|Highest Elevation:||13082 feet|
|Duration:||About 3 hours 30 minutes|
|Shape of Trail:||Straight Through|
|Best Direction to Travel:||East|
|Nearest Town w/ Services:||Silverton|
|Official Road Name:||737 and 520|
|Management Agency:||San Juan National Forest and Rio Grande National Forest Divide Ranger District|
Situated in the San Juan Mountains near Silverton, Colorado, Stony Pass crosses the Continental Divide and is one of the longest uninterrupted off-road climbs in the entire state. It used to be a major supply route into Silverton from the east until 1882 when the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad made it obsolete. It became just a road utilized for mining before it was abandoned. The road was reopened as a four-wheel drive route by the US Forest Service in the 1950s. Optional side trips are available that allow you travel up to the historic Buffalo Boy Tram Station and beyond up to 13,000' in elevation. Wildflowers, alpine views, and mining history make this a trip worth taking.
Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves but rocks to 9". Water crossings usually less than hub deep. Passable mud. Grades moderate, up to 15 degrees. Side hill moderate up to 15 degrees. 4WD under most conditions. No width problems, vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.Read more about our rating system
Take the fork uphill. You should air down here, as many parts of the road are very rocky.
Remnants of mining days of old. Ore buckets were used to bring ore from the high mountain mines to the mills below.
Turn left/north to explore the old mine locations or right/south to continue on the trail to the Pass, Kite Lake, Creede, or Lake City. Allow a good 2 hours to really explore this exceptional side trip.
The short spur straight ahead takes you the Gary Owen Mine, while the tight right/south turn takes you to the Buffalo Boy Mine.
These are just small remnants of what was a vast complex of mines that ran until about 1952. For more historical information on the Gary Owen Mine and the surrounding complex visit the San Juan County Historical Society.
The Buffalo Boy was worked during, after, and with the Old Hundred Mine where ore was taken down the mountain by tram to the Niegoldstown area mill. Today the tram house still exists along with the cables still hanging. There is evidence of recent working as power lines were run to the tram house.
After you explore the Buffalo Boy Mine, you can continue to the top of the hill for more scenery. This section can be very slippery in wet weather and caution should be taken if wet conditions are present. Return back to waypoint 3 and go straight.
Continue following the main road uphill.
Follow the main road uphill at the gulch.
Continue straight on the main road. The spur goes back to private property and a very dangerous mine entrance.
As you follow the road, you get above timberline with all the alpine views.
Continue straight for the entire route, or turn back the way you came. There is ample parking at the top for several rigs. Stony Pass sits just below Canby Mountain at an elevation is 12,650 feet above sea level. Wild Flowers are abundant on each side of the pass typically in the month of August. Interestingly, just to the east of Canby Mountain, lay the headwaters of the Rio Grand River.
Continue straight through the hard bottom Pole Creek. There are also a couple of large camping spots on the west side of the creek. Pole Creek runs directly into the Rio Grande which is just to your southwest.
Continue straight to Creede, or go right/south to Kite Lake.
Continue straight. The road turns into loose rock and becomes more narrow.
Turn right for epic camping along the Rio Grande River.
Continue straight as you look at interesting rock formations to your north and the Weminuche Wilderness Area to the south. This area is called "Brewster Park".
Follow the road into the trees as you leave Brewster Park.
Continue straight. There are many places to disperse camp in this area. The side road takes you down to the Rio Grande River with a small campsite, however, the road is washed out and not safe.
Continue straight or take a walk over to the edge of the Rio Grande River.
Continue straight. Camping in this area is abundant.
Continue straight. Improved camping in this area.
Continue straight at the junction of 1805.
Follow along the edge of the Rio Grande Reservoir. There are plenty of turnouts for parking.
Continue straight. There is access down to the water right here.
Continue straight. There are plenty of areas to pull off for lunch and a leg stretch for the last miles of this trail.
Continue straight. Improved camping.
Continue straight. Improved camping.
Continue straight on the main road.
Continue straight on the main road. Improved camping.
Righ/south to Creede, or left/north for Lake City.
Trailhead Coordinates: 37.815307, -107.578303