Hermosa Creek Special Management Area
“The purpose of the Special Management Area is to conserve and protect for the benefit of present and future generations the watershed, geological, cultural, natural, scientific, recreational, wildlife, riparian, historical, educational, and scenic resources of the Special Management Area.” - Hermosa Creek Watershed Management Plan, January 2018
The Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection legislation, passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama in December, 2014, created the Hermosa Creek Special Management Area (SMA) and the adjacent 37,236-acre Hermosa Creek Wilderness. The Hermosa Creek SMA is located within Hermosa Creek watershed between Highway 550 and the Hermosa Creek Wilderness.
The SMA is available to the following recreational uses:
- Dispersed camping
- Mountain biking
- OHV riding
- Horseback riding
- Hunting: big game
- Fishing: creek and stream
Due to the SMA designation, special travel management rules and seasonal closures apply to the area. All users are required to stay on designated trails in the Hermosa Creek SMA; new routes must not be created when trails are impassable. The following maps show what type of users are allowed and the seasonal closures per road / trail.
- Bicycle Use Map with Seasonal Closures: Hermosa Creek Watershed Mechanized (bicycle) Allowed Use
- Motorized vs Non-Motorized Use Map with Seasonal Closures: Hermosa Creek Watershed Motorized Allowed Use
Please note, in 2018, the Hermosa Creek Watershed experienced the 54,000-acre "416 Fire". As a result, there are burned area hazards in the Hermosa Creek Watershed. Entry into burned areas is at your own risk. Some trails will be impassable, and hazards such as falling trees, unstable soils, and debris flows will exist.
At a Glance
|Closest Towns:||Durango, CO|
|Restroom:||Practice Leave No Trace|
|Information Center:||Columbine Ranger District|
From Durango, CO: There are two main access points to the Hermosa Creek SMA.
- Lower Hermosa Creek Road #576: Head north approximately 10 miles on U.S. 550. Turn left (west) onto Co Rd 201. After 240 yards, turn right to stay on Co Rd 201. Continue straight onto FR 576 for 3.5 miles.
- Hermosa Park Road, #578: Head north approximately 26 miles on U.S. 550. Turn left (west) into Purgatory Ski Resort. Continue onto Hermosa Park Road, FR #578.
Parking a motorized or mechanized vehicle off of an open National Forest system road or trail for any purpose will be allowed within one vehicle length from the edge of the road only when such use does not create unsafe conditions and does not cause damage to resources and facilities.