This trail provides access into the Hermosa Drainage. Day trips can be planned from access points 1 and 2 and Castle Rock can be climbed from them as well. From the Needles Country Store, the trail climbs steadily uphill on an east facing slope with aspen trees. A spring surfaces near the cabin at the base of Castle Rock. From there, the trail curves around the base of Castle Rock and continues to climb. It then crosses Elbert Creek Road (Forest Road 581) and climbs a small hill, traversing beautiful, scenic meadows. The trail then abruptly drops for approximately 7 miles into the Hermosa drainage.
Directions from Durango, Colorado: Access 1: 22 miles north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550, turn off the highway southwest of the Needles Country Store. The trailhead is located at the corrals. Be sure to close the gates as you go through. Parking is available.
Directions from Durango: Access 2: Turn onto Hermosa Park Road (FDR 578), just north of Purgatory and 29 miles north of Durango on U.S. 550. Follow this road 2 1/2 miles to the fork and then turn left onto Elbert Creek Road (FDR 581) and follow it about 3 1/2 miles to Elbert Creek and the trailhead.
Directions from Hermosa Trail: Access 3: Access is available via Hermosa Trail. Drive approximately 9 miles to the Hermosa Creek Trailhead in Hermosa Park. Follow the trail approximately 5 miles downstream to the Big Lick Creek and and Elbert Creek Trail junction.
Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend .