View 30 photos for 294 W Vallecito Creek Rd, Bayfield, CO 81122 a 4 bed, 3 bath, 2,160 Sq. From the beginning of the Johnson Creek turn-off to … But the sun was out and it was a beautiful hike through Chicago Basin and down to Needleton. This connecting trail exists because of a cooperative agreement with the landowners. Most people arriving by train (around 11 AM when coming from Durango) hike the 6 miles to the Basin the same day, arriving in late afternoon. The skies were fairly clear when I woke up at 5:30 this morning, but I’ve grown weary of the weather in the Weminuche Wilderness at this point. Legal sites along the first 4 miles are limited in number, and are on the left (north) side of the trail. The Weminuche is massive. Chicago Basin Route – Vallecito Creek Bridge to Chicago Basin. The journey begins!! The only difficult creek crossing was of Rock Creek, which I think was the most difficult of all of them that we encountered. Chicago Basin hiking, The Emerald Lake area and Vallicento Creek Trail seemed to be popular as well. Vallecito Creek Trail – Easy/Moderate. The plan was to hike up the Vallecito Creek Trail and into the Weminuche Wilderness. As one of the entry points for the very popular Chicago Basin, a number of more developed backcountry campsites dot the intersection, but you'll have to cross the bridge to find them. Most people who hike into Chicago Basin either hike in from Purgatory Trailhead on US Highway 550, a distance of about 14 miles, or they elect to ride in on the Durango to Silverton Narrow-Gauge Railroad, which stops at Needleton to discharge and pick up hikers twice per day, which cuts the hike down to about 7 & 1/2 miles. The goal of this post is to offer information about another, less-known route of entry to Chicago Basin from Lime Mesa Trail Head. Eventually you hit the confluence of Vallecito Creek and Johnson Creek and cross a bridge to start heading towards Columbine Pass up the Johnson Creek drainage (the second of the two major climbs on the trip). The route: Purg Flats Trail to Animas River Trail to Needle Creek Trail ending at Chicago Basin. Many years ago mining was common throughout these lands. Following the cascading whitewater of Needle Creek, the trail leads hikers deeper and deeper into the Weminuche. We packed up and trudged up to Trimble Pass. The trail to Twin Lakes in the Chicago Basin, Windom Peak behind right . The only difficult creek crossing was of Rock Creek, which I think was the most difficult of all of them that we encountered. The trail continues on the east side of the creek to the Johnson Creek trail. Down to the beginning of Vallecito Creek. I sat in my tent, curled up in my sleeping bag, knocking the slush off my fly. The Colorado Trail, Pine River Trail, CDT, and the trails leading to Chicago Basin were probably the busiest. Waterfalls poured from crevasses high on the distant ridges and dark clouds hung on the horizon. That's me in the red cowgirl hat. Chicago Basin can be accessed by riding the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and getting off at Needleton. It started raining, again, around 7:30 on our first night. Up a few 14s. The state’s most remote point suffers from the same problem: A four-wheel-drive road that leads to an old townsite called Beartown, only 6 miles up Vallecito Creek. Down to Chicago Basin. More information Elk Creek to Chicago Basin via Colorado Trail, to Continental Divide Trail, to Vallecito Trail, Johnson Creek Trail, finally Needle Creek Trail Up a few 14s. Columbine Pass Weminuche, Vallecito Creek Trail; Lake Eileen Trail; The Lake Trails; North Canyon, East Creek & Graham Creek Trails; Pine River Trail; Cave Basin Trail; Tuckerville Trails; Located 18 miles from Durango, the community of Vallecito is nestled in a beautiful mountain valley 8,000 feet above sea level. | 0 Comments. To continue on to Chicago Basin, take the trail to the right from the Needle Creek Junction. Our hike had been relatively uneventful, with little elevation gained along the Vallecito Creek. The wind picked up and a heavy, cold slush fell. Johnson Creek Trail: Beyond the basin, the main trail climbs another 1,400 feet over two miles to Columbine Pass where it meets up with the Johnson Creek Trail, which drops into the Vallecito Creek drainage. We drank our coffee in a