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Mountain Biking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Divide Ranger District

Quick Facts

Carson Road 518

Difficulty: Intermediate
Length: 9.5

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The Carson Road begins just above Pearl Lakes (private property) and turns off Pearl Lakes Road #516 to the west-southwest and weaves its way through a short stretch of timber before breaking out into the open and crossing the North Clear Creek drainage. The road then begins to climb through spruce-fir timber for about a mile and then breaks into the open again until its junction with a short 2 1/2 mile loop segment (#518.1A) that turns off the main road the north about 3 miles from the beginning of the road. This loop segment travels north for a distance and then turns back to the southwest and rejoins the main Carson Road #518 approximately 1.3 miles further up the main road from this junction.

From this junction, the main Carson Road #518 continues to the west until its junction with Heart Lake Road #518.1B, a little over 4 miles from its beginning. At this junction, the Carson Road turns to the north and climbs through a small stand of trees and breaks into the open above timberline following a ridge to its high point (13,100 feet) just south of Coney Peak (13,339 feet). The road affords magnificent views of distant meadows, mountains, and other terrain features.

From this high point, the road turns to the west and drops the remaining mile to the Carson Saddle. At this same point, the north and northeast, the La Garita Stock Driveway Trail #787 (which also is the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail) travels on towards Coney. This trail to Coney is open to motorized vehicles including jeeps, but the trail beyond Coney is open to the east to only motorized vehicles 40 inches wide or less.

The Carson Road generally poses no problems for vehicles when the road bed is dry and firm. There are some steep and rough sections along the route, however. Portions of the road can become soft and slick during periods of rain or snow making travel more unsure and sometimes risky.

A 1.3 mile trip over the divide down Wager Gulch Road #568 (located on the Gunnison National Forest) toward Lake City to the old mining camp is certainly worth taking.

The 4-wheel drive road continues down Wager Gulch (total distance 5 miles) until its junction with Lake Fork Road #306 which serves as vehicle access to Lake City approximately 10.8 miles to the northeast.

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Mountain Biking Follow the road
ICON Viewing Scenery Magnificent views

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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