St. Elmo/Chalk Creek Canyon
Aliases: Chalk Creek Canyon, Chalk Cliffs Fish Hatchery, Love Meadow viewing area
This canyon is full of natural beauty and historic interest. The Chalk Cliffs Fish Hatchery hosts Bald Eagles in winter, and the Love Meadow viewing area can provide views of bighorn sheep in summer. Far up the canyon is the historic mining town of St. Elmo, now mostly a ghost town. Historic buildings in various states of disrepair and restoration are all privately owned, so please be respectful. Birders will find much to interest them here, including fine examples of willow, aspen and spruce-fir habitat, the latter mostly above St. Elmo. These high forests could provide views of Three-toed Woodpecker or Pine Grosbeak. The Mt. Princeton Hot Springs provide a nice way to relax when you’re done exploring the area.
Habitat: Streamside Willow, Aspen Grove, Mixed Conifer Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest
Directions: From the junction of US 285/24 west of Johnson Village, go south on 285 about 5 miles to Nathrop. Don't expect a town here, just a post office and a now-defunct general store. Turn west on CR 162, Chalk Creek Canyon Road. St. Elmo is about 12 miles up this road, which is paved for most, but not all of the way.
Delorme: 59 C7
Roads of Colorado: 102 A2-B2
Dates of Access: Open all year
Ownership: Private/US Forest Service
Restrictions: Please respect private property
Parking: Mostly roadside parking
Lodging: Lodges in Chalk Creek Canyon, or hotel in Buena Vista
Handicapped Access: Viewing from car