Lake Dorothey State Wildlife Area
Aliases: San Francisco Pass, Raton Mesa, James M. John State Wildlife Area
Little-visited and remote, this SWA and its neighbor, James M. John SWA, are the only two SWAs in Colorado that you must leave the state to access via road. Adjacent to Sugarite State Park in New Mexico, they can be a good place to bird ponderosa and mixed conifer woodland, and oak scrub. Look for Dusky Grouse, Lewis’ Woodpecker, Pygmy Nuthatch, Western Tanager, Spotted and Green-tailed Towhees, and Virginia’s Warbler, as well as black bear, mule deer, pocket gopher, and mountain lion if you are extremely lucky. Elk can be quite common in the area. James M. John SWA can be visited only on foot or horseback, between April 2 and November 30; it is a primitive site that affords incredible views from the mesa on the back side of Fisher’s Peak.
County: Las Animas
Attractions: Near Folsom, NM, Capulin Volcano National Monument
Habitat: Ponderosa Forest, Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Mountain Meadow, Reservoir
Directions: From Trinidad, head south on I-25 into New Mexico, to exit 462 in Raton. Head east on NM-72 for 4 miles to the intersection with NM-526. Head north on NM-526 for a little over 6 miles to the state line, and the SWA line. From here the road becomes Las Animas CR 85.5. To reach the northern access, head east from Trinidad on US-160 for 1.6 miles from I-25 to CR 24.6, and take a right (east). Go 7.8 miles (the road becomes CR 22 after 7 miles) to the intersection with CR 85.5. Take a right (south), and go past the houses to a barbed wire gate. Open the gate, and continue south for 13 miles to the SWA.
Delorme: 93 D7, 100 D1
Roads of Colorado: 154 B3-B4
Dates of Access: Open all year
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: A valid hunting or fishing license, or State Wildlife Area pass is required for everyone 16 or older accessing any state wildlife area or state trust lands.
Restrictions: Discharging of firearms or bows prohibited. Shotguns and bows allowed only when hunting. Trapping prohibited. Obey CPW rules and regulations; be aware of hunters in season
Parking: Gravel parking area
Lodging: Camping onsite with certain restrictions; also in nearby Sugarite State Park (New Mexico)
Handicapped Access: Limited