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South Fork Trail #21

Difficult
 4.7 (6)

A beautiful but rough alpine trail.


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Map Key

25.8

Miles

41.5

KM

89%

Runnable

12,278' 3,742 m

High

8,967' 2,733 m

Low

4,124' 1,257 m

Up

4,109' 1,252 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (3°)

64%

Max Grade (33°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Views

Description

From the Darling Creek Trailhead, follow a fence briefly until Darling Creek intersects with South Fork Trail. South Fork Trail is continually rocky with several creek crossings. It climbs steadily with intermittent rocky sections until the intersection with Jones Pass Road at a campground at around mile eight.

Continue climbing through more open terrain. The trail will become steeper and start switchbacking up onto the ridge above timberline. Run up the ridge to the pass at mile 12 where you'll reach an elevation of 12,200 feet.

Once at the pass, descend briefly and then contour along the ridge, enjoying amazing views of the Gore range and the valley below. This ridge is very exposed for several miles and would be a bad place to be caught in a lightning storm. Watch for cairns to help navigation as the trail is very faint across the tundra in this section.

At the end of the ridge, the trail drops down to runner's left and begins the long, technical descent back into the trees. There are lots of large embedded rocks and tight switchbacks that will keep your attention for several miles.

Eventually, the trail flattens out in the forest, and you'll come to a bridge across the South Fork of the Williams Fork River. Take the bridge to access the South Fork TH, or continue right to the South Fork and Campground and back to the Darling Creek TH.

Contacts

Shared By:

Zach Allen with improvements by Chip Loomis

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 6 votes

#1

in Parshall

#5446

Overall
  4.7 from 6 votes
5 Star
83%
4 Star
0%
3 Star
17%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#1

in Parshall

#401

in Colorado

#5,446

Overall
68 Views Last Month
2,403 Since Sep 26, 2017
Difficult

0%
0%
0%
0%
67%
33%

Photos

The exposed ridge line traverse.
Jul 17, 2019 near Keystone, CO
One of the many spectacular views. This meadow leads you to the start of the climb up to ridgeline.
Jul 17, 2019 near Georgetown, CO
Aspen colors.
Jul 17, 2019 near Keystone, CO

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