Columns » Hiking Bob

Crater Lake road trip hike, and a reminder that Lake Moraine Trail is still closed

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BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
South Fork, Colorado, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it town at the eastern foot of Wolf Creek Pass on US 160, is a tale of two cities. On the one hand, it’s a town everyone passes through (or maybe makes a quick stop for gas) while on route to Wolf Creek Pass, Durango, Mesa Verde National Park, the Four Corners, or the Grand Canyon. On the other hand, for in-the-know outdoor recreationists, it’s the jumping off point for all manner of year-round activities.

My favorite hike during a recent trip to the area was to Crater Lake, on Forest Trail 707, a hike which starts at around 11,500 feet, follows part of the Continental Divide Trail and crosses the divide itself. Trail 707 is mostly a moderately difficult trail, not withstanding its elevation. Although the stretch from the Continental Divide to Crater Lake has a fair amount of downhill — and subsequent uphill on the return — it's a well routed trail, and the descends and ascends are very gradual.

To get there: Take Hwy 160 south of South Fork for about eight miles and turn left onto Park Creek Road/Forest Service Road 380, a wide, well maintained dirt road. At about 15 miles there is a fork in the road with a sign indicating FS 330 to the left. Bear right at the fork to stay on FS380 and follow it for about three more miles, passing the  Forest Service's Elmwood Cabins and the Elmwood Pass Road. At a curve in the road there is a parking area on the left and the marked "707" trail on the right. This marks the start of the hike.

Lake Moraine Trail update

In an email notice sent out earlier this week, Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates provided an update on the progress of the Lake Moraine Trail. The group, which hired Singletrack Trails to complete the trail to connect Barr Trail to Bear Creek via Jones Park, says the project should be completed by the end of August. However, they report that cyclists and, to a lesser degree, trail runners, have been using the still-closed trail, disturbing the work of Singletrack. Medicine Wheel reminds users to stay off the trail until it's officially opened later this year.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for more than 26 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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