Saints John

Montezuma, Colorado (Summit County)

Last Updated: 06/25/2022
4.7 / 5 ( 30 reviews )
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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

Route Information

Technical Rating

( MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Southern Trailhead (0 mi)
The southern trailhead makes a three-way intersection with Deer Creek (north) and Middle Fork Swan River (south).

Directions to Trailhead

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

Trail Reviews (42)

Questions & Answers (7)

Q: Just curious why there's no "Scenic" icon under the title of this trail if, in the description it states, "....with spectacular 360-degree views.?" I'm thinking of doing the Saints John/Deer Creek loop this August with 3 Honda Rancher ATVs. I almost missed this one. Thought it comparatively scenic from the video. Thanks.
–steve michael stefany (06/12/2020)
–Trint Ladd (06/13/2020)
Q: I'm looking to bring a Can-Am Maverick X3 up to this region to use on the trails in and around Keystone and Montezuma. Trying to understand if either a 64" or 72" wide version would have and advantage or disadvantage on these trails? Can all of these trails support a 72" wide machine?
–bminor (01/19/2020)
–Trint Ladd (01/20/2020)
Q: Could you clarify the permit requirement mentioned above? Saints John is a Forest Service road classified on the current MVUM as a "Road Open to All Vehicles" and it is not on the list of full-size trails requiring OHV permits for plated vehicles. Why is it listed as requiring an OHV permit?
–Patrick McKay (07/29/2019)
–Trint Ladd (07/29/2019)
Q: Any updates on how Saints John is doing? We've heard someone say you can get up to the first switchbacks from the Montezuma end. Any update on this trail and some of the adjoining ones would be great! Thanks! :)
–Shawna (07/09/2019)
–Trint Ladd (07/09/2019)
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)
–Trint Ladd (06/29/2018)
Q: any idea when this will open?
–Colin (06/05/2018)
–Colin (06/22/2018)
–Trint Ladd (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.
–JD Marshall (05/18/2017)
–Trint Ladd (05/18/2017)

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 2011 Toyota Tacoma, but still feels the same way about superior engineering. The "Stocko Taco" wheeled for over 10 years with no mods other than trail armor. In 2021, it finally got a couple of inches of lift... and a new name: "Taco Supreme." 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.
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