Arriving at the family cabin located approximately 13-miles east of Dolores, Colorado we had some time set aside for four-wheel-drive sightseeing and hiking within the San Juan Mountains. The area of coverage this summer was highly concentrated within the Forest Service Roads 533, 535, and 611. The after mentioned Forest Service Roads (FSR) can be accessed via highway 145, the old mining towns of Rico, Dunton Hot Springs, and the ski resort of Telluride, Colorado are way points on this route highly worthy of visiting.
Our main objective was to revisit a relatives’ memorial site up on the Fish Creek Trail (Doctor Steven M. Kerr). Starting our journey heading north on county road 38 and connecting with FSR 535 (25-miles north of Dolores). Forest Service Road 535 is well maintained until we reach the Dunton Hot Springs area and turn north onto FSR 611 which is a 4WD gravel road that climbs steadily with switchbacks along the way. In this pocket of the San Juan’s there are many other 4WD service roads, such as the Willow Divide (FSR 727), and many backpacking and hiking trails, such as the Mavreeso Trail, Goble Trail, Eagle Peak Trail, and Stoner Mesa Trail all of which I would highly recommend if in the area.
Four-wheeling in a 1976 Landcuriser along the Dolores/Norwood FSR 611; gasping at the awesome views of Fish Creek and the big meadows within this remote area of the San Juan’s I am filled with mixed emotions as we approach Steve’s memorial site. Hiking back to the Landcuriser, mesmerized, looking forward to exploring more of Fish Creek in the near future.
You can access the Fish Creek Trailhead from the West Fork Dolores Road (FSR 535) and turn onto FSR 726 continuing through the Fish Creek Wildlife Area the trailhead is marked. The 9.5-mile trail has a starting elevation of 8,000 feet and an ending elevation of 10,000 feet. The area surroundings of big Spruce and Ponderosa pines add to the awesome views over Fish Creek and Black Mesa are nothing but pure Colorado!