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

Quick Facts

Rio Grande Reservoir Road 520 Scenic Drive

Beginning Elevation: 9,026 Feet (2813.6 Meters)
Difficulty: Easy
Ending Elevation: 9,600 Feet (2992.5 Meters)
Length, Round Trip: 18 Miles (30.0 Kilometers)
Road Number: 520
Time, Round Trip: 1.5 Hours
Usage: Very Heavy more than 1500/season
USGS Maps: Hermit Lakes, Little Squaw Creek, Weminuche Pass, Finger Mesa

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Rio Grande Reservoir
Copyright: Unknown
Rio Grande Reservoir
This is an 18-mile gravel road which runs along the Rio Grande River for much of its length. The road begins off Colorado Highway 149 approximately 20.1 miles southwest of Creede, and travels through the scenic Upper Rio Grande River Drainage to Lost Trail Campground. (The road continues as the four-wheel drive Stony Pass Road #520 west of Lost Trail Campground.)

The Rio Grande Reservoir Road #520 is heavily traveled throughout the summer recreation season (mid-June through August). The road is narrow and rough in spots. This, coupled with dust from the heavy traffic (motor homes, travel and horse trailers, etc.), makes the road hazardous. People not accustomed to driving narrow mountain roads will often be on your half of the road, so drive slowly and cautiously. Always drive as far to the right of the road as possible, especially around curves.

Beautiful mountain scenery and numerous recreation facilities are found along the Rio Grande Reservoir Road #520. Road Canyon Reservoir and Rio Grande Reservoir glisten like jewels under the brilliant summer sun and mirror the reflections of the surrounding mountains and deep blue skies. These reservoirs, along with the Rio Grande River, and numerous creeks in the area are a trout fisherman's paradise, and offer some of the best fishing in the country. Several resorts and guest ranches are also located along the road. Numerous trails served the general area.

Rio Grande Reservoir Road #520 is usually kept open to the Rio Grande Reservoir dam and caretakers home all year, but can be hazardous driving or impassable to passenger cars during the winter. The trip from the junction of Colorado Highway 149 to Lost Trail Campground and back takes approximately one and one-half hours.

Directions from Creede: 20.1 miles southwest on Colorado Highway 149 to the junction of Rio Grande Reservoir Road #520. Bear left (west) at this intersection.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: May through October (NOTE: Usually free of snow during this time of year.) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Boat Launching Road Canyon and Rio Grande Reservoirs
ICON Camping Numerous areas
ICON Cold Water Fishing Rio Grande Reservoir , Rio Grande River
ICON Hiking & Walking Trailheads access the Weminuche Wilderness.
ICON Resort & Commercial Services Little Squaw Resort, Thirty Mile Resort
ICON Picnicking Several locations
ICON Scenic Driving Rio Grande Reservoir Road 520 Scenic Drive
ICON Viewing Scenery Beautiful mountain scenery

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.

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.

Reservoir (rio Grande) Picnic Ground - This site overlooks Rio Grande Reservoir and has 4 picnic units, each with tables and fireplaces.

Rio Grande Dispersed Camping Area - Site is located 9.5 miles southwest of Creede just off Colorado Highway 149. Screening - on an open bench directly on Rio Grande River - trees along river.

Rio Grande Reservoir - This is a scenic high mountain reservoir with access to wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities. There are five campgrounds, picnic areas, many trails leading from the area and a jeep road with a historical site.

Rio Grande River - The Rio Grande is a popular rafting area. Because of shallow water and many boulders, the river is better suited for rafting than canoeing and kayaking

River Hill Campground - This campground has good screening with trees on many sites and remains full from mid-June through August. It is adjacent to Rio Grande River and Little Squaw Resort.

Road Canyon Campground - This campground usually has vacancy when other upriver campgrounds are full. The area is open, with no screening or trees, and it is not screened from Rio Grande Reservoir Road.

Road Canyon Picnic Ground - 24.5 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road #520. Picnic and fisherman parking.

Road Canyon Reservoir - This is a scenic high mountain reservoir that has good fishing and is suitable for all but large boats and motors.

Silver Thread National Scenic Byway - This scenic highway passes through Creede and the Upper Rio Grande Valley and contains some of the most magnificent scenery and colorful history in the Sate of Colorado.

Thirty Mile Creek Trailhead - Campground and trailhead are located 31.1 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road #520. Adjacent to Rio Grande River and Thirty Mile Resort.

Thirtymile Campground - Campground and trailhead are located 31.1 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road #520. Adjacent to Rio Grande River and Thirty Mile Resort.

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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