Bear Creek (San Juan National Forest)

Written by Raymond Hamilton.

Elevation Difficulty Recommended Use Distance Season
7,900 feet Easy to Moderate

8.0 Miles As of 6-19-02 - Fall

Driving Directions:

From Dolores, Colorado, Travel 22.0 miles east on State Highway 145. A green sign marks the place. Look for a wooden bridge crossing the Dolores River about 200 feet off the highway. You may drive across the bridge. Only limited parking is available across the bridge.

Hiking Directions:

This trail parallels Bear Creek for its entire length. Hiking, horseback riding, and trail biking are the only methods of transportation, which can access Bear Creek. Space for camping is available on the last 6.5 miles of the trail. The first 1.5 miles of the trail is on the canyon side away from good camping spots. The trail passes through a cattle grazing area. Please keep the gates closed. Cattle should be in only 1 of 4 parts of the canyon at a time. This will leave the remainder of the canyon available for recreation away from cattle if you so desire. There are no developed water supplies along the trail. Be prepared to boil or otherwise treat your drinking water. Please use good outdoor ethics in all matters of sanitation, fire, and other camping skills. Bear Creek is one of the most isolated and beautiful areas on the Mancos-Dolores Ranger District. Life zones range from oakbrush at the mouth of the creek to aspen, spruce, and fir where the trail becomes the Highline Loop National Recreational Trail. Another 5.0 upstream miles takes the visitor to the alpine zone and the headwaters of Bear Creek.


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