Upper Section of East Fork San Juan River Rd-Fr 667

Total Miles
9.1

Elevation

3,555.91 ft

Duration

--

Technical Rating

5

Moderate

Best Time

Spring, Summer, Fall

Trail Overview

The upper section of East Fork Road starts at the cut off for Quartz Meadow. This is perhaps the only real 4x4 rock climbing trail in the area. There is a sign that says 4x4 recommended, believe it! This is a serious off-road trail which will take you to Elwood Pass and crest the Continental Divide. Driving up the road there will be steep climbs over rocks, narrow shelf roads with drop offs on the side. If here in the spring the road may be flooded with snowmelt runoff and some swift currents at the river crossings. Summer rains can make the road muddy and slippery as well. Sections of the road will have water flowing down them. Remember to keep tabs on pull off spots should someone need to pass. McCormick Cabin will be on your right after driving most of the trail. Following will be couple of smooth rock faces to climb, then it becomes a dirt road which when cresting the hill will reveal a couple of picnic tables, followed by open meadows, Elwood Pass and The Continental Divide. You can choose to turn around and go back down East Fork Rd, however there are a number of trails once up on top. Turning left on Park Creek Rd will take you all the way to Hwy 160, which you can take back toward Pagosa Springs over Wolf Creek Pass. Also, this direction is a turn off for the road to Summitville Ghost Town should you want to explore.

Photos of Upper Section of East Fork San Juan River Rd-Fr 667

Upper Section of East Fork San Juan River Rd-Fr 667
Upper Section of East Fork San Juan River Rd-Fr 667
Upper Section of East Fork San Juan River Rd-Fr 667

Difficulty

Rate this a 4-6. During the spring, snowmelt can turn the roadway into flowing streams and more of a 6. For a stock jeep would rate it a 5, a well built jeep and experienced driver a 4.

History

History of East Fork Road, The East Fork road goes back to the late 1800's. There was a need for a road going into Pagosa Springs from the San Luis Valley for Settlers, Miners and the Army. The wagon trail was started by the Army in 1879, however abandoned before completed, then possibly completed later by private parties, or taken over by the State of Colorado. Maintenance later fell to the counties it crossed through and the road was considered dangerous. There were great hopes for it linking the Elwood Mining Camp, homes in the area and developing more resources. With floods and other problems none of this materialized. Later the road was used for a telephone line and had to be maintained for that. Now a gas pipeline runs alongside the road while it is used by tourists and hunters. As you traverse this area you will be crossing an area of Colorado little changed from the early 1900's. It is rich in history. An excellent reference can be found here: http://pagosasprings.com/the-history-of-elwood-more-than-know/

Technical Rating

5

Status Reports

Mark Groves
Aug 20, 2023
4x4
Open
Dusty
Richard Reese
Aug 09, 2023
4x4
Open
Dusty
Saxon Fryar
Jul 08, 2023
Dirt Bike
Obstructed
Impassable Water Crossing
David March
Jul 05, 2023
4x4
Open
Muddy/Wet

Access Description

This continues from the Lower section of the East Fork Road.

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