South Fork Trail #21
ElevationAscent: 4,124' 1,257 m
Descent: -4,109' -1,252 m
High: 12,278' 3,742 m
Low: 8,967' 2,733 m
GradeAvg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 64% (33°)
Current trail conditions
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“A beautiful but rough alpine trail.”— Zach Allen
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. If you don’t take the bridge here, be aware that the old trail fork to the right of the bridge appears to be no longer maintained and was an impassible tangle of downed trees.
Bring a saw if you want to do the last four miles of singletrack. Taking a left onto the bridge will cross the creek and take you to a dirt road and a pleasant run back to your car. Choose wisely.
Land Manager: USFS - Dillon Ranger District, White River NF