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Pine River Trail to Weminuche Pass

Basics
Location:
Northeast of Durango
Setting:
Mountainous
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Trailhead Elevation:
8000 feet
Elevation Change:
2500 feet
Season:
Summer - Fall

Description

The Pine River Trail begins through a private gate next to Granite Peaks Ranch. Please stay on the trail, and camping is prohibited until you reach the Wilderness boundary. Aspens, ponderosa pines, and conifers are in abundance along the trail as you follow the Pine (or Piños) River north.

The boundary of the Weminuche Wilderness is 2.7 miles up the trail. The Lake Fork Trail turns off to the north at mile 6.3. The Pine River continues to ascend, sometimes gradually, sometimes moderately, and occasionally steeply, to Weminuche Pass.

The alpine meadows are full of blooming wildflowers in late July and in August. Enjoy the excellent views and photographic possibilities. Water can be found off the trail in most of the tributaries, but due to Giardia it should be filtered. As with all high-altitude areas, storms can move in rapidly, bringing severe wind, lightning, rain, snow, or hail—any time of the year. Plan accordingly.

Fishing Considerations:

The Pine River is inaccessible for the first 2.5 miles of trail, but from the Wilderness boundary to the Continental Divide, the river offers some of the finest fly-fishing found anywhere. The trout in the Wilderness are wild fish. They include rainbows, brookies, browns, and cutthroats. Please check the fishing regulations regarding limits, allowable lures, and restrictions on certain lakes, rivers, etc.

Details

Location:
Northeast of Durango
Setting:
Mountainous
Difficulty:
Intermediate
Trailhead Elevation:
8000
Elevation Change:
2500
Season:
Summer - Fall
Useful Map(s):
USGS Quads: Vallecito Reservoir, Granite Peak, Eme

Map + Directions

Basic Directions

1)From Bayfield, head north on County Road (CR) #501, also called the Vallecito Road. Take that road north 22 miles around Vallecito Lake.Turn left on the Pine River turnoff – FS #602. Take the road 3.8 miles to the Pine River Campground.

)2 From Durango, head north on Florida Road (CR #240) for 14 miles. Continue on CR #240 for 2 miles past the turnoff for Lemon Reservoir. Turn north onto CR #501. Take that road north 12 miles around Vallecito Lake. Turn left on the Pine River turnoff – FS #602. Take the road 3.8 miles to the Pine River Campground.


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