Wildflower season offers scenic hikes

Wildflower season is in full bloom along the Horse Creek trail. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)Durago wildflower hikes
Wildflower season is in full bloom along the Horse Creek trail. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

Wildflowers are blooming in the San Juan Mountains are are thriving from all the rain. Here are three trails to view them.

Horse Creek Trail: This trailhead is on Colorado Highway 145 between mile markers 48 and 49. The trail is just north of the gate used to close the highway. The Horse Creek trail is 3.7 miles long. It begins at Forest Road 423 — Horse Gulch Road and ends at Forest Trail 208 — the Calico Trail. The trail is open for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. This trail is closed to all motorized vehicles. Respect private property that is along this trail.

East Fork Trail: This trail is accessed off Colorado Highway 145 on Lizard Head Pass. The trailhead is on the other side of the highway from the more popular Cross Mountain Trail.

Turn east and south on Forest Road 204 to reach the East Fork trailhead. The trail descends to the headwaters of the Dolores River. The trail is open for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and motorcycle riding.

Hope Lake: The 3.2-mile Hope Lake trail (6.4 miles round trip) starts out in deep forest with plenty of rushing streams, waterfalls, and a verdant landscape of mosses, grasses and wildflowers.

From Cortez, take Colorado Highway 145 to Trout Lake. Drive along the shore road for 1.5 miles, then hang a left on Forest Road 627. Proceed up this rocky road 2.5 miles to the trailhead. High clearance is preferred, but regular cars routinely drive the road; just take it slow. Take note of the excellent free car camping opportunities along the way.

Post courtesy of the Durango Herald


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