You follow rapidly flowing Vallecito creek tumbling down a narrow glacial valley; the creek is among the loveliest in the West. I don’t trust the skies and just assume it will rain later today. The avalanche debris was cleared from the trail in fall 2007. For directions to various trails and trailheads, view the Vallecito Lake Trails Map. Additional Trail Info. Purgatory Trail (#511) – approximately 4 miles, 1500 ft descent; Animas River Trail (#675) – approximately 5.5 miles; Needle Creek Trail (#504) – approximately 5-6 miles to Chicago Basin, 3000 ft ascent; Vallecito Creek Trail: Access from the east. The trail continues on the east side of the creek to the Johnson Creek trail. Coming in by trail will lengthen your trip by one or two days each way. Dear valued customer. Beyond Johnson Creek, the views open up. While yesterday we had gained 3,000' in about 6.5 to 7 miles, we were now going to gain that amount in 2.5 miles. Vallecito Creek to Johnston Creek (great campsite at the junction of the two creeks). When we were just a mile from Columbine Pass when a crack of thunder exploded across the basin. The section you mentioned was a fairly straightforward off-trail bushwhack. As one of the entry points for the very popular Chicago Basin, a number of more developed backcountry campsites dot the intersection, but you'll have to cross the bridge to find them. I only did it for about 30 minutes, so it is not as impressive as it could be; however, we needed to get some rest for the big day ahead of us. Johnson Creek Trail: Beyond the basin, the main trail climbs another 1,400 feet over two miles to Columbine Pass where it meets up with the Johnson Creek Trail, which drops into the Vallecito Creek drainage. Note: Hiking down the Vallecito Creek trail, it seemed as though we were about as remote as possible in the mountains of Colorado which is why I was startled to round a switchback and nearly stepped on a hiker sitting on the ground resting. There are a number of stream-side sites along the first 4 miles of the trail. Even when I did the Arizona t beat that! I hiked from Vallecito Lake up V. Creek and Johnson Creek into Chicago Basin in 2003? When you board the train, you need to drop off your backpack at the baggage car behind the engine, and then go to your assigned seat in a different car. The wind picked up and a heavy, cold slush fell. Some may decide to exit the basin via the Vallecito Trail, which travels southeast to the Vallecito Reservoir. Following the cascading whitewater of Needle Creek, the trail leads hikers deeper and deeper into the Weminuche. The Vallecito Creek Trail is a popular hiking trail to access the Weminuche Wilderness Area, which is the largest wilderness area in all of Colorado, encompassing some 499,771 acres in the San Juan Mountains north of Durango and Pagosa Springs, CO.The trailhead is located north of Vallecito Reservoir and is an easy, scenic drive from downtown Durango. My mule was named Goldie and he was a very sturdy beast. For this shot, I found the North Star and centered the shot on it. Vallecito Creek to Johnston Creek (great campsite at the junction of the two creeks). While yesterday we had gained 3,000' in about 6.5 to 7 miles, we were now going to gain that amount in 2.5 miles. Lots of switchbacks and uphill the entire time. Many years ago mining was common throughout these lands. From CR 501 continue to North end of the Lake and bear left (North) for 2.8 miles on CR 500 to reach Vallecito Campground and trailhead parking. https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/colorado/vallecito-creek-trail The Animas River trail here was long, flat and well groomed. The Animas River trail here was long, flat and well groomed. SJMA has a participating agreement with the San Juan National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Tres Rios Field Office to develop educational programs, publications and volunteer projects, as well as provide interpretive services. Colorado Hiking, Vallecito Creek Trail; Lake Eileen Trail; The Lake Trails; North Canyon, East Creek & Graham Creek Trails; Pine River Trail; Cave Basin Trail; Tuckerville Trails; Located 18 miles from Durango, the community of Vallecito is nestled in a beautiful mountain valley 8,000 feet above sea level. From either vantage point, a commanding panorama of the Needle Creek drainage is possible. 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