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

Quick Facts

Section House Trail

Beginning Elevation: 8,068 Feet (2515.0 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,972 Feet (614.7 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 10,040 Feet (3129.7 Meters)
Length: 2.5 Miles (4.17 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 200
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Wallace Ranch The topographic map can be used, but the trail is not identified on the map.

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This is one of the shorter accesses off Hwy. 145, to the Calico Trail. The 2,000 foot climb is of a fairly steady nature and for the most part takes the hiker and horseback rider through a lushly vegetated spruce-fir environment. The upper half of the trail takes you through aspen groves that can be quite colorful during the Fall.

Directions from Dolores, Colorado: Take Colorado State Hwy 145 north about 25.0 miles. Go 1.5 miles past Priest Gulch Campground on the north (left) side and you will see the trailhead for Section House Trail. The first mile or so follows the creek before veering eastward.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Summer through Fall .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter conditions. Updated: 2004-04-23 14:06:00.0

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Filed By: Debbie Caldwell (Dolores, CO)
Time of Day: early afternoon
Length of Time: 1 hr. 45 min. to hike one way down the trail
Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Grand views of Shark's Tooth, Centinniel Peak and Hesperus Peak. Lush aspen forests. We hiked from the top down. At the big meadow we lost the trail. About 150 cows were there and the herder headed us in the right direction. Take the trail to the right as you come down the trail and you will see another sign high in the trees "Section House Trail" Would highly recommend hiking down rather than up the trail. We started at Priest Gulch and took the cut off trail up to the Calico Trail. From there we headed north to the Section House Trail. It took my group about 4 hours and 20 minutes to complete out hike including a half hour lunch break at the top ot the cut off trail. This was a spectacular place to lunch. We also parked one car at the Section House Trail head and began our hike at the Priest Gulch trailhead. The shuttle on the highway was only 1.7 miles. We also spooked an elk on the trail. That was exciting. He ran down the hillside in the lush forest.
Conditions: The trail is very steep both going up and coming down. It was also very muddy. The cows have really destroyed the trail system and there are many offshoots to the trail which could make the hike confusing. There were a couple of strategically placed carins to head you in the right direction. Lots of bugs made stopping for too long a bit difficult. But the hike was very well worth the effort.
Water Availability: 2 quarts of water was plenty for the hike we did. There was water along the way though I wouldn't drink it, even treated with all of the cows.
Recommended Clothing: Long pants to keep the bugs off though the rest of our party wore shorts. Wear sunscreen and take plenty of bug spray. We all had ponchos if it rained. We lucked out and had not rain. Jus a few clouds and only one boom of thunder.
Suggested Accessories: I took hiking poles.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Section House Trail
ICON Horseback Riding

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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