Soap Basin #442


The Soap Basin Trail #442 begins and ends at intersections with the Soap Creek Trail #443 and is in the West Elk Wilderness for its entire length.  Follow the Soap Creek Trail from the end of Soap Creek Road, FSR #721, for approximately 2.5 mile to where Soap Creek and East Soap Creek intersect.  At this point the Soap Basin Trail begins and climbs steadily for approximately 3 miles where it reaches its highest point of over 11,200 feet.  It will continue at a relatively level elevation until it intersects the Rainbow Lake Trail #449.  After leaving this intersection, the trail heads north and descends steadily into Soap Basin.  It parallels the path of the Soap Creek headwaters for approximately two miles until it intersects with the Soap Basin Trail again and ends.

At a Glance

Open Season: June
Usage: Light
Best Season: Summer
Busiest Season: Fall Hunting
Restrictions: Open to Hiking and Horseback
Closest Towns: Gunnison, CO

General Information


Soap Basin Trail Access:

From Gunnison, travel west on Highway 50 for approximately 26 miles to the intersection with Highway 92 at the Blue Mesa Dam.  Turn onto Hwy 92 and travel north for approximately 1.5 miles to its intersection with the Soap Creek Road, FSR #721.  Follow FSR #721 for approximately 11 miles to its end and the beginning of the Soap Creek Trail #443.  Follow the Soap Creek Trail for approximately 2.5 miles to its intersection with the Soap Basin Trail #442. 

The Forest Service Road #721 is accessible by two-wheeled drive vehicles for the first 7 miles to the Commissary Trailhead.  From there to the end of the road, 4 Wheel Drive is recommended.  The entire length of road can be very slippery during wet weather.


Soap Basin Trail Access:  T. 51N., R. 4W., Section 21.  U.S.G.S. Map: Big Soap Park.  Elevation: 8,480 feet.

Commissary Trailhead:  T. 49N., R. 5W., Section 19.  U.S.G.S. Little Soap Park.  Elevation: 7,940 feet.



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  Area/Length : 
7.7 miles

  Elevation : 
8,480 - 11,200