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Backpacking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Divide Ranger District

Quick Facts

South Fork Trail (Divide Ranger District)

Beginning Elevation: 10,000 Feet (3117.2 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,000 Feet (311.7 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,000 Feet (3428.9 Meters)
Length, One-way: 4.0 Miles (6.67 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 750
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Spar City

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This trail is entirely within the Weminuche Wilderness and the main attractions are the Spruce Lakes and the Continental Divide. South Fork Trail has two sets of long switchbacks along some steep ridges for a steady 2 mile climb. Once leaving the switchbacks, you encounter small, open meadows which are ideal for camping.

The upper 2 miles are difficult to negotiate following a rainstorm because of the slick soil, bogs and rocks. Due to the difficulty, it is challenging to the horseman and offers plenty of solitude. The fishing is fair along the creeks and in Spruce Lakes. Elk, pine marten and deer are common along this trail.

Directions from South Fork: Follow U.S. Highway 160 10.5 miles west of South Fork. Turn right on Big Meadows Road and follow it 1.5 miles to Big Meadow Reservoir. Take the Archuleta Trail (Forest Development Trail 839) until it intersects with the South Fork Trail (Forest Trail 750). Turn left at the intersection.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: May through Late September .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Small, open meadows above switchbacks
ICON Cold Water Fishing Along the creeks, Spruce Lakes.
ICON Hiking & Walking South Fork Trail (Divide Ranger District)
ICON Horseback Riding Challenging
ICON Viewing Wildlife Elk, pine marten and deer

Related Activities
Archuleta Trail - The Archuleta Trail gives access to the western portion of Chama Basin, one of the most scenic and wild places on the Conejos Peak Ranger District. The trail follows Archuleta Creek, climbing steadily but gradually from the Chama River valley.

Continental Divide - Elwood Pass to Sawtooth Mount - Most of this trail is at or above timberline. The trail is in good condition and not terribly steep. Portions of this trail were relocated and reconstructed in 1989.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Divide Ranger Station, 13308 West US Highway 160, P.O. Box 40 , Del Norte, CO, 81132, Phone: 719-657-3321, TTY: 719-657-6038


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