small patch of sun the following morning. We hurried down to our camp at 11,600 ft. Throughout the night I’d heard, or perhaps imagined I’d heard, footsteps and voices just on the other side of listening range. Additional Trail Info. From there a few more miles on the CDT. Hike approximately 5 miles to where the valley becomes more gentle and wider, and there are better campsites to be found on both sides of the trail. After 9 miles, we would turn off onto the less-frequented Johnson Creek Trail and climb over Columbine Pass at 12,680 ft. We would then descend into the fabled Chicago Basin and take the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad back to Durango from the Needleton Flagstop along the Animas River. Some may decide to exit the basin via the Vallecito Trail, which travels southeast to the Vallecito Reservoir. Most people arriving by train (around 11 AM when coming from Durango) hike the 6 miles to the Basin the same day, arriving in late afternoon. I saw a few hunters and horse outfitters, particularly in the Pine River Trail corridor. Down to the beginning of Vallecito Creek. Also note that there are no toilet facilities at Needleton. Creek Trail - Easy to Moderate A stunning day hike, or a great four-to-five day backpack trip. SJMA has a participating agreement with the San Juan National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Tres Rios Field Office to develop educational programs, publications and volunteer projects, as well as provide interpretive services. Elle on Her Sure-Footed Mule. To our … From the top of Columbine Pass you descend 680 feet in 0.4 mile to Columbine Lake. From the lake the hike is easy to moderate terrain to … Up Elk Creek on the CT to the CDT and a night at Eldorado Lake. Whether we went up or down we were a long way from shelter. Chicago Basin comprises the upper portion of the Needle Creek watershed in the Needle Mountains (Colorado), a subrange of the San Juan Mountains in the US State of Colorado.It lies within the Weminuche Wilderness, part of the San Juan National Forest. The train stop at Needleton is very brief, so expect yourself and your backpack to be unloaded (or loaded) very quickly. From either vantage point, a commanding panorama of the Needle Creek drainage is possible. I never could account for the voices, but the footsteps were explained when a big, black moose stomped past our tents! For this shot, I found the North Star and centered the shot on it. The Colorado Trail, Pine River Trail, CDT, and the trails leading to Chicago Basin were probably the busiest. It can be done in three nights, but what’s the rush? Ft. mfd/mobile home built in 1997 that sold on 08/15/2016. Up Johnston Creek and over Columbine Pass. You follow rapidly flowing Vallecito creek tumbling down a narrow glacial valley; the creek is among the loveliest in the West. It even had a cute little benchmark on the top, which was fairly unique. Following the cascading whitewater of Needle Creek, the trail leads hikers deeper and deeper into the Weminuche. Wanting to catch the fall foliage and beat the snow, I backpacked around 5 miles up the Vallecita Creek Trail for a night in late September 2016. Over Hunchback Pass. If you want to avoid spending $100 on the train, the other two popular routes of entry are from either Vallecito Trailhead, up Vallecito Creek to Johnson Creek and over Columbine Pass, or Purgatory Trailhead to the Animas River and up Needle Creek. Aufgrund der Steigung und Distanz ist die Strecke als moderat einzustufen. “There are all these interpretive calls,” Watts said. The loop follows the Elk Park Trail to the Vallecito Creek Trail, then south to the Johnson Creek Trail and over Columbine Pass into Chicago Basin. It can be done in three nights, but what’s the rush? The avalanche also took out a bridge, so you have to ford the creek. The six-mile hike into Chicago Basin is a steady, relentless uphill trudge. Even when I did the Arizona t beat that! Beyond Johnson Creek, the views open up. Elevation gain again played an important part of the day. It is easy to crank out the miles as you had down Vallecito Trail and then the opposite becomes true when you hit Johnson Creek. On the way we passed an old mine. The Vallecito Creek Trail is a popular hiking trail to access the Weminuche Wilderness Area, which