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

Quick Facts

Ruybalid Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,800 Feet (2743.1 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 2,400 Feet (748.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,200 Feet (3491.3 Meters) Ends at Ruybalid Lake
Length, One-way: 4.0 Miles (6.67 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 855
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Spectacle Lake

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

As the Ruybalid Trail climbs steeply from the Conejos River it passes through forests of Douglas fir, white fir, and intermingles aspen. Spectacular views of the Conejos Canyon can be seen from many vantage points along the trail.

The gentle grade of trail after the rim of the Conejos Canyon is reached (3 miles) is a welcome relief. Following the North Fork of Rough Creek, an intermittent stream, the trail passes through subalpine forests of spruce, fir and aspen. Grassy meadows break the dark continuity of the forest. Approximately three miles from the trailhead, the Rough Creek Trail takes off northwesterly to No Name Lake. The trail junction is within a wide meadow surrounding a spring feeding the North Fork of Rough Creek. This is the only perennial water source on the trail between the Conejos River and the Ruybalid Lake.

From the spring, the Ruybalid Trail continues northeasterly, crossing a gentle ridge between two unnamed 11,000 foot peaks. Ruybalid Lake sits below one of these peaks, on the brink of the Conejos Canyon. Standing only a few yards from the lake, you can look far below to the Conejos River. Nestled within a steep rock bowl and surrounded by subalpine forest, Ruybalid Lake provides a nice setting for camping. The lake does not support fish because it freezes solid in the winter.

The trail is well used by trail bikers and horsepackers; hikers should step off the trail and allow horses to pass. There are few stream crossings at which to get drinking water. Any water found along the trail, however, should be treated before consumption.

The South San Juan Wilderness is entered a short distance from the start of the trail. Beyond this point motorized equipment is prohibited. Parking is available at the trailhead.

Directions from Antonito, Colorado: Drive north on Forest Road #250 approximately 8.0 miles from its junction with Highway 17, 23.0 miles west of Antonito.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: April through October .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: There are trout in Ruybalid Lake.

Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Views are worth the climb.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Ruybalid Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Popular trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Views of the Conejos Canyon

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.

No Name Lake Trail - The No Name Trail passes through wide subalpine meadows before reaching No Name Lake. The lake, set in a wide subalpine valley, supports trout and is a picturesque location for fishing, camping, and enjoying other backcountry activities.

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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