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.
Summer through Fall .