Hiking and Sight-Seeing
All of the roads around us are improved gravel roads and dead end at trailheads so sight-seeing from your vehicle is easy. Watch out for wildlife including elk, deer, beer, coyotes, mountain lions, moose and occasional big horn sheep.
Within the 1.8 million acres of National Forest and wilderness, there are endless miles of hiking trails and sight-seeing opportunities. Several trails are accessed right from our campground and others begin up the road at trailheads. Trail difficulties range from easy to…”straight-up.” Several trails lead to the tops of mountains including a beautiful hike up Pagosa Peak – elevation 12,640′. The trail is well worn and rated moderate to difficult, though it is only a few miles to the top. It’s well worth the hike!
Trails to access close-by:
Piedra Falls: This is a hike that features an impressive waterfall rushing over volcanic rock. From the Sportsman’s Campground Store, turn right on to Middle Fork Road, FS 640 and follow this road for two miles to East Toner Road. Turn right on East Toner Road and take it to the end. Walk along the river to the waterfall. It is about 1 mile and takes about 15-30 minutes each way. Please contact the Pagosa Ranger District Office, 970-264-2268, regarding camping at Trail Heads and Campfire restrictions.
Piedra River Trail: For sheer cliffs, rushing rivers, and great fly fishing, the Piedra River Trail is a easy to moderate hike with gorgeous box canyons. To get to the trailhead, head South on Piedra Road from Sportsman’s Campground. Just before crossing the river, there is a parking area on the right-hand side of the road. Park there and begin your hike at the trailhead. The trail will split early on, stay to the left heading down towards the river. You will soon come to sheer cliffs that rise on both sides of the river. After about 2 miles, the trail descends to a flat area along the river. The trail remains easy for the first 3.5 miles, then it starts getting more moderate for the remaining 8.5 miles to the bridge on the First Fork of the Piedra Road.
Trails around Williams Lake: There are several trails around Williams Lake that area easily accessed and have beautiful views of the mountains and the lake.
Ice Cave Ridge: Follow same directions for access as the Piedra River Trail, but when the trail forks, stay to the right. This trail will quickly bring you to a very neat geological feature know as the “Ice Caves.” These deep fissures shelter ice into early Summer and continue to get larger and deeper with each melt-freeze cycle. There are fissures over 25 ft deep and over 25 ft long. A unique site for a quick hike.
Cimarrona Creek Trail: From Sportsman’s Campground, head North to Williams Lake Road (about 4 miles). The trailhead is on left side of Williams Lake Rd just beyond Cimarrona Campground. The hike is approximately 8 miles with an elevation gain of 3000 ft.
Pagosa Peak: For hiking enthusiasts, the hike to the top of Pagosa Peak is sure to be a very memorable one! Being the highest point in the area, the view from the top is breathtaking and thrilling. From Sportsman’s Campground, drive South on Piedra Road, over Piedra River, and then take a left on Plum Taw Road. Take it several miles until you see a gated entrance to a rugged road on the left. This 4-wheel drive road is an old logging road. Drive 4 miles until you see the single track trail on the left. Just follow the clearly defined trail and the “blue paint” spots on designated trees to the summit of 12,640′. There is an elevation gain of 2000′ feet so be sure to allow plenty of time and try to be off the peak by noon as sudden storms can appear and lightening is especially dangerous at this altitude.
Williams Creek: From Sportsman’s Campground, head North on Piedra Rd and turn onto Williams Lake Rd. The trailhead is located at the end of road. To hike the full length of this trail is 14 miles with an elevation gain of 3400 ft.
Please contact the Pagosa Ranger District Office, 970-264-2268, regarding camping at Trail Heads and Campfire restrictions.