Piedra River Trail

Hiking Trails in Colorado | Piedra River Trail

Trail Information

Trail Name: Piedra River TrailAllTrails App Map | Piedra River Trail

Location: Northwest of Pagosa Springs, Colorado

Date: June 20, 2020

Time at the Trail Head: 10:00 am

Trail Length: 7.3 miles

Elevation Gain: 725 feet

Elev. at Trail Head: 7,719 feet

# of Hikers Passed: 50+

# of Mnt. Bikers Passed: 1

# of Horses Passed: 0

Mosquitoes: 0

Trail Research

I love the area around Pagosa Springs and have been wanting to hike a trail there for some time. It’s over a 5-hour drive from Castle Rock so I thought, why not do this hike on Father’s Day. So, I found a trail by the Piedra River and set off planning the hike.

AllTrails Map | Piedra River Trail

Drive to the Trail

As you might expect, a 5-hour drive through the Rocky Mountains was bound to have a few great photo opportunities. I have taken a lot of pictures from Walsenburg over to Alamosa, so I decided to wait until I was closer to Pagosa Springs to start taking photos of the drive.

This first twp photos is after we passed the Wolf Creek Ski area as we headed down the mountain to the south, towards Pagosa Springs.

Drive towards Pagosa Springs Colorado

Drive towards Pagosa Springs Colorado

There are some gorgeous ranches on the drive into Pagosa Springs on US-160 northeast of town. This is one of my favorite ranches to look at when we make the drive.

Ranch with Wooden Fences Northeast of Pagosa Springs

This next photo is south of the trailhead, looking to the north, as we approached the trail.

Rocky Mountains Near the Trailhead

This last trip to the trail was after we left the trailhead and were heading back towards Pagosa Springs.

Rocky Mountains Near Pagosa Springs Colorado

I love the area around Pagosa Springs because there are tall mountains in the distance but rolling hills and smaller mountains around the area with open pastures with Ranches. There is a combination of mountains, forests, lakes and open ranch land.

Our Day on the Trail

We arrived at the trailhead around 10 am, which is really late for us. There were already a lot of people out but we were glad to not have left the house at 2 am and driven through the night. We’re looking into ways to stay the night near the trail the day before, inexpensively, so we don’t have to get up so early, in order to be at the trail at sunrise.

There were a lot of places to park at the trailhead but there are no bathroom facilities, except for in the woods.

Piedra River Trailhead

We only had to hike maybe a quarter of a mile before we saw the river below us on the trail.

Piedra River Trail

The day was stunningly clear, the weather was around 75 degrees, with light wind. We knew this was going to be a great hike with some incredible scenery.

Piedra River Trail

Piedra River Trail Looking North

The nice thing about this trail is that some of the best river views are within the first 1/2 mile on the trail, at least that’s by my estimate.

Piedra River Rock Formations

We passed several rock climbers as there seem to be some great rocks in the area to climb. The rocks in this next picture are not those rocks, but kind of a gateway to them.Rock Formations on the Piedra River

It was right after these rocks that we found a way down to the river and saw the most grand views you will see along this section of the Piedra River.

Piedra River

Piedra River Rock Formations

These views are absolutely spectacular.

Piedra River

we left the river a little, as we headed up a little higher. We could always hear and see some of the river, but this is where we started to see the rock formations with several climbers having a good time.

Piedra River Rock Formations

Piedra River Rock Formations

We finally started back down to the river and found some more great places to enjoy the Rocky Mountains and the Piedra River.

Piedra River

This is where Ranger decided to enjoy the river himself and even though the views were not as magnificent as the previous area, it was gorgeous.

Ranger in the Piedra River

Piedra River

There were also a lot of people fly-fishing on the river.

Fly Fishing on the Piedra River

I can see why this is such a popular river to visit and to fish at. Even if you don’t catch any fish, you could go home after having an awesome day on the river.

We decided to head back up the trail as we were getting hungry and thinking about where we would eat in Pagosa Springs, but I was able to get a few more pictures of the rock formations on the return trip.

Piedra River Rock Formations

Piedra River Rock Formations

This wasn’t