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

Quick Facts

Highline Loop National Recreation Trail

Beginning Elevation: 11,600 Feet (3616.0 Meters) Begins and ends at Kennebec Pass
Difficulty: More Difficult
Length: 17.0 Miles (28.33 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 520
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: La Plata, Orphan Butte

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This trail was designated a National Recreation Trail in 1979. The trail was so designated because of its scenic recreational values. Elevations vary from 9200 feet in the Bear Creek drainage to over 12,000 feet along the "Highline." Aspen, spruce-fir, and alpine areas are traversed by the trail as are scattered mountain parks.

The beginning of the trail is at Kennebec Pass. Four-wheel-drive is recommended to reach the pass. The pass is located about 14.0 miles north of Hesperus, Colorado on Forest Development Road 571. This access begins the traveler at nearly 12,000 feet elevation. It is then necessary to descend to 9200 feet on the other side of the Highline divide into Bear Creek and then climb back out to the point of beginning.

Other access points are available which require travel along other trails to reach the Highline Loop. One access that can be reached by passenger car is via the Gold Run and Bear Creek Trails. District personnel can direct you to access via the Sharkstooth Trail 622.

Directions from Hesperus, Colorado: Drive about 0.5 mile northwest on U.S. 160, then go 14.0 miles north on Forest Development Road 571. (Hesperus is located about 17.0 miles east of Mancos, Colorado or 10.0 miles west of Durango, Colorado--all on U.S. Hwy 160.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Summer through Fall .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter conditions. Updated: 2004-04-22 15:26:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Hiking & Walking Highline Loop National Recreation Trail
ICON Horseback Riding

Related Activities
Big Bend Trail - Wonderful views, wildflowers and fishing holes are part of this trail that is in the Hermosa drainage and would make an excellent loop trail. The entire drainage is usually full of elk, coyote and an occasional bear.

Corral Draw Trail - Starting from the Colorado Trail (Highline) the trail switchbacks down and east facing grassy bowl, dipping into several gullies and soon merging into the spruce and fir at the bottom of the draw.

Snowslide Campground - Snowslide Campground sits 5 miles up La Plata Canyon from Highway 160. La Plata Canyon and its campgrounds are heavily used during the camping season.

Transfer Campground - This four-acre campground has 12 sites in a small aspen grove northeast of Mancos.

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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