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

Quick Facts

Highland Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,500 Feet (3273.1 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,700 Feet (529.9 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,200 Feet (3803.0 Meters)
Length, One-way: 9.5 Miles (15.83 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 832
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: South Fork West

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Close-up of a sunflower
Copyright: Unknown
Close-up of a sunflower
In the past, this trail started at Elk Park and followed the Highland toward Sawtooth Mountain. Since there is no public right-of-way through private property and Forest Road has followed portions of this trail, the trail now begins at the end of Forest Road 430. Some people prefer to use the Hunters Lake Trail (Forest Trail 800) which goes straight toward the Stairsteps. The Stairsteps are another scenic attraction of the Weminuche Wilderness.

Directions from South Fork: Drive 10.5 miles west on U.S. Highway 160 from South Fork. Turn north at Big Meadows Road (Forest Road 430). Continue on this road until it dead-ends. The trail begins west of the last turnaround.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through September .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Highland Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Some prefer to access the Stairsteps via Hunters Lake Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Stairsteps and other views

Related Activities
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.

Continental Divide - Sawtooth Mountain to Knife Ed - This trail segment begins with a 1/4 mile traverse of the cliffs that form the fable Knife Edge. From here to Piedra Pass, the trail goes up and down like a roller coaster in reasonably short, steep pitches.

Decker Trail - This trail is steep and has not been maintained for some years and is therefore not recommended for beginners.

Hope Creek Trail - This trail goes from timbered land along the creek to high alpine areas at the base of Sawtooth Mountain. The last 1/2 mile is above timberline and offers magnificent scenery.

Kitty Creek Trail - The trail is steep and susceptible to wind fall trees. In general, the trail is very scenic and maintains a steady incline along the creek.

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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