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Camping: Colorado > San Juan National Forest > Mancos-Dolores Ranger District

Quick Facts

Bear Creek Trail (San Juan National Forest)

Beginning Elevation: 7,900 Feet (2462.6 Meters) Begins at mouth of Bear Creek
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Elevation Gain, Round Trip: 9,200 Feet (2867.8 Meters) Trail continues as Highline Loop National Recreational Trail
Length: 8.0 Miles (13.33 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 607
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Wallace Ranch, Orphan Butte

Outfitters and Guides

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

This trail parallels Bear Creek for its entire length. Hiking, horseback riding, and trail biking are the only methods of transportation, which can access Bear Creek. Space for camping is available on the last 6.5 miles of the trail. The first 1.5 miles of the trail is on the canyon side away from good camping spots.

The trail passes through a cattle grazing area. Please keep the gates closed. Cattle should be in only 1 of 4 parts of the canyon at a time. This will leave the remainder of the canyon available for recreation away from cattle if you so desire.

There are no developed water supplies along the trail. Be prepared to boil or otherwise treat your drinking water. Please use good outdoor ethics in all matters of sanitation, fire, and other camping skills.

Bear Creek is one of the most isolated and beautiful areas on the Mancos-Dolores Ranger District. Life zones range from oakbrush at the mouth of the creek to aspen, spruce, and fir where the trail becomes the Highline Loop National Recreational Trail. Another 5.0 upstream miles takes the visitor to the alpine zone and the headwaters of Bear Creek.

Directions from Dolores, Colorado: Travel 22.0 miles east on State Highway 145. A green sign marks the place. Look for a wooden bridge crossing the Dolores River about 200 feet off the highway. You may drive across the bridge. Only limited parking is available across the bridge.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Late Spring through Late Fall (NOTE: New trailhead 1/2 mile northeast of old trailhead on Highway 145. Trail maintenance completed up to Grindstone trail.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Winter Conditions. Trail #607. Bear Creek has a new trailhead, 1/2 mile above old trailhead on Highway 145. Trail length is 12.5 miles, beginning at 7,960' in elevation at the Dolores River, to 11,200'at the junction with Sharkstooth Trail. Trail maintained up to junction with Sharkstooth Trail. Updated: 2004-04-23 13:59:00.0

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Filed By: Keith Moore (Mancos, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: make sure you use the trailhead and respect private property.
Conditions: first section is very steep.
Water Availability: no treated water but there is plenty in the creek

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Tent Camping
ICON Cold Water Fishing
ICON Hiking & Walking Bear Creek Trail (San Juan National Forest)
ICON Horseback Riding
ICON Mountain Biking
ICON Motorcycle Riding

Related Activities
Cayton Campground - Cayton Campground is 8 miles beyond Burro Bridge Campground. Because of Cayton's easy access to Colorado Hwy. 145 and Dolores River, the campground is very popular.

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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