Johnson Creek Trail (821)


Area Status: Open

Located in Weminuche Wilderness, the Johnson Creek Trail #821 climbs from the Vallecito Creek Trai l#529 to Columbine Lake then another 680 feet in 0.4 miles to Columbine Pass. Just before the pass, the trail intersects with Endlich Mesa Trail #534 and at the top of the pass joins with Needle Creek Trail #504.  Needle Creek Trail drops steeply into Chicago Basin. 

The alpine meadows are full of blooming wildflowers in late July and August. This area has excellent views and photographic possibilities. Water can be found off the trail in most of the tributaries.

  • Distance (one-way): 7.25 miles
  • Minimum elevation: 9,100 feet (at Vallecito Creek Trail)
  • Maximum/ending elevation: 12,680 feet (at Columbine Pass)

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:
  • 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

Directions:

From Durango, CO: Head north on Florida Road for 9 miles until you reach CR #240. Take that road to the east 2 miles to CR #501 and continue north on #501 to Vallecito Lake. Continue on the west side of the lake for an additional 7 miles to the Vallecito campground where Vallecito Creek Trail #529 is located. Hike approximately 9 miles to junction with Johnson Creek Trail.

From Bayfield, CO: Head north on County Road (CR) #240, also called the Vallecito Road, for 7 miles until you reach CR #501. Take that road north 3 miles to Vallecito Lake and continue on the west side of the lake for an additional 7 miles to the Vallecito campground where Vallecito Creek Trail #529 is located. Hike approximately 9 miles to junction with Johnson Creek Trail.


Activities

Day Hiking

Backpacking

Horse Riding

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities

Location

 
  Area/Length : 
7.25 miles

  Elevation : 
9,100' - 12,680'