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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Conejos Peak Ranger District

Quick Facts

Notch Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,700 Feet (2712.0 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 950 Feet (296.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,650 Feet (3008.1 Meters) Ends at Elk Creek and junction with Elk Creek Trail # 731
Length, One-way: 3.0 Miles (5.0 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 729
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Spectacle Lake

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The first mile of the Notch Trail parallels the Conejos River and passes through the lush grasses and willows which follow the river course. As the trail climbs from the Conejos Canyon, it passes through forests of white fir, Engelmann spruce, and aspen. A spectacular view of the Conejos River Canyon can be seen from the Notch Trail.

The Notch Trail is a fairly strenuous hike as it climbs steeply out of the Conejos River valley. The steep terrain makes trail maintenance difficult and the trail may be rugged in places. Water is not available along the route, until Elk Creek is reached. Drinking water should be treated before consumption.

The Notch Trail is well used as access to the Valle Victoria Trail #727, which continues along the ridge above the Conejos River to the northwest. The Notch Trail climbs steeply up this ridge from the Conejos River, intersects with the Valle Victoria Trail, and then descends into the Elk Creek Canyon where it meets Trail #731.

Directions from Highway 17: Drive northwest on the Platoro Road (Forest Road 250) approximately 3 miles from its junction with Highway 17 and 1.5 miles past the Rainbow Trout Lodge. The Notch Trail begins at the cow camp on the west side of the road.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: May through October .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Notch Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Trail climbs steeply out of the Conejos River Valley

Related Activities
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.

Conejos River Road - FR 250 Scenic Drive - 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.

Elk Creek Trail - The Elk Creek Trail is popular with hikers, fishermen, and horseback riders and it provides an ideal day hike for those camping at Elk Creek or Old La Manga campgrounds.

Spectacle Lake Campground - Spectacle Lake Campground has 24 sites with picnic tables and fireplaces. There is access to the Conejos River and Spectacle Lake.

Valle Victoria Trail - The Valle Victoria Trail provides access to the high country between Elk Creek and the South Fork of the Conejos River. This area is characterized by numerous lakes and interspersed subalpine meadows and forests.

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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