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Skiing: Colorado > Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests > Taylor River Ranger District

Quick Facts

Soap Basin Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,480 Feet (2643.4 Meters) Soap Creek Trailhead
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,720 Feet (847.9 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,380 Feet (2923.9 Meters) Little Robinson Cow Camp
High Point: 11,200 Feet (3491.3 Meters)
Length: 11.5 Miles (19.17 Kilometers) from Soap Creek Trailhead to Little Richardson Cow Camp
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 133, 134
Recommended Season: Late Summer
Trail Number: 442
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Big Soap Creek, West Elk Peak

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Soap Basin Trail, 442, leads north from Soap Creek Road, 721, into the West Elk Wilderness. It begins at the Soap Creek Trailhead, which lies at approximately 8,480 feet. The trail parallels Soap Creek for one and a half miles before it forks. East Soap Creek Trail, 535, lies to the right at this fork, following East Soap Creek. Soap Creek Trail, 443, and Soap Basin Trail follow the left fork climbing steeply for one mile before they split. At this second fork Soap Basin Trail leads to the right leaving all water sources. This fork lies at approximately 9,160 feet.

Soap Basin Trail climbs steadily for almost three miles reaching a high point of 11,200 feet. The last mile before Soap Basin Trail meets Sun Park Trail remains relatively level at approximately 11,000 feet. At the intersection of these two paths, Soap Basin Trail leads northward (to the left) and descends steadily into Soap Basin. One and a quarter miles from the convergence of the two trails, Soap Basin crosses a small stream and begins to lead westward.

The trail parallels the path of the Soap Creek headwaters for two miles to its intersection with Soap Creek Trail, 443. Soap Basin Trail leads north from this intersection after crossing Soap Creek. The tread climbs to 10,000 feet within a mile and a half then it begins to descend. After a mile of gently descending the trail reaches its northern terminus at the Little Robinson Cow Camp. Trails 850 and 856, Little Robinson Trail and Peter Creek Trail, respectively, lead north and west from the cow camp.

Directions from Gunnison: Travel west from Gunnison on Highway 50. Continue past Blue Mesa Reservoir toward Sapinero. Approximately 2.25 miles west of Sapinero turn north on to Highway 92. Travel about 1.5 miles on 92 and make a right turn on to Forest Road 721. Follow this along the western lake shore and passed Ponderosa and Soap Creek Campgrounds. Travel 11.5 miles north on Soap Creek Road to the trailhead.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Soap Basin Trail
ICON Cold Water Fishing Soap Creek
ICON Hiking & Walking Soap Basin Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Soap Basin Trail
ICON Animal Identification Soap Basin Trail
ICON Bird Identification Soap Basin Trail
ICON Mushroom Identification Soap Basin Trail
ICON Plant Identification Soap Basin Trail
ICON Wildflower Identification Soap Basin Trail
ICON Backcountry Skiing West Elk Wilderness
ICON Viewing Scenery Soap Basin Trail
ICON Viewing Wildlife Soap Basin Trail

Related Activities
Commissary Campground - Anglers, four-wheel drive enthusiasts, hikers, equestrians and backpackers will enjoy the challenging terrain that surrounds Commissary Campground.

Soap Creek - An inlet of the Reservoir allows both Reservoir and creek fishing for rainbow, brook, cutthroat and brown trout. The fishing is rated as good.

Soap Creek Trail - Soap Creek Trail leads north from Soap Creek Trailhead nine miles to a junction with Soap Basin Trail. Most of the tread parallels Soap Creek. It is contained within the West Elk Wilderness.

Soap Creek Campground - Soap Creek Campground caters to equestrians using the West Elk Wilderness Area.

Soap Creek Road # 721 - Soap Creek Road leads north from Highway 92 and Curecanti National Recreation Area. It provides access to Soap Creek and the West Elk Wilderness.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Gunnison National Forest, 216 North Colorado , Gunnison, CO, 81230, Phone: 970-641-0471


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