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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Divide Ranger District

Quick Facts

La Garita - Phoenix Park-Halfmoon Pass Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,300 Feet (3210.7 Meters)
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,400 Feet (748.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,700 Feet (3958.9 Meters)
Length, One-way: 6.8 Miles (11.33 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 787
Usage: Very Light
USGS Maps: San Luis Peak, Halfmoon Pass

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Copyright: Unknown
Excellent scenery, a bounty of wildflowers and a good opportunity to see elk exist along this trail. Large open alpine meadows with scattered patches of old growth spruce/fir timber are a common part of the landscape. Good camping places are generally not hard to find. Fishing opportunities are poor.

The trail is along an old stock driveway. A defined tread is not apparent in many places but you can find the driveway area by following the driveway signs. Intense lightning storms occur in this area during the summer rainy season. The beginning of this trail segment is not well-defined or signed. After crossing Whited Creek on the Phoenix Park 4-wheel-drive road, continue to follow the road for approximately 200 yards, then head easterly toward East Willow Creek.

Before crossing East Willow Creek, hikers should be able to see a defined trail climbing across a small open slope on the east side of the creek. After a short, 300 yard climb across the slope, the trail will quickly drop down into a tributary of East Willow Creek. The trail continues up the tributary for about 0.5 mile before entering a large stand of old-growth spruce/fir. The trail will climb for about 2.0 miles through the timber before beginning to top out in the alpine meadow benches at the base of the La Garita Mountains.

Upon reaching the large open meadows at the base of the La Garita's, the trail does not follow any defined tread for the next several miles across upper Wason Park. To follow the trail corridor, keep your eyes out for the rock cairns and stock driveway signs that define the general route to Halfmoon Pass. Do not be surprised if you get off the driveway route once in a while. By keeping your sights on Halfmoon Pass, you will find you cannot get lost.

This trail can be an excellent cross country experience. In the Upper Wason Park Area, the trail crosses rolling hills with alpine meadows fringed by patches of old-growth spruce/fir. The last 0.5 mile of this trail is a fairly steep climb above timberline to Halfmoon Pass.

Directions from Creede, Colorado: From Mineral County Courthouse, proceed up Willow Creek about 0.75 mile to the junction of East Willow Creek Road and West Willow Creek Road. Turn right on East Willow Creek Road (Forest Development Road # 502) and the Phoenix Park 4-wheel-drive road, the first sharp switch back after crossing East Willow Creek. Turn right (north), on the Phoenix Park 4-wheel-drive road and follow this road for approximately 1.0 mile to Whited Creek. The La Garita Trail # 787 goes up the canyon to the west from the confluence of East Willow Creek and Whited Creek.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: June through Mid-September .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Along the route
ICON Hiking & Walking La Garita - Phoenix Park-Halfmoon Pass Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Along an old stock driveway
ICON Viewing Scenery A bounty of wildflowers
ICON Viewing Wildlife Elk

Related Activities
Marshall Park Campground - This site is located near Colorado Hwy. 149 and is the closest forest campground to Creede. There is very little screening or trees, so heavy vehicle traffic along Colorado Hwy. 149 is visible.

Palisade Campground - Some sites are open, while other sites are screened with cottonwoods/aspen/spruce/fir. Campground is located adjacent to Colorado Highway 149 for easy access to travelers passing through.

Palisade Trail - This trail goes north towards Blue Park and Long Park and is mostly used by hikers and hunters.

West Ute Creek Trail - The trail is the main access route to West Ute Lake and is an easy to hike along West Ute Creek. The trail travels up a steady, steep climb through the old-growth spruce fir below West Ute Lake.

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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