The trail starts on the valley floor crossing 3 miles of dusty road that starts as sand and gradually increases to small rocks. Once you reach the adopted road sign, the trail begins to steeply climb up the mountain and gradually the rocks increase in size slowly weeding out the stock SUVs. A number of switchbacks provide spectacular views back into the Alamosa Valley. About 4.5 miles in, the trail levels off for a bit, you leave the desert terrain behind and enter the forest. There are several mud holes one must cross before reaching the first Jaws obstacle, and depending on the time of year, these mud holes can be quite deep.
Jaws 1 will finally weed out the remaining stock vehicles and this is where the true fun begins. Climb over the granite spine and drive by several old log cabins. Cross the creek and steady your nerves for the formidable Jaws 2. This second obstacle is the start of several challenging granite obstacles all within a single mile. The terrain once again changes from being in the forest, to being on the mountain's edge. Just before Jaws 2.5 you will encounter a short tippy section that will make you feel fairly uneasy. Jaws 2.5 is a V-notch type obstacle that is fairly easy compared to the other obstacles when the conditions are dry. Very quickly after that, you reach Jaws 3, which is a two part obstacle where the first part has a bypass if needed, but the second part does not. These two granite ledges are the last obstacles before you reach the gorgeous Lake Como. Many people set up camp at this lake and call it a night, but there is still one more obstacle waiting for you.
On the northeast side of the lake, you reach the final major obstacle, Jaws 4. This obstacle is a steep, slick, granite hill climb. Once above this, the road levels off as you begin your final approach to the end at Blue Lakes. The road is rough and slow going, but the rewarded views at the end are simply awe inspiring. You must return the same way you came.
Expect a lot of hiking traffic along this road
1. Trailhead (0.00 mi)
Start the trail just off Highway 150. There is a large area here with an information kiosk where you can air down if you would like to. This sandy road lasts for 2 miles while you head towards the base of the mountains. During those 2 miles, there are many areas to pull off and unload trailers or set up a base camp.
2. Mud holes (5.10 mi)
The mud holes at this point vary in depth depending on the time of year, and the amount of moisture the area has seen recently. During the time of this guide creation, which was late August, the holes were quite shallow.
3. Jaws 1 (5.70 mi)
The first Jaws obstacle looks like a large granite speed bump crossing the road. This obstacle has a few different options depending on your tire size and breakover angle. Although the far left looks like a viable bypass, it is off-camber with loose rock on the downhill side leaning you down the edge towards the creek below. Taking the obstacle straight down the center till you begin to high center and then letting gravity pull you down the other side is one option that will keep you fairly level. Another option is to stay as high right as possible which has a lower risk of high centering, but can be extremely tippy.
Make sure an understand how your vehicle is reacting to the different lines on this obstacle, because coming back down it is not nearly as easy as going up.
4. Holbrook Creek (6.00 mi)
After crossing Holbrook Creek, the road turns sharply uphill and the path grows increasingly rockier as you steeply climb the mountain side towards the next major obstacle.
5. Jaws 2 (6.20 mi)
Smack dab in the middle of a shelf road with the ledge careening down the driver side, Jaws 2 anxiously awaits your arrival. This is the most dangerous obstacle on the trail and carries a long history of rollovers. One in particular, is commemorated with a plaque embedded in the rocks to your right, just before the obstacle. Although not as legendary as it once was, this obstacle still demands respect and focus.
The far left line against the edge is the easiest line, but is still quite tippy and has a lot of pucker due to being on the edge. The far right line is a demanding line that will make the vehicle extremely tippy and tries it's hardest to snag and hold every piece of the undercarriage. A heavy throttle and a bouncing vehicle is a recipe for disaster here. If you do not crawl the line cleanly on your first attempt, stop, back off, and try your approach again.
6. Tippy Spot (6.60 mi)
You may have made it past the most dangerous obstacle on the trail, but don't slack off yet. This spot can be quite tippy, especially for a top heavy vehicle that is loaded with camping gear for the weekend. Most vehicles will cross this point without any issues. It feels a lot worse than it actually looks.
7. Jaws 2.5 (6.70 mi)
This obstacle is essentially just a V crack. When dry, this obstacle is fairly easy and a great location to test suspension flex. If conditions are wet, the granite can be quite slippery and this obstacle can become frustrating as your vehicle slips and slides its way into the crack.
8. Jaws 3 (6.80 mi)
This obstacle is a two part obstacle. You must first climb a series of ledges that flexes the front suspension one way, and the back suspension the opposite way. This first part of the obstacle has a bypass all the way around it to the right, but there is no bypass for the second part.
After climbing the first part of the obstacle, make a hard left and scale the next ledge that has a few different lines with the easiest being far left, and the hardest being far right as it requires more articulation and higher ground clearance.
9. Lake Como (7.30 mi)
After traversing the last section of rocky shelf road, you finally come to the shores of Lake Como. This large and beautiful alpine lake is surrounded by trees and mountains. Here there is tons of room for camping, but also expect there to be many campers. The trail continues around the north shore where there is still one major obstacle calling your name.
The eastern shore of the lake has an old cabin ruin and is a great location for a large group of campers. The trail to reach that side of the lake can be hard to find. Upon first arrival at the lake, look to your right where you will see a small, old wood shack. (The shack is shown in the second photo of this waypoint) Just behind that shack to the right, there is a road that crossing the creek and several mud holes working it's way to the eastern shore. Please be courteous to other campers and take it very slow while heading that direction. Also, be sure to stay on the main route and do not create new routes as the terrain is very marshy till you reach the other side of the lake.
10. Jaws 4 (7.60 mi)
Jaws 4 is a steep granite incline with just enough uneven ledges and holes to keep all 4 tires from getting traction at the same time. This obstacle is usually wet adding to it's difficulty. Staying far right appears to be the easiest line with the least amount of slippage, but far left was a close second. Down the center proved to be the hardest approach for our group.
11. Blue Lakes / Trail end (8.30 mi)
The motorized trail ends at the lowest Blue Lake. Here in this saddle, you are surrounded by "fourteener" giants Ellingwood Point (14,042'), Blanca Peak (14,344'), and Little Bear Peak (14,035'). Blanca Peak is a 2 mile hike from this point.