Lime Mesa (676)

Lime Mesa Trail #676 is located at the end of FDR #81. From the trailhead, you can either head north approximately 4 miles to the Mountain Crest View Overlook or head south for 5.6 miles ending at FDR #595.

Heading north from the trailhead, the trail starts in a meadow, winds along an old four-wheel-drive road. Access to City Reservior Trail #542 is about 1/2 mile north of the trailhead. The trail crosses through timber for 2 miles before heading down to Dollar Lake. The trail then climbs gently above timberline to a crest on the hill with spectacular views. The trail skirts the wilderness border until approximately mile 3 when the trail crosses into the Weminuche Wilderness. The Mountain View Crest overlook is reached in less than 4 miles, and at that point the trail sharply descends to Ruby and Pear Lakes. The alpine meadows are full of blooming wildflowers in late July and in August. This area has excellent views and photographic possibilities. 

The government trail ends at Mountain View Crest and it is NOT recommended to continue down to Ruby Lake. Do not descend into the basin to the lakes unless you feel comfortable climbing back out. Campsites are limited near the lakes and you must camp farther than 100 feet from water. Fires are not permitted in the area. As with all high-altitude areas, storms can move in rapidly, bringing severe wind, lightning, rain, snow, or hail--at any time of the year. Plan accordingly.

Fishing: Ruby Lake (Jewell Lake), Pear Lake, and Emerald Lake, at 11,910, 11,579, and 11,276 feet, respectively, are rated fair for cutthroat and Rainbow . Please check the fishing regulations regarding limits, allowable lures, and restrictions on certain lakes, rivers, etc. Please check the fishing regulations regarding limits.

  • Distance (one-way): 9.1 miles (from FDR #595 to Mountain View Crest overlook)
  • Starting elevation: 11,500 feet (at end of FDR #81)
  • Minimum elevation: 10,800 feet (at FDR #595)
  • Maximum/ending elevation: 12,600 feet (at Mountain View Crest overlook)

At a Glance

Best Season: Summer and Fall
Restrictions: Part of this trail is located in the Weminuche Wilderness. Please review the Weminuche Wilderness Regulations for full list of regulations and restrictions. Regulations include:
  • Possession of motorized equipment or motorized means of transport are not permitted.
  • Mechanized means of transport are not permitted (mountain bikes).
  • Flying drones is not permitted over congressionally designated wilderness areas or primitive areas as many people seek these places for the opportunities for solitude and quiet that they provide.
  • Group size is limited to 15 people.
  • Combination of people and stock = 25.
  • Dogs under control.
  • No unattended campfires.
  • Camping is not allowed within 100 feet of any water source.
  • Outfitter-guides who receive any form of compensation must obtain a special-use permit to operate on public land.
  • Check trailhead signs or Forest Service Offices for site-specific camping, campfire, and livestock regulations.
  • Practice leave no trace ethics.
Closest Towns: Durango, CO
Water: Purification recommended
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace
Information Center: Columbine Ranger District

General Information


From Durango, CO: Take CR #250, East Animas Road to FDR #682, Missionary Ridge Road. Follow the road for 17.5 miles to the Henderson Lake turn-off. Drive FDR #081 for 5 miles to its end. FDR #081 is 4WD for the last 2 miles. The Lime Mesa and City Reservoir trails begin at this trailhead. 

USGS Maps: Lemon Reservoir, Mountain View Crest, Columbine Pass.


Day Hiking


Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


  Area/Length : 
9.1 miles

  Elevation : 
10,800' - 12,600'