Saints John

Montezuma, Colorado (Summit County)
Last Updated: 01/10/2019
5/5 (2 reviews)
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Seasonal Closure
Typically Open: 05/20 - 11/23
Permit Information: Permit Required - Click Here
Length: 7.3 miles
Highest Elevation: 12320 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: North
Nearest Town: Montezuma
Nearest Town w/ Services: Keystone
Official Road Name: FS 275
Management Agency: White River National Forest
District: Dillon Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Saints John

First, yes, it is Saints John, not Saint Johns. Keep reading to learn why. This 4WD trail runs along high alpine ridge lines for several miles with spectacular 360-degree views. And lest you get bored, there is a couple of white-knuckle hill climbs to keep things interesting. The north end of the trail drops down into the forest below making its way into the tiny town of Montezuma. In 1863, John Coley made the first silver strike in Colorado. He founded the boom town of Coleyville. However, in 1867, a group of wealthy Free Masons bought up much of the area claims, renaming the town Saints John for the two patron saints of the Free Masons: Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist. Thus Saints (plural) John. The current 4WD trail follows the route once taken by ox or mule-driven ore carts hauling the mined ore over the Continental Divide and down the Swan River Valley to the mills and rails in Breckenridge. The mines of Saints John produced silver until the 1950s. Now, feel free to correct everyone you meet who will probably call this Saint Johns. (Full disclosure: The author was one of those people until 2016.)

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Saints John

Route Information

Technical Rating:
(EASY)

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Waypoints

1. Southern Trailhead

The southern trailhead makes a three-way intersection with Deer Creek (north) and Middle Fork Swan River (south).

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.520867, -105.868970

Starting Point: Keystone

This description covers Saints John from south to north making the two big hills climbs rather than descent. It begins at the three-way intersection with Deer Creek and Middle Fork Swan River. Follow either of these trails to their end point to begin Saints John as described. Or you can connect from nearby Radical Hill or North Fork Swan River. To run the trail from north to south, from US 6 at Keystone, take CR 5, Montezuma Road, east for 4.9 miles to the tiny village of Montezuma. Continue straight through town to an intersection where a sign indicates Saints John to the right (west).

Camping

Dispersed

Writer Information

Trint Ladd

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Trint grew up riding dirt bikes in the creek beds of the Texas Panhandle. While attending college in Colorado in the late 1990's, he saw a magazine article about a Ford Explorer four-wheeling club. He never saw his Explorer as an adventure vehicle before, but quickly joined up and caught the bug. With his engineering background, Trint has always respected the factory design of a good truck (and recognized when manufacturers put cheap parts into something marketed for off road use). "A good driver, with a well built, stock truck can do trails that would break a $50k, built-up rig with an inexperienced driver." He put that 1st gen Explorer though hell and it always held up, earning great respect from the "big dawgs" in the club. (And earning the nickname, "The Idiot Stocker.") The truck was christened "BamBam" because of the frequent sounds ringing out from the factory skid plates. Now that Trint is "grown-up" (quotation marks intentional), he's a bit less inclined to dent up his pretty Toyota Tacoma, but still feels the same way about superior engineering. Trint's love for the mountains was ingrained at a very early age. 8mm film exists of 18-month-old Trint in a backpack on his dad's back while riding dirt bikes through the mountains of Red River, NM. Although Trint does enjoy a good, tough, technical rock trail, he can often be found on easier, winding, Alpine roads just taking the glory of God's country.

Community

Questions & Answers (3)

Q: What is the duration for the full loop (saints John and deer creek) starting from the northern trailhead bear Montezuma Thanks
–Jeff (06/29/2018)
Q: any idea when this will open?
–Colin (06/05/2018)
Q: My wife isn't big on the heights and cliffy stuff but can handle it in small chunks. Would you say the majority of this is similar to Kingston Peak in terms of trail width? Not lots of shelves and cliffs for example.
–Jen & JD Marshall (05/18/2017)

Trail Reviews (9)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Love this trail! Views are epic and there is something peaceful about being above timberline almost the entire trail. Keep your camera ready for frequent mountain goat sightings.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Ran this on the 4th of July in a stock 4Runner Off-Road. Started in Montezuma up Sts. John road and then connected with Deer Creek to make a loop. Great drive that I was able to complete with no issues in the stock truck. There was one section on the big downhill (big uphill in this description) at the top that was a little difficult and maybe I wish I would have had rock sliders for, but with a careful line and taking it slow we were able to get through it. 100% open, only ran into about 5 other vehicles.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Open and 100% snow free. Really beautiful day today. One other truck up there.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Summit County has had a couple of snow storms now. Most trails that go above treeline are blocked with snow.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We took our SxS up North Fork and looped around Saints John, Deer Creek, and Middle Fork. I guess since school has started the crowds are winding down. We only saw a handful of SxS's and and two trucks the whole day. Even with some recent rain, the trails are pretty dry and sometimes dusty. Afternoon storms rolled in and made us nervous about lightning, but we only got a few sprinkles of rain. Over all, a great day!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail was open end to end and we ran this after running Hunkidori Mine. The views on this trail were breath-taking and Jen drove up above 12,000 feet for the first time. Great day on the trail.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Trail is open. Wet in a few places. Great ride.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Out of Montezuma, reports are that the road is open for a couple miles and then you run into avalanche debris. I did not verify these reports. Coming from North Fork, there is a very large snow field across the entire trail just after waypoint 2. The snow is very slushy and less than a foot deep, so I wouldn't expect it to last more than a week or 2.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
We visited the northern (Montezuma) end of the trail. Another foot of snow was added last week. Snowmobilers have packed the snow pretty well, but I think it's deceiving. There's a fairly firm crust, but if you break through, there's a good 1-3 feet of soft stuff underneath. There were tracks about 20 yards in where someone did just that and looks like they had a tough time getting back out. I wouldn't try it.