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

Quick Facts

Platoro Documentary Site

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Platoro, lying in the Conejos Valley, was prospected in the 1870's by Summitville miners. It had producing mines in the 1880's, and more or less through the turn of the century, and a short boom in 1913 when a strike was made at nearby Gilmore.

Platoro, a combination of the Spanish word for silver, "plata", and the word for gold, "oro", mined both ores. Among its mines were the Forest King, Forest Queen, Valley King, Valley Queen, the Parole, and the largest and still producing mine in the 1960's, the Mammoth.

Although without a road in the old days, Platoro heroically removed its ore, if not by one way, then by another. Burro trains once packed ore out over Stunner Pass to the Alamosa, then up over Blowout Pass and down to Del Norte. At one time, mail was brought in the summer by "pony" and in the winter by dogsled from Monte Vista. Platoro also used the Silver Lakes Toll Road over Cornwall Mountain.

Platoro, once deserted, is now a busy summer village, mining town, cattleman's camp and recreation center offering accommodations to the visitor.

Directions from Monte Vista: Take Colorado Highway 17 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 25. Follow Forest Road 250 17.0 miles up the Alamosa River and over Stunner Pass to Mix Lake. Platoro is just east of Mix Lake on Forest Road 250.

Directions from Antonito: Take Colorado Highway 17 west 23.0 miles to the Alamosa-Conejos River Road #250 at Elk Creek. Follow #250 23 miles up the Conejos River to Mix Lake. Platoro is just east of Mix Lake on Forest Road 250.

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: The toughest part of the trip into Platoro is the road from Antonita. Give your self a good hour id you are pulling a camper. The fishing is great in the river and at the resivoir. The food at SkyLine Lodge is good. The stars at night are so close you could reach up and touch them. My husbands family has been coming up here since the 60's. If you take the road going over Stunner you can go back to the old mining towns and up on some beautiful mountain roads. Ask about Gray Back mountain. You can use your cell phone from on top!!!!!

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Viewing Historic Sites Silver and gold was mined here.
ICON Viewing Interpretive Signs Platoro Documentary Site

Related Activities
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.

Lake Fork Creek Trail - The trail is a gentle hike along the Lake Fork Creek to Big Lake. The trail then climbs steeply to a saddle between Forest King Mountain and Mammoth Mountain and drops steeply into the community of Platoro.

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.

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.

Sawmill Gulch Trail (Conejos Peak Ranger District) - A pleasant day hike which offers spectacular views along the way. An excellent area for picnics and mountain scenery exists at the trail's end.

Summitville Documentary Site - Eleven thousand feet above sea level on headwaters of Wightman Fork at base of South Mountain (12,555 altitude) is the historical mining site of Summitville.

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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