Upper San Juan River
The East Fork of the San Juan River carves a steep, lush valley out of the mountains just south of Wolf Creek Pass. Approaching from Pagosa Springs, the unpaved road follows a stream through thick willows, where you might see American Dipper or Swainson’s Thrush. Surrounding montane forest, ranging from ponderosa pine at low elevations to aspen and mixed-conifer forests higher up, might yield Grace’s Warbler or Gray Jay. The farther up the road you go, the fewer people you are likely to see, and there are some amazing vistas up the side valleys. In late September, this is an excellent place from which to observe the changing of the aspen leaves. Some abandoned mines can be seen along the upper portions of the road.
Habitat: Streamside Willow, Ponderosa Forest, Aspen Grove, Mixed Conifer Forest
Directions: From the junction of US 160 and US 84 on the east end of Pagosa Springs, travel northeast on US 160 for 9.6 miles to the junction with FS 667 (East Fork Road) on your right (east).
Delorme: 88 2B
Roads of Colorado: 156 C1
Dates of Access: Road not maintained in winter
Ownership: US Forest Service
Restrictions: Beware poor road conditions
Lodging: USFS campground near the highway, or primitive camping
Handicapped Access: Campground toilets are accessible, but campsites are not.