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

Quick Facts

Pole Creek-Cataract Lake (Continental Divide/La GaritaTrail)

Beginning Elevation: 11,300 Feet (3522.4 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 1,050 Feet (327.3 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,350 Feet (3849.8 Meters)
Length, One-way: 3.4 Miles (5.67 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 820
Usage: Very Light
USGS Maps: Pole Mountain
Vehicle Accessibility: Multiple use

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The trail begins right after the trail crosses Pole Creek for the first time. Steep pitches occur, but the climb is fairly gradual. The junction with the West Lost Trail Creek Trail is not signed and is poorly defined.

This trail serves as a link between the Lost Trail Creek and Pole Creek drainages. The trail also provides access to the Continental Divide and Cataract Lake. The entire trail segment is above timberline. Excellent scenery is available and domestic sheep travel along this trail in early July and early September.

Directions from Creede, Colorado: Travel south on Colorado Highway 149 for 20.1 miles to Forest Development Road # 520 (Rio Grande Reservoir/Upper Rio Grande Road). Go 23.5 miles on Forest Road 520 to the Pole Creek Trailhead. Trail begins approximately 3.7 miles from the trailhead on Pole Creek Trail # 916.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Late June-Early July through September .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Pole Creek-Cataract Lake (Continental Divide/La GaritaTrail)
ICON Horseback Riding Trail is above timberline
ICON Mountain Biking Steep pitches, but fairly gradual
ICON ATV Riding Trail is above timberline
ICON Motorcycle Riding Trail is above timberline
ICON Viewing Scenery Excellent scenery

Related Activities
Continental Divide - Spring Creek Pass to Carson S - There are scattered spruce-fir trees and willow brush until one gains the top of Jarosa Mesa, then the route traverses open alpine parks before descending just below the crest of the Continental Divide to Carson.

Lost Trail Campground - The campground is located 38.2 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road 520. There are numerous attractions to tempt the camper.

West Pole Creek Trail - Excellent views and an excellent assortment of wildflowers can be found in the West Pole Drainage. Few people hike in the West Pole Area. Hiking this trail is basically a cross-country type experience.

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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