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Trail follows Priest Gulch drainage through lush meadows and forests. The area is secluded and deer/elk viewing is abundant.

Trail (marked #645 on San Juan National Forest Recreation Map) follows Priest Gulch drainage through lush meadows and forests. Watch for a landslide 3 miles in. Trail crosses Shoas Peak Road (Forest Service Road #592) about 6 miles in. Trail then climbs steeply 1 mile to intersect with Calico Trail. Area is secluded.

Mule deer, elk, bear, and coyote make home here, as well as several types of birds (including magpies, gray jays, Clark's nutcracker, red-tailed hawks, various woodpeckers, and owls).

This trail is subjected to harsh weather conditions that can and have created mudslides that require care and occasional detouring in crossing.

Directions: From Dolores, Colorado, PRIEST GULCH SHUTTLE DROP-OFF: Go 25 miles north of Dolores on Colorado Hwy 145 (12 miles south of Rico). Look for Priest Gulch Trailhead sign on west side of the road across from Priest Gulch Store. Turn left and go .25 mile past private property. Stay on the road and do not trespass. Trailhead has parking and horse facilities.UPPER ACCESS: Go north on Colorado Hwy 145 19 miles to Taylor Mesa Road (Forest Service Road #545). Turn northeast and go 15 miles (past intersection with Forest Service Road #547) to junction with Forest Service Road #52. Turn right and go 1 mile to the trailhead on right. If you begin here, the hike is downhill.

Elevation: 8,100 feet

Ending Elevation: 11,320 feet

Elevation Gain: 3,220 feet

Usage: Light

Difficulty: Strenuous

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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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