Mountain bikers: you will be hiking your bike for nearly all of the first three-quarters of a mile -- and again during the descent into the Piedra River valley. If you are not into pushing your bike, consider the alternative Piedra Stock Driveway route detailed on this Web site.
Note:Be aware that this route is not a well-marked "urban trail." Go there with a Boy Scout mindset: be prepared with map, compass, GPS, extra clothing, cell phone, water and whatever else you’ll need to stay safe in the forest.
Directions to the Trail Head:
The N. Piedra Stock Driveway trail head is near the junction of Piedra Road (Forest Road 631) and Williams Creek Road (FR 640). This junction is about 16 miles north of the
first cattle guard where Piedra Road enters the San Juan National Forest and becomes a dirt road (see map at the upper right).
Trail Notes (also available in PDF format at the bottom of this page):
trailhead is in the grassy, hilly meadow just southwest of the junction of
FR 631 and FR 640 (the corner taking you to Williams Creek
Reservoir). The trail is really nonexistent
through the meadow hillside. You
need to climb up the grassy hill going south following a sequence of
several orange signs on steel posts.
These signs are orange, plastic diamonds with a directional arrow
on them. You may also see a few old
yellow metal Stock Driveway signs later along the trail.
about 1/4 mile the signs lead you into the forest and a trail emerges as it continues
steeply uphill. After about .75 miles the trail starts
to level out and you can start pedaling.
You will soon reach the top of the ridge (Trail Ridge) with nice
views of the Weminuche Valley to
the right (west) and Toner Mountain and
Pagosa Peak to
your left (east). All of a sudden
the climb up seems worth the effort.
trail continues southward along the crest of the ridge for almost a mile
and a half. Take time to enjoy the
mile 2.47 you pass through a gate in a wire fence and the trail angles
downhill to your right.
mile 2.77 you intersect an old dirt road (FR 639-H). Very soon afterward (mile 2.89) the
Stock Driveway bears right into the trees off the dirt road and passes to
the left of a small pond (Trail Ridge Reservoir). Continue to look for orange trail
markers nailed to trees.
trail continues southward in the valley that drains the pond, along Trail Creek. There are several braided game/cattle
trails here. It really doesn’t
matter much which one you follow as long as you follow the drainage.
mile 4.18 the trail enters a big meadow and crosses a well-defined dirt
road (FR 639-F).
continue southward on the Piedra Stock Driveway, cross the road and look
for the trail which continues downhill (following the same drainage) along
the left side of the big meadow.
Note: If you want to “bail” at
this point, look at the notes for “Alternate Route to the N. Piedra Stock
Driveway and Sally’s Overlook” and turn left onto FR 639-F.
mile 4.36 the trail passes by another pond which will be on your left. Continue down the trail keeping the
Trail Creek drainage on your left. The trail eventually leaves the big
meadow and continues along the right side of Trail Creek.
mile 5.71 you cross to the left side of Trail Creek and look for blue
markers which will lead you around the side of the hill. After about a mile you will be looking
down at the Piedra River and
the Piedra River Trail (#596).
There is currently no discernable trail for this final descent to
the Piedra River and
the intersection with the Piedra River Trail. Mountain bikers will again be hiking
their bikes down this loose and rocky hill.
intersect the Piedra River Trail at mile 6.73. Turn left (northeast) and follow the
mile 9.38 you intersect Piedra
Road (FR 631). Turn left (north) and follow this road
back to the trailhead.
mile 15 you will complete the loop.
The map below shows the location of the N. Piedra Stock Driveway Trail Head
Note: You should be able to manipulate the Google map, below, to zoom in, click and drag, and see different terrain and satellite images.
Note: To download and print the map below (and/or the route instructions) see the attached PDF files at the bottom of this page.
Note: If you do the complete loop that brings you to the Piedra River Trail, you need to be able to identify poison oak. It is quite plentiful along the river trail.
Poison-oak is usually a shrub, though it sometimes becomes a vine several inches in diameter that grows high into the oak trees attached by air-roots. The leaves DO come in threes. They are shiney, without prickers, and the middle leaf has a distinct stalk (see photo below).