Placer Fork Trail # 72

Area Status: Open
This area is Open

The Placer Fork trail is 4.4 miles long. The trail is open for the following uses: Hiking and Horseback Riding.


Access:  This trail begins in Columbine Campground.  The campground is located eight miles west of Red River and four miles east of Questa on State Highway 38.  The trail is marked at the south end of the campground.  There is parking available at the gate to the campground. 

Attractions and Considerations:  Hike on the Columbine Trail #71 for 2 ½ miles. This trail follows the Columbine Creek and crosses four times, via bridges. Hike through a fence and meadow, soon the National Recreation Trail sign is visible on the left. This is Deer Creek Trail, continue hiking for another 1/2 mile. The Placer Fork Trail is on the left, just south of the confluence. Cross over the Columbine Creek, the trail climbs steadily and crosses the Placer Creek seven times, before it begins climbing, steeply. The trail travels through beautiful foliage, conifers and aspen, before it levels into a large park-like landscape. There are old beaver ponds to the left. The trail is not visible, so look for spruce trees with limbs pruned off.  This is the trail, heading south to a large beautiful meadow.  At the top of the ridge you can continue on to Gold Hill, Goose Lake or down to Twining. 

Columbine campground has water and outhouses.  There is a fee for overnight camping in the campground, but there is free parking at the trailhead.

Please do not cut the switchbacks. 

Map of Placer Fork Trail (pdf file)

At a Glance

Open Season: June
Information Center: For more information contact:  Questa Ranger District.



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  Area/Length : 
4.4 miles

  Elevation : 
7,900 feet - 12,200 feet