is the largest wilderness area in all of Colorado, encompassing some 499,771 acres in the San Juan Mountains north of Durango and Pagosa Springs, CO.The trailhead is located north of Vallecito Reservoir and is an easy, scenic drive from downtown Durango. There are a number of stream-side sites along the first 4 miles of the trail. Note: Hiking down the Vallecito Creek trail, it seemed as though we were about as remote as possible in the mountains of Colorado which is why I was startled to round a switchback and nearly stepped on a hiker sitting on the ground resting. At the T-intersection, take a left on CR 501 which will bring you to the lake. Beyond the basin, the main trail climbs another 1,400 feet over two miles to Columbine Pass where it meets up with the Johnson Creek Trail, which drops into the Vallecito Creek drainage. The Needleton train stop area and the first ½ mile of the trail going south to the Needle Creek Trailhead is on private lands. Whatever the case, the Chicago Basin is a must-see destination in the San Juan Mountains—beautiful, remote, and rugged A stunning day hike on the first few miles of the trail, or a wonderful four-to-five day backpack trip. Dwayne Freeman trail name “Shannon-Lewis & Clark” Sister judy eidson. My trip coincided with archery and muzzle loader season for elk. Over Hunchback Pass. Hiked out of C. Basin via Trimble Pass and came out through City Reservoir and west down the gulches along Lime Mesa Tl. Comments have to be approved before showing up. The Emerald Lake area and Vallicento Creek Trail seemed to be popular as well. For most, it takes four to five hours to reach the basin, putting you there around supper time. We generally cruised down the valley all day, taking in the view of the mountains up the drainages around us. In the first 2 miles you will rise more than 500 ft. above the creek with fantastic views, then the trail drops down right beside the creek. For most, it takes four to five hours to reach the basin, putting you there around supper time. If you have any questions about your order please email: info@sjma.org, Thank you, San Juan Mountains Association, Junior Naturalist Field Camps (Grades 1-6), Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad website. A heavy cloud sat comfortably between the distant 14,000 ft. peaks, obscuring the tremendous view. During the summer of 2018, train access to the Chicago Basin was stopped due to a controversy around the Durango Fire , so the Purgatory Creek trail became much more high trafficked. At Chico Basin, they call it Twin Mills road. Ponderosa, aspen and oak cover these lower altitudes. Consult guidebooks and maps and carefully plan your route before you arrive. Vallecito Creek Trail ist ein 12.7 Meilen langer, stark besuchter Hin- und Rückweg in der Nähe von Bayfield, Colorado. Take the Vallecito Creek Pack Trail north for 8 miles until you reach the Johnson Creek split in the trail. Chicago Basin can be reached by trails from several directions. Here’s an overview map of the Weminuche Wilderness, which includes trailhead locations. End of Camping Area in the Chicago Basin. If you want to avoid spending $100 on the train, the other two popular routes of entry are from either Vallecito Trailhead, up Vallecito Creek to Johnson Creek and over Columbine Pass, or Purgatory Trailhead to the Animas River and up Needle Creek. From there a few more miles on the CDT. A secondary route climbs steeply to Twin Lakes. DAY 2 • Chicago Basin > Vallecito Creek (9 mi) 1,600 ft of elevation gain ; 12,692 ft ax elevation; Day 2 started with a phenomenal climb up Columbine Pass. When you board the train, you need to drop off your backpack at the baggage car behind the engine, and then go to your assigned seat in a different car. In the morning, snow covered the mountaintops and high ridges around us. Weminuche Wilderness. I hiked from Vallecito Lake up V. Creek and Johnson Creek into Chicago Basin in 2003? In the first 2 miles you will rise more than 500 ft. above the creek with fantastic vistas, then the trail drops down right beside the creek. eNZees Foot Soother is a registered trademark. A stunning day hike on the first few miles of the trail, or a wonderful four-to-five day backpack trip. There are no plans at this time to replace the bridge, so it is necessary for