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Backpacking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Conejos Peak Ranger District

Quick Facts

Conejos River Road - FR 250 Scenic Drive

Difficulty: Easy Graded dirt road
Length, One-way: 52 Miles (86.67 Kilometers)
Road Number: 250

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Forest Road 250 is a graded dirt road that follows the Conejos River from Highway 17 to Platoro, crosses Stunner Pass, and then descends to the San Luis Valley along the Alamosa River. This description of the sights along Forest Road 250 is limited to the stretch south of Platoro, within the Conejos Peak Ranger District and the South San Juan Wilderness.

Continuing up the Conejos River Valley from Highway 17, Forest Road 250 follows the river closely. The Conejos River is one of Colorado's finest fisheries and traveler's area likely to pass many fisherman testing their skill. Cattle grazing in the wide alluvial valley produce a tranquil pastoral scene.

Jacob's Lime Kiln, built by a family of settlers in 1899, can be seen on the east side of the road 4 miles north from Highway 17. Ruins of lime kilns can be found throughout the mountains bordering the San Luis Valley near limestone deposits. Lime was used for mortar, cement, whitewash, preparing hides for tanning, and as a disinfectant.

The lesson in glacial geology continues as one follows Forest Road 250. The Conejos River valley was cut by a major glacier through the thick layers of volcanic basalts, tuffs, and breccias that compose the high plateau of the eastern San Juan Mountains. Smaller tributary glaciers cut the valleys of Elk Creek, the South Fork of the Conejos River, and Saddle Creek all of which can be seen along Forest Road 250. Numerous ice sculpted features are visible: the wide, U-shaped valleys of the Conejos River and its tributaries; the displaced boulders scratched by these glaciers were left along the sides and at the foot of the glaciers as they receded up the valleys. The most notable example of moraine deposits can be seen at the confluence of the South Fork and the Conejos River. The South Fork valley is filled with uneven hummocky piles of rock that had been scoured by the glaciers from the mountains above.

Other examples of geologic forces can be seen in the valley: landslides, rock slides, mud flows, and stream erosion. The Pinnacles, which can be seen on the east side of the valley just above the South Fork of the Conejos, are a group of rock spires left by the erosion of the volcanic Potosi Formation.

Directions from Antonito: Take Colorado Highway 17 west 23.0 miles to the Alamosa-Conejos River Road (Forest Road 250) at Elk Creek.

Directions from Monte Vista: Take Colorado Highway 15 (Gunbarrel Road) south 12.0 miles. Take the Twelve Mile Road 12.0 miles west to the forest boundary where it becomes the Alamosa-Conejos River Road (Forest Road 250).

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Powered Boating Platoro Reservoir
ICON Camping Numerous campgrounds along the road
ICON Geology Moraine deposits and other glacial remains
ICON Cold Water Fishing Conejos River; Mix Lake; Platoro Reservoir; Terrace Reservoir; Kerr Lake
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Silver Lakes Toll Road 260; Kerr Lake Road 257
ICON Hiking & Walking Kerr Lake; Alamosa - Rock Creek Trail; Notch Trail
ICON Viewing Historic Sites Jasper, Stunner and Platoro documentary sites; ruins of lime kilns
ICON Lodging Platoro
ICON Mountain Biking The whole road
ICON Picnicking Along the road
ICON Scenic Driving Conejos River Road - FR 250 Scenic Drive

Related Activities
Alamosa Campground - Alamosa Campground is on the Alamosa River 4 1/2 miles above Terrace Reservoir Dam. There is public fishing at Terrace Reservoir and trail access to Alamosa-Rock Creek and Big Lake Trails.

Conejos Campground - Conejos Campground has 16 campsites with picnic tables and fireplaces. There is public access to the Conejos River. Both day and overnight use is permitted.

Conejos River - The Conejos River provides more than 30 stream miles of high quality wild trout fishing. The Conejos River has more public fishing access along its length than any other major river in Colorado.

Kerr Lake - The road is rough and steep in places and shouldn't be attempted without a 4 WD. 85% of the lake shore is rated is rated easy to fish.

Kerr Lake Road - The Kerr Lake Road heads north from the summit of Stunner Pass.

Lake Fork Campground - Lake Fork Campground is 7 miles south of Platoro on the Conejos River. There are 17 campsites with tables and grates.

Mix Lake - 90% of the shoreline is rated easy to fish. Due to its proximity to the Platoro and Mix Lake Campground, this lake is heavily fished. It is stocked regularly with rainbow trout.

Mix Lake Campground - Mix Lake Campground is located one mile west of Platoro in the Conejos River drainage. Many bodies of water provide fishing and there is access to the South San Juan Wilderness nearby.

Mix Lake Day Use Area - Heavily fished, stocked lake.

Notch Trail - The Notch Trail is a fairly strenuous hike as it climbs steeply out of the Conejos River valley.

Platoro Reservoir - Platoro Reservoir lies a short distance west of the tourist-mining village Platoro. The lake is 990 acres, the highest man-made lake in North America.

Platoro Documentary Site - Platoro, lying in the Conejos Valley, was prospected in the 1870's by Summitville miners. Platoro, a combination of the Spanish word for silver, "plata", and the word for gold, "oro", mined both ores.

Silver Lakes Toll Road 260 - Though this provides a short link between Alamosa and Platoro, due to road conditions, the time required to travel this route is the same as using Forest Road 250.

Stunner Campground - Stunner Campground is beside the Alamosa River 2 miles below the top of Stunner Pass. There is public access to fishing in the Alamosa River. Stunner is a ghost town of historic significance.

Terrace Reservoir - The reservoir is a storage facility on the Alamosa River which is drawn down each year. It is the 250th highest earthen dam, built circa 1906. It is lightly fished and has cutthroat and rainbow trout.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Conejos Peak Ranger Station, 15571 County Road T-5, P.O. Box 420 , La Jara, CO, 81140, Phone: 719-274-8971, TTY: 719-274-3139


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