Trails Less Traveled – Taos to South Fork – Part 2

For part 2 of the Taos to South Fork route our Toyota FJ Cruiser once again took me on a fantastic journey.

Once  I was on the highway it was time to start looking for a place to camp for the night. I found a nice campground along the river but the price was not right. The forest service has outsourced the management of most campgrounds and the cost went from under $10.00 to more than $17.00. I am not ready to help line the pockets of corporate america while getting away camping. The services are not worth the amount being charged.

Forgetting about the developed campground I turned off the highway on to FSR 250 and continued up the Conejos River valley towards my ultimate destination. Looking for a place to camp I found a site designated as dispersed camping by the forest service. Perfect, no fees and no people. Pulling in I found and area that had a large number of sites. Someone had even left some wood behind so a fire was in order.

Mountains and their iron stains near Stunner Pass

Camp set, dogs fed, fire going, no people making noise,  what more could I ask for in a great camp. It was early to bed with the expectation of an early start the next morning.

Getting out of camp early is a wonderful way to see the area come to life. Early morning haze hung over the river and I was able to watch the sun marching down the mountains into the valley. The FS road, 250, is a well graded route that follows the valley floor to the small mountain town of Platoro.

Once Platoro is reached the road starts the short climb to Stunner Pass. Stunner pass takes the road from the Conejos to the Alamosa River drainage, both of which are part of the Rio Grande river headwaters.

Our FJ Cruiser and the trailer

Dropping into the Alamosa River drainage the road has been cut from the ridge. The view is of mountains laced with colors of iron and other minerals. Following the road north at the valley floor heads out to the San Louis Valley.

For this trip I headed west towards Elwood and Summit Passes. The road climbs through the trees then tops out in some fantastic sub-alpine meadows. The road passes Elwood Cabin, a lodging that can be rented from the National Forest Service.

Summitville

Heading further north the road passes through Summitville, a cool Colorado ghost town. Summitville is also home to a large super fund site. After getting some photos of the rickety old cabins I continued north to South Fork, Colorado and the end of this route.

Additional Photos

Google KLM of Rio Grande National Forest

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tomas

Tomas has lived in Colorado since age 5. Having grown up on the Western Slope of Colorado lots of time was spent in the Desert Southwest. Tomas' father introduced him to the love of 4 wheeling at an early age in the high mountains around Aspen, Colorado. While an avid Mountain Biker, Tomas and his Family enjoy adventures in the mountains and desert in the remote locations that can only be reached by 4wd. Day hikes are always a must when on the family trips. While enjoying outdoor activities he wants to share his love as a certified 4wd trainer and ski instructor. Tomas also enjoys caving and cave exploration. Tomas currently resides in Colorado Springs. 

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