hikers to ford the creek. Johnson Creek Trail: Beyond the basin, the main trail climbs another 1,400 feet over two miles to Columbine Pass where it meets up with the Johnson Creek Trail, which drops into the Vallecito Creek drainage. Note: Hiking down the Vallecito Creek trail, it seemed as though we were about as remote as possible in the mountains of Colorado which is why I was startled to round a switchback and nearly stepped on a hiker sitting on the ground resting. Creek Trail - Easy to Moderate A stunning day hike, or a great four-to-five day backpack trip. Down to Chicago Basin. End of Camping Area in the Chicago Basin. Er führt entlang eines Flusses, durch schönen Wald und es gibt einen Wasserfall. I felt fortunate to have him. Lastly, I wanted to get some fun star trails over Chicago Basin, and again this proved quite effective. In the first 2 miles you will rise more than 500 ft. above the creek with fantastic vistas, then the trail drops down right beside the creek. Columbine Pass: From Chicago Basin, the trail to the pass is clear, except for one small snowfield. Up Johnston Creek and over Columbine Pass. Please do not trespass on this private property! The sun broke through briefly and we were barely able to dry our tents out before it let loose again. Lots of switchbacks and uphill the entire time. My trip coincided with archery and muzzle loader season for elk. I only did it for about 30 minutes, so it is not as impressive as it could be; however, we needed to get some rest for the big day ahead of us. Trail Summary: The Purgatory Creek trail is the shortest and most common way to access the Chicago Basin if you do not want to or are not able to take the Silverton/Durango train. The trail climbed nearly 3,000 ft. through a lush, mossy forest. It is easy to crank out the miles as you had down Vallecito Trail and then the opposite becomes true when you hit Johnson Creek. I don’t trust the skies and just assume it will rain later today. At 6.5 miles you begin the steep climb to Columbine Pass. © 2018 - All Rights Reserved - San Juan Mountains Association | Web Design by Sweet P Web Development. The section you mentioned was a fairly straightforward off-trail bushwhack. Up Elk Creek on the CT to the CDT and a night at Eldorado Lake. I had organized this trip through the Durango Hiking & Backpacking Group on Facebook. Columbine Pass ascends the eastern reach of the canyon to Columbine Lake. The weather was not looking ideal for a three-day backpacking trip through the San Juan Mountain high country. As we neared the pass and Columbine Lake, the threat of a thunderstorm was replaced by a downpour of sleet. The Needle Creek Trailhead is a ½ mile walk south from the train stop. I said Hi, wondering if the guys was Ok and he simply said Hi, so we continued on without another word. We're committed to building a better, more inclusive home for the modern outdoors. The well-maintained Needle Creek Trail climbs steadily up Needle Creek to Chicago Basin. During the summer of 2018, train access to the Chicago Basin was stopped due to a controversy around the Durango Fire , so the Purgatory Creek trail became much more high trafficked. This was a bad trip to forget to pack a book! Trail Summary: The Purgatory Creek trail is the shortest and most common way to access the Chicago Basin if you do not want to or are not able to take the Silverton/Durango train. The trail to Twin Lakes in the Chicago Basin, Windom Peak behind right . We left our packs here and strolled up to the summit of Florida Mountain's 13,076 ft. summit to enjoy views of Chicago Basin and Johnson Creek. Beyond Johnson Creek, the views open up. I hiked to the Chicago Basin in September 2018 via the Purgatory Creek Trail. The trail continues on the east side of the creek to the Johnson Creek trail. Make a week out of it. Lots of switchbacks and uphill the entire time. At just over 11 … My mule was named Goldie and he was a very sturdy beast. Colorado Hiking, Dec 14, 2014 - Search over 100,000 trails with trail info, maps, detailed reviews, and photos curated by millions of hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. The bear bag was hung and all our dinner mess cleaned up, so we ran into our tents for the night. Around 7 miles in, there was an avalanche along the trail, and so suddenly I found myself in a class 2 scramble over fallen trees. