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

Quick Facts

Black Canyon Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,000 Feet (3117.2 Meters)
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation Gain: 2,500 Feet (779.3 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 10,700 Feet (3335.4 Meters) Ends at the top of Hayden Pass
Handicapped Accessible: Requires Four-Wheel-Drive
High Point: 11,600 Feet (3616.0 Meters) Nipple Mountain
Length, One-way: 10.0 Miles (16.67 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 754.10
Usage: Moderate
USGS Maps: Valley View Hot Springs, Howard

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

The trail ascends Black Canyon to reach alpine terrain then stays in the high country all the way to Hayden pass. Access to either end is possible only with a 4 WD or trail bike.

The trail receives regular maintenance.

Hunters are the main trail users. The trail does not access any lakes or fishable streams. Scenery is excellent from Nipple Mountain north. Lightning strikes in open rocky areas may present a special hazard.

Directions from Villa Grove, Colorado: Take the Hayden Pass Road east to Forest Development Road # 790 to the top of Hayden Pass. Passable with 4WD only.

Directions: Via Steel Canyon Trail #755, however, a public right-of-way does not exist from the bottom.

Directions from Alamosa, Colorado: Take the Valley View Road (Road GG) east from the junction of Highways 17 and 285, go 6.0 miles to the dirt road that goes north toward Orient Mine. Turn east onto the first road past the mine. Passable with 4WD only. May cross a corner of private land.

Directions from Alamosa, Colorado: Take Valley View Road (Road GG) east from the junction of Highways 17 and 285, go 3.25 miles to dirt road that goes north. Continue past one ranch home to travel north 1.5 miles. Go through gate in fence and follow dirt 2-track road to NE for approximately 2.25 miles passing through one fence (leave gate as you found it). Bypass private land that is in Section 15 by following two-track road around fence line to the east. Hook into 4WD road and continue southeast across Lime Canyon for a total distance of 2.25 miles. Follow Forest Development Road # 754 east into Black Canyon.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: May through September .

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Black Canyon Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Regularly maintained
ICON Big Game Hunting Hunters are the main trail users
ICON Viewing Scenery Impressive northern view from Nipple Mountain

Related Activities
North Crestone Creek Campground - North Crestone Campground is in the narrow valley of North Crestone Creek at the base of Sangre de Cristo Range.

North Crestone Creek Trail - The trail offers excellent possibilities for extended backpacking or just a good day hike from the campground. Attractions are fishing the creek and lake, excellent scenery, waterfalls and opportunity to see bighorn sheep and occasionally bear.

North Crestone Loop Trail - The trail exists as a connector between Comanche Lake and the North Crestone drainage. The trail offers spectacular viewing near Phantom Terrace.

North Fork Crestone Trail - The trail is in good condition and offers numerous possibilities for circuit routes with other trails lasting from 2 days to a week. This route is a photographer's dream.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Saguache Ranger Station, 46525 Colorado Highway 114, P.O. Box 67 , Saguache, CO, 81149, Phone: 719-655-2553, TTY: 719-655-2547


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