Durango
(970) 247-5055
colotrails.com

• Great Divide Outfitters
Bayfield
(970) 884-2372
greatdivideoutfitters.com

• Lost Trails Ranch
Creede, Colorado
(719) 850-2525
lost-trail.com

• Over-the-Hill Outfitters
Durango
(970) 247-1694
overthehilloutfitters.com

• Poma Outfitting
Pagosa Springs, Colorado
(970) 731-6288
pomaoutfitting.com

• RC Guest Ranch & Circle Divide Outfitters
Creede
(719) 658-2253
rcguestranch.com

• San Juan Outfitting
Durango

(970) 259-6259
sanjuanoutfitting.com

• Vallecito Lake Outfitters
Durango
(970) 247-1275
vallecitolakeoutfitters.com

• Wilderness Trails Ranch
Bayfield
(970) 247-0722
wildernesstrails.com

• Wit’s End Ranch
Bayfield
(970) 247-4113
witsendranch.com