Begin at parking area and take County Road 46 AA north along Findley Gulch to Forest Development Road # 857. Turn right onto Forest Road # 857 and proceed to the top of Bonita Hill. Follow Forest Road # 857 down and then up an old jeep trail (10,400 feet). Continue on Forest Road # 857 and descend into Columbia Gulch. Turn right where Forest Road # 857 intersects with Forest Road 858 and cross Little Kerber Creek. Climb to the top of Sawlog Gulch and then go 3.0 miles downhill to the parking area.
The southern view from atop Bonita Hill is impressive even to natives of the San Luis Valley. The hilltop is covered with a gorgeous Aspen stand and is a great place to bring a picnic lunch. The descent after Bonita Hill is short lived, as it is interrupted by a very steep 2.0 mile climb. This hill is pockmarked by abandoned mines, which are safe to look at, but from a distance! Be careful around those old shafts.
The downhill into Columbia Gulch is exciting and the final descent down Sawlog Gulch is even more so, but more dangerous as well. Enjoy the meadow filled with assorted wildflowers atop Sawlog Gulch before beginning the descent, because you will not have time to look on your way down! The trail consists of drivable roads and mostly smooth surfaces. There are long and sustained grades with a few stream beds that are easily crossed.
Directions: From Saguache, Colorado, Take Colorado Highway 114 west 1.5 miles and turn right onto County Road 46 AA (Findley Gulch). Follow to intersection of Forest Development Road # 858 (Sawlog Gulch) and park at designated area. this location will access both the Ute Pass Trail and the Bonita Hill Trail.
Elevation Gain: 2,000 feet
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Rio Grande National Forest, Colorado
Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 Wildernet.com all rights reserved.
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