Pine River Trail (523)
Starting at the Pine River Traihead, Pine River Trail #523 heads through a private gate next to Granite Peaks Ranch. Please stay on the trail and camping/fishing is prohibited until you reach the Weminuche Wilderness boundary at 2.7 miles. Aspens, ponderosa pines, and conifers are in abundance along the trail as you follow the Pine (or Piños) River north.
Lake Fork Trail #528 turns off to the north at mile 6.3. The Pine River continues to ascend, sometimes gradually, sometimes moderately, and occasionally steeply, to Weminuche Pass. The trail provides access to Flint Creek Trail #527, Divide Lakes Trail #539, Weminuche Trail #525 (starting in Rio Grande NF), and ends at the Continental Divide Trail. The alpine meadows are full of blooming wildflowers in late July and in August. Enjoy the excellent views and photographic possibilities. Water can be found off the trail in most of the tributaries.
Fishing: The Pine River is inaccessible for the first 2.7 miles of trail, but from the Wilderness boundary to the Continental Divide, the river offers some of the finest fly-fishing found anywhere. The trout in the Wilderness are wild fish. They include rainbows, brookies, browns, and cutthroats. Please check the fishing regulations regarding limits, allowable lures, and restrictions on certain lakes, rivers, etc.
- Distance (one-way): 23.2 miles
- Minimum/starting elevation: 7,870 feet
- Maximum/ending elevation: 10,600 feet (at Weminuche Pass, the lowest point along the Continental Divide within the Weminuche Wilderness.)
At a Glance
|Best Season:||Summer and Fall|
|Restrictions:||This trail is located in the Weminuche Wilderness. Please review the Weminuche Wilderness Regulations for full list of regulations and restrictions. Regulations include:
|Closest Towns:||Durango, CO
|Restroom:||Seasonal vault toliet at trailhead. Practice Leave No Trace on trail.|
|Information Center:||Columbine Ranger District|
From Durango, CO: Head north on Florida Road (CR #240) for 14 miles. Continue on CR #240 for 2 miles past the turnoff for Lemon Reservoir. Turn north onto CR #501 for12 miles around northern end of Vallecito Reservoir. Turn left on the Pine River Road, FS #602. Follow road 3.8 miles to the Pine River Campground.
From Bayfield, CO: Head north on County Road (CR) #501, Vallecito Road, 22 miles around the northern end of Vallecito Reservoir. Turn left on the Pine River Road, FS #602. Follow road 3.8 miles to the Pine River Campground.
USGS Maps: Vallecito Reservoir, Granite Peak, Emerald Lake, Granite Lake, Weminuche Pass