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

Quick Facts

Nelson Mountain Primitive Road

Beginning Elevation: 10,460 Feet (3260.6 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Ending Elevation: 11,520 Feet (3591.0 Meters)
Length: 3.8 Miles (6.33 Kilometers)
Time, Round Trip: 1 Hours
Usage: Moderate 30-300 users per season
USGS Maps: San Luis Peak
Vehicle Accessibility: Multiple use




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

This is a dead-end jeep road approximately 3.8 miles long. The road begins up West Willow Creek Road # 503 approximately 4.5 miles north of Creede. The Nelson Mountain Primitive Road turns right (north) off West Willow Creek Road # 503, 0.4 mile below the West Willow Creek Road # 503 and Bachelor Mountain Road # 504 junction at the beaver ponds.

After leaving West Willow Creek Road # 503, the Nelson Mountain Primitive Road climbs a short steep pitch and turns right, then left over a short, flat open stretch to a road junction marked by a large brown sign. The sign reads, "Beyond This Point, Motorized Travel Is Prohibited Except On Routes Marked With This Symbol." Take the marked road (white arrow) to the right of this sign and proceed up the mountain.

The road then climbs steeply (1,240 feet) for approximately 1.8 miles, crossing Deerhorn Creek and passing by some old mine structures and a cabin (the Beaver Claim). The upper part of this section of road passes just west of and slightly below Nelson Mountain (12,038 feet). This section is steep, rocky, and rough.

From here, the road continues for approximately another 1.8 miles north/northwest towards Whited Creek and then dead-ends. This section of road is relatively level, dropping only 300 feet to the end. This last half of the road traverses a beautiful subalpine park at timberline.

Other than being a scenic, high mountain jeep road, the route offers no other extraordinary or distinctive attractions. The round trip takes approximately one hour.

Directions from Creede, Colorado: Go to the Mineral County Courthouse located at the north end of town on Creede Avenue. Travel north approximately 4.6 miles on the West Willow Creek Road #503. Turn right (north) off West Willow Creek Road #503, approximately 0.4 mile below the road junction with the Bachelor Mountain Road #502.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Mid-Late June through October .



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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Four-Wheel Driving Nelson Mountain Primitive Road
Yes
ICON Mountain Biking 1.8 miles of the road are steep, rocky, and rough
Yes
ICON ATV Riding Dead-end road
Yes
ICON Motorcycle Riding Dead-end road
Yes



Related Activities
Bachelor Historic Loop Tour Interpretive Site - This tour is a self-guided interpretive vehicle loop 16 1/2 miles long that will take you through a portion of the historic Creede mining district.

Continental Divide - San Luis Pass to Spring Creek - This is another scenic stretch of the Continental Divide and Colorado Trails. It is possible to see elk and other wildlife.

East Willow Creek Road - This 5.1 mile road begins up West Willow Creek Road and much of the land along the road is private property, but you will see the old Creede townsite.

Willow Creek Four-Wheel Drive Road - In the early morning or late afternoon one is likely to see deer or elk. There is good fishing in Willow Creek along the first 4 miles of road, and ample camping spots along the entire route.



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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