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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > San Juan National Forest > Mancos-Dolores Ranger District

Quick Facts

Priest Cutoff Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,520 Feet (2655.9 Meters) Ending elevation is the same
Difficulty: Moderate
High Point: 9,040 Feet (2818.0 Meters) At junction with Calico Trail
Length: 0.8 Miles (1.33 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 201

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This trail provides an excellent opportunity for a loop day hike from Priest Gulch campground by connecting Priest Gulch Trail and the Calico Trail. The total distance of the loop is 4.0 miles. The trail intersects the Priest Gulch trail at a small meadow, which is a relatively easy walk from the campground. The trail heads east, crosses the creek, and continues up the hillside.

The trail rises moderately at first, then climbs steeply the remainder of the way to the Calico trail through a mixed stand of spruce-fir and aspen. The trail enters the northwest side of a large meadow. The tread disappears at this point, and one should head toward the signpost in the center of the meadow following the trail marker. The signpost marks the intersection with the Calico trail.

This trail is primarily a foot and horseback trail. Due to the trail's steepness, trail bikes are discouraged.

Directions from Priest Gulch Trail: Trail can be accessed either by traveling up Priest Gulch trail 645 1.5 mile from the Priest Gulch Campground located on Colorado Hwy 145.

Directions from Dolores: Priest Gulch Trail access:PRIEST GULCH SHUTTLE DROP-OFF: Go 25 miles north of Dolores on Colorado Hwy 145 (12 miles south of Rico). Look for Priest Gulch Trailhead sign on west side of the road across from Priest Gulch Store. Turn left and go .25 mile past private property. Stay on the road and do not trespass. Trailhead has parking and horse facilities.

Directions from Colorado Highway 145: UPPER ACCESS: Go north on Colorado Hwy 145 19 miles to Taylor Mesa Road (Forest Service Road #545). Turn northeast and go 15 miles (past intersection with Forest Service Road #547) to junction with Forest Service Road #52. Turn right and go 1 mile to the trailhead on right. If you begin here, the hike is downhill.

Directions from Calico Trail: The trail can also be accessed by traveling up the Calico Trail 1.75 miles from the campground. The trail is signed at the intersection.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Spring through Fall .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter conditions. Updated: 2004-04-22 15:27:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Priest Cutoff Trail
ICON Horseback Riding

Related Activities
Priest Gulch Trail - Trail follows Priest Gulch drainage through lush meadows and forests. The area is secluded and deer/elk viewing is abundant.

Priest Gulch Trailhead - Priest Gulch Trailhead, 11.0 miles southwest of Rico, leads to the alpine country to the west.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Dolores Public Lands Office, 29211 Hwy 184 , Dolores, CO, 81323, Phone: 970-882-7296, Fax: 970-882-6841, TTY: 970-882-6842


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