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

Quick Facts

Red Lake Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,300 Feet (3210.7 Meters)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,400 Feet (436.4 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,700 Feet (3647.1 Meters) Ends one mile west of Red Lake at junction with Trail # 725
Length, One-way: 7.0 Miles (11.67 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 733
Usage: Heavy
USGS Maps: Cumbres

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Elk bull
Copyright: Unknown
Elk bull
Beginning at an elevation of 10,300 feet, the Jarosa Trail follows La Manga Creek through subalpine forest and meadows, passing numerous beaver ponds popular for fishing. The trail is moderately steep as it climbs to the rim of Jarosa Mesa. One reaches timberline at approximately 11,400 feet, where the La Manga valley opens into the gently rolling tundra of Jarosa Mesa.

The mesa reaches an elevation bordering the alpine and subalpine ecosystems here. Tundra vegetation predominates, but gnarled spruce and fir are scattered across the mesa as they cling to survival against the harsh winds. In protected locations, such as the bowl in which Red Lake sits, subalpine forests are found.

From this point in the South San Juan Wilderness, spectacular views of the Continental Divide and of the Elk Creek and Los Pinos drainages are available at the mesa top. Red Lake, sitting in a bowl at the head of the Rito Colorado, is popular for fishing and camping. Attractive campsites are abundant, and water is available along the entire route. Drinking water should be treated before consumption.

Wildlife species that may be seen on Jarosa Mesa include elk, which summer above tree line, marmot, pika, ptarmigan and coyote.

The South San Juan Wilderness is at the top of Jarosa Mesa. Beyond this point motorized equipment is prohibited.

The La Manga Camping area where the trail begins, is an undeveloped campground. No facilities are provided and campers must pack out their own trash. Parking is available.

Directions from Highway 17: Follow Highway 17 to its junction with Forest Road #114, one-half mile south of the summit of La Manga Pass. Follow Road #114 approximately one mile to the La Manga camping area, where parking is on the south side of La Manga Creek.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: May through October .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: J Stone
Time of Day: 9:am
Length of Time: 2/12 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Was a great trip, little tough getting out of the canyon, rest of trip fairly easy. One of the best trips i have taken.If you are in this area I would highly recommend it.
Conditions: Was a little muddy just in certian places. Not bad
Water Availability: I brought about 2 quarts , was plenty. Plenty of water on way , need to treat it.
Recommended Clothing: That high up need to be prepared, for all weahter.
Suggested Accessories: Great fishing in lake. Lake is beautiful.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Tent Camping The La Manga Camping area; undeveloped
ICON RV Camping The La Manga Camping area ; undeveloped
ICON Cold Water Fishing Beaver ponds; Red Lake
ICON Hiking & Walking Red Lake Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Moderately steep to the rim of Jarosa Mesa
ICON Viewing Scenery Continental Divide; Elk Creek and Los Pinos drainages
ICON Viewing Wildlife Elk, marmot, pika, ptarmigan and coyote

Related Activities
La Manga Dispersed Camping Area - La Manga Creek Dispersed Camping Area is located 24 miles west of Antonito off Highway 17. No facilities are provided.

Los Pinos Trail - The valley of the Rio de los Pinos ("River of the Pines") is a picturesque glacial valley whose scenery has attracted tourists from afar. The Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad passes through the valley below Highway 17.

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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