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Stony Pass
San Juan County, Colorado
Rio Grande National Forest
Divide Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map

Forest Service Road: 520
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Silverton, Creede
Nearby Trails: Maggie Gulch, Minnie Gulch, Kite Lake
Trail Length: 10.9 miles
Elevation: 10,074 to 12,624 feet

The trail can either end at the trailhead for Kite Lake, or you can continue on. If you continue, it becomes a 60-mile trail from Howardsville outside of Silverton all the way to Highway 149 on the way to Creede. It is not a technically challenging trail but the views from the summit are gorgeous.

From Silverton, take the only paved road out of town that is not perpendicular to the main road (it is diagonal). It will take you to Howardsville. On the right you'll see a sign marking the way to Stony Pass (don't worry about the "dead end" marking).

The Stony Pass trail starts about 1.75 miles down the Cunningham Gulch trail (not covered yet on this Web site). Turn right to head uphill at the "Y" intersection, following County Road 3. This is the Stony Pass trailhead.

Soon after this, there is an optional spur following County Road 3B that takes you to the Gary Owen Mine. This spur is highly recommended, where you can see a large portion of mining track still in place.

Go back to the main trail and head up forest service road 520 to the pass. When you get to the pass at 6 miles there is a sign and some parking area.

The views from the pass are amazing and you can see for miles. This is the Rio Grande National Forest area and it is quite different from the areas around Ouray.

There is a large hiking trail that leaves from the pass. It is extremely long.

One of the most interesting things about the descent is the fact that you can see small streams along the trail. These are streams starting at the Continental Divide and they feed into and start the Rio Grande river.

You continue down on the other side of the pass and at 12 miles you reach the crossing of Pole Creek. It can be deep as it is a running creek but it is usually not too deep. After the creek you can continue to Creede by going straight or you can follow the sign to Kite Lake. This intersection is marked with a sign. You can also turn around to go back out the way you came, as there is plenty of room to turn around.

If you continue on, the trail gets quite a bit easier for the next 10 miles, though it is bumpy enough to make it impossible to move very quickly. It is also a single track trail and there are usually a lot of other vehicles coming the other direction from Creede. Dont go too fast or you could hit another vehicle. There are also horses, ATVs and motorcycles on this trail.

Continue on until you reach the massive Rio Grande Reservoir. The reservoir is long and you follow the edge of it until you reach pavement at Road 149. Head north to Lake City by turning left or continue to Creede by turning right.

Information last updated on September 12th, 2008.

Member Reports

Driving Directions

From Silverton take 550 east and bear right on the only diagonal, paved road. Turn right after 5 miles on County Road 4 marked with a sign to Stony Pass. Follow this road 1.75 miles to the trailhead, the left fork of the "Y" in the road at that point.

Meeting Places

Meet at the Silverton Grocery in Silverton.

Additional Information

Low-End Rating: 2
High-End Rating: 3
Rock Crawling:
Dirt & Mud:
Water Crossings:
Cliffs & Ledges:
Climbs & Descents:
Other Activities:
What does this mean?

Trail Photographs

Climb to the Pass Sheep Mountain Seen from the Pass Beginnings of the Rio Grande River

Maps and Coordinates
(Click a map to view full size)

Trail in Red to the Intersection with Kite Lake
800 x 600 pixels
308 KB

Stony Pass (GPS Exchange File)
Stony Pass Trailhead (Google Earth Placemark)
Stony Pass Track (Google Earth Track)
Gary Owen Mine (Google Earth Placemark)
Creek Crossing (Google Earth Placemark)

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Trail information is only accurate on the date posted. Trails may have changed or closed since that date. Use this information for historical purposes only. Contact the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management for up-to-date trail information.

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