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/vallecito-creek-trail I hiked from Vallecito Lake up V. Creek and Johnson Creek into Chicago Basin in 2003? You follow rapidly flowing Vallecito creek tumbling down a narrow glacial valley; the creek is among the loveliest in the West. There was a crunchy frost upon the ground. Dropping down next to the creek, the trail comes to the first bridge and the canyon narrows. Make a week out of it. More information Elk Creek to Chicago Basin via Colorado Trail, to Continental Divide Trail, to Vallecito Trail, Johnson Creek Trail, finally Needle Creek Trail Chicago Basin The avalanche debris was cleared from the trail in fall 2007. Vallecito Creek to Johnston Creek (great campsite at the junction of the two creeks). In the first 2 miles you will rise more than 500 ft. above the creek with fantastic views, then the trail drops down right beside the creek. When at last we broke above treeline, I saw a wild skyline of cold, jagged peaks. The trail starts out busy, especially within the first few miles. Coming in by trail will lengthen your trip by one or two days each way. The goal of this post is to offer information about another, less-known route of entry to Chicago Basin from Lime Mesa Trail Head. The Vallecito Creek Trail soon starts switch-backing up steeply as our sure-footed beasts negotiated the rock ledges. Vallecito Trail, Sarah was especially excited to be on top of her fourth 13er, all with me. Vallecito Lake is located 18 miles northeast of Durango. You follow rapidly flowing Vallecito creek tumbling down a narrow glacial valley; the creek is among the loveliest in the West. Wilderness rangers frequently patrol the trail, and will ask you to move if they find you camping in an illegal site. Southwest Colorado Hiking, With upwards of 75 campers in the basin on a peak weekend, it can be a race against the other hikers to find a campsite for the night. Leaving the trailhead and Vallacito Campground behind, steep switchbacks gain 415 feet towards rocky outcrops at 1.6 miles. Vallecito Creek to Johnston Creek (great campsite at the junction of the two creeks). The well-maintained Needle Creek Trail climbs steadily up Needle Creek to Chicago Basin. Columbine Pass ascends the eastern reach of the canyon to Columbine Lake. Needle Creek Trail #504 from Needleton is the easiest and most common access to the basin. When we were just a mile from Columbine Pass when a crack of thunder exploded across the basin. From either vantage point, a commanding panorama of the Needle Creek drainage is possible. 8/13/19 Johnson Creek Trail: Navigable via foot; Vallecito Creek Trail between Johnson and Hunchback: is all navigable by food but NOT STOCK. There are switchbacks for the next 2 miles and an ascent of 1,500 feet. Use the Chicago Basin as a basecamp, and access a number of trails: three fourteeners are accessible as day hikes, and the ambitious can tackle all three in one day—Mt. You follow rapidly flowing Vallecito creek tumbling down a narrow glacial valley; the creek is among the loveliest in the West. There is a slide debris pile near Rock Creek … The ones on the creek side are not legal camps because they are not 100 feet from water. Needle Creek is an east-side tributary of the Animas River.The basin is a popular destination in summer for climbers and backpackers. From CR 501 continue to North end of the Lake and bear left (North) for 2.8 miles on CR 500 to reach Vallecito Campground and trailhead parking. It appeared at THAT time we may have been the first party to hike out that way in quite some time. We generally cruised down the valley all day, taking in the view of the mountains up the drainages around us. Hiked out of C. Basin via Trimble Pass and came out through City Reservoir and west down the gulches along Lime Mesa Tl. To our … As one of the entry points for the very popular Chicago Basin, a number of more developed backcountry campsites dot the intersection, but you'll have to cross the bridge to find them. When you get to the trailhead, be sure to sign the register and read the information posted. Out that way in quite some time no toilet facilities at Needleton Mesa Trail Head way in quite some.... 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