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

Quick Facts

North Long Ridge Primitive Road

Beginning Elevation: 9,000 Feet (2805.5 Meters)
Difficulty: Easy
Ending Elevation: 9,550 Feet (2976.9 Meters)
Length: 3.6
Time, Round Trip: 1/2 to 3/4 Hours
Usage: Moderate 30-300 users per season
USGS Maps: Bristol Head and Hermit Lakes
Vehicle Accessibility: Multiple use

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This is a short, 3.8 mile easy jeep road, which primarily provides fishing access to Clear Creek via two short spur roads located along it. The road begins approximately 19.2 miles southwest of Creede, on Colorado Highway 149, at a point about midway between the lower and upper lakes at Wright's Ranch. Turn right (north) off the highway onto the dirt road which runs up the hill, and which is marked by a white arrow on a wooden post.

The North Long Ridge Primitive Road climbs approximately 680 feet for the first 1.7 miles through open grassland. There is a fork in the road approximately 0.8 mile from the highway. (This right fork, running northeast, is a short spur road. It follows the tree line on the right for approximately 0.5 mile, where it dead-ends on a hill overlooking Clear Creek. The descent is a short but fairly steep walk down to the creek.)

At this fork, the North Long Ridge Primitive Road turns to the left (northwest) and continues for another 0.9 mile to the edge of a spruce/fir stand that is interspersed with small open parks. The road drops a little and then levels out on the remainder of the trip. Approximately 0.3 mile after entering the trees another short spur road turns off to the right. (This mile-long spur drops 320 feet through the trees and down through an open park, dead-ending at a point overlooking Clear Creek. Again, it is a short but steep walk to the creek.)

The North Long Ridge Primitive Road continues another 0.9 mile through the trees where it then breaks back out into open grassland for the last 0.7 mile to the North Clear Creek Road #510. At this point, you are 0.1 mile north of Colorado Highway 149 (to your left), and 0.2 mile south of South Clear Creek Campground (to your right).

Except for providing fishing access to Clear Creek, or a short easy jeep trip, the route offers no other extraordinary or distinctive attractions.

A variety of roads and trails exist for both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in these areas. An 11.5 mile segment of the Lake City to Creede Cross-Country Ski/Snowmobile trail travels through this area. Other unmarked roads and trails that offer the winter visitor an excellent cross-country skiing experience are described below.

This route is only useable in heavy snowfall years. The route is an easy, open route that families can have a nice experience on. A few short, steep pitches give the skier a thrilling downhill challenge or a tongue-dragging time, depending on which way you are going - up or down.

Inspiring views of Bristol Head are always in the background, while the foreground give peaceful views of the open ranch land of the Upper Rio Grande River Valley.

You can make the route as short or as long as your legs or lungs can last!

Directions from Creede, Colorado: 19.2 miles southwest of Creede, follow on Colorado Highway 149 to a point approximately midway between the lower and upper lakes at Wright's Ranch. Beginning of the road is on the right (north) side of the Highway and is marked by a white arrow on a post.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Late May-Early June through October (NOTE: The road is usually accessible to vehicle travel by late May or early June.) .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Camping Clear Creek Campground
ICON Cross-country Skiing Easy, open route
ICON Cold Water Fishing Clear Creek
ICON Four-Wheel Driving North Long Ridge Primitive Road
ICON ATV Riding 3.8 miles, easy jeep road
ICON Motorcycle Riding Dirt Bikes

Related Activities
North Clear Creek - Four fishing access points to North Clear Creek are provided by means of primitive dirt roads, marked with white arrows, that lead off Forest Road #513 (Continental Reservoir/Rito Honda Reservoir Road).

North Clear Creek Campground - Some sites are in open, while some sites are screened with small aspen/spruce/fir. Good general area in the fall to observe and take pictures of fall aspen colors.

North Clear Creek Falls - This site is 27 miles west of Creede in a fenced area with open grass vegetation. There is a very picturesque view of North Clear Creek Falls.

North Clear Creek Road 510 Scenic Drive - This scenic mountain drive is on a gravel road which provides access to South Clear Creek Campground, North Clear Creek Campground and North Clear Creek Falls Overlook.

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.

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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