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This well identified trail wanders through aspen forests, small fields, and large meadows. The area is used locally for summer grazing. The lush grasses and forbs also provide good habitat for mule deer, elk, coyote, and smaller mammals such as shrews. Over 28 species of birds including jays, warblers, and hawks use this area as well.

Toward the upper end of the trail, Ponderosa pine becomes more evident. At intervals north of Twin Springs, one emerges from the spruce-fir habitat to see the views of Nipple mountain and the mesa country to the west and east. Above 11,000 feet is the alpine zone, which is basically devoid of trees.

Numerous stock ponds have been constructed along the lower half of Stoner Mesa Trail and are suitable for stock use only. To avoid game trails, watch carefully along these trails for the Forest Service double blazes. The trail emerges onto the Stoner Mesa road approximately 0.5 mile southwest of Twin springs. This is a pleasant meadow with camping areas for a number of people.

Directions: From Dunton Road, Take Forest Service Road 535 (Dunton Road) to Emerson Picnic Ground. The Trailhead is located across the bridge, at the south end of the picnic ground.Alternatively, you can continue along Forest Service Road 535 to Forest Service Road 666. Take 666 east to the end. From this point, you can travel south to Emerson Picnic Ground or northeast to Eagle Peak.

Elevation: 7,600 feet

Distance: 19.0 miles

Usage: Light

Difficulty: Moderate

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San Juan National Forest, Colorado

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

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