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Camping: Colorado > White River National Forest > Holy Cross Ranger District

Quick Facts

Red Sandstone/Piney River Ranch Road

Beginning Elevation: 8,300 Feet (2587.3 Meters)
Elevation Gain: 1,300 Feet (405.2 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 9,340 Feet (2911.5 Meters) at Piney Lake
High Point: 9,600 Feet (2992.5 Meters)
Length, One-way: 11 Miles (18.33 Kilometers) to Piney Lake/Piney River Ranch
Road Number: 700, 410
Ti Topo Maps: #108 Vail, Frisco, Dillon
USGS Maps: Vail West

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

A scenic graded dirt road that twists its way around the forests north of Vail for 11 miles to Piney River Ranch and Piney Lake, a great location for fishing, hiking, canoeing... anything!

The road is frequently wash boarded and in the summer can become quite dusty. There are many spurs off of this road, including Red and White, Lost Lake, and more. Most of the spurs are considerably more difficult to travel, and require the use of four wheel drive

This road is HEAVILY traveled, and many drivers, bikers, and hikers go too fast. Watch for on coming traffic!!

There are many terrific campsites in this area, but they fill up quickly! Please camp only in designated areas.

Directions from Vail: From the main Vail interchange, travel west on North Frontage road for 1 mile. You'll see a sign on the right side of the road marked "Piney Lake/Red Sandstone Road". Turn right at the sign. At 3/10 of a mile from the turn-off follow the road to the right as it makes a hairpin turn and continues up the mountain. At 6/10 of a mile from the turn-off, you'll see a sign for Piney River Ranch at the beginning of a dirt road.Follow this main dirt road. At 10 miles from the start of the dirt road, you'll cross a creek and "rest area" with campsites. The road forks here, and is narrower. Follow the right fork, and continue one mile to the ranch parking area. Return the way you came.

Seasonal Information:
Best Fall Colors: Mid-September through Late September (NOTE: The season varies from year to year. Dependent upon weather conditions. Hot Summer days and cool nights just above freezing bring spectacular display of color) . Normally Accessible: Summer through Fall (NOTE: Seasons vary depending on snow depth) . Best Fall Color: Mid-September through Late September (NOTE: The season varies from year to year. Dependent upon weather conditions. Hot Summer days and cool nights just above freezing bring spectacular display of CO) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
OPEN. Updated: 2001-06-13 11:24:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Cross-country Skiing Along Red Sandstone Road and surrounding area.
ICON Automobile Travel Red Sandstone/Piney River Ranch Road
ICON Cold Water Fishing Piney River, Piney Lake
ICON Hiking & Walking Red Sandstone Road accesses numerous hiking trails.
ICON Lodging Piney River Ranch
ICON Mountain Biking Red Sandstone Road is a relatively high use gravel road. There are several spur roads and trails such as Lost Lake.
ICON Scenic Driving Red Sandstone Road is passable in 2 WD vehicles.
ICON Snowmobiling Along Red Sandstone Road and surrounding area.
ICON Snowshoeing Along Red Sandstone Road and surrounding area.

Related Activities
Eagles Nest Wilderness-Vail side - The Eagles Nest Wilderness straddles the Gore Range, to the east of Vail. The western portion of the wilderness area lies in the Holy Cross Ranger District and the eastern portion lies in the Dillon Ranger District.

Lost Lake Trail (Holy Cross Ranger District) - This trail is located north of Vail. From west to east, it travels from a trailhead on Red Sandstone Road, past Lost Lake to a trailhead on Lost Lake Road.

Piney River/Sheephorn Creek General Forest Area - This area includes the Piney River and Sheephorn Creek drainages, north of Vail.

Red & White Mountain Four-Wheel Drive Road - This road begins off Red Sandstone Road, north of Vail. It runs along Red and White Mountain then branches and can access either June Creek, north of Edwards, or Muddy Pass, north of Wolcott.

Red Sandstone/ Lost Lake Road Cross-country Ski Tr - This trail follows Red Sandstone Road north of Vail to Lost Lake Road and eventually to Lost Lake. There are a number of other forks off of Red Sandstone Road.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Holy Cross Ranger District, 24747 US HWY 24, P.O. Box 190 , Minturn, CO, 81645, Phone: 970-827-5715, Fax: 970-827-9343


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