San Juan National Forest


About 500 miles of trails provide basic access to and through the area yet large primeval areas remain untapped by trails. The Continental Divide Trail runs from Wolf Creek Pass to the Silverton area. All mechanized means of transportation, including mountain bikes, are excluded from wilderness areas.

Many of the trails through the area have been used since the early days. The Window near Rio Grande Pyramid is a famous landmark mentioned often in diaries and reports of early travelers and explorers. The Pine River Trail route over Weminuche Pass was a main route over the Continental Divide used by the Weminuche Indians (Utes).

Any number of trips and variations are possible within the Weminuche Wilderness. Many take the narrow gauge train from Durango to Needleton, and then hike about five miles up Needle Creek to Chicago Basin, a truly spectacular area of rugged peaks including those over 14,000 feet. Another popular trip is to follow the Los Pinos River Trail from Vallecito Reservoir to scenic Emerald Lake.

Pack trips by horseback are available at many resorts and dude ranches scattered throughout the Forest. Arrangements for horseback trips or packing in your supplies and equipment can be made through local outfitters, or by inquiry through the Durango, Cortez, Valleczto, or Pagosa springs Chambers of Commerce.

For detailed descriptions of hiking trails in the San Juan NF, choose a region:

Trails in the Durango Area
Trails in the Pagosa Springs Area
Trails in the Animas Ranger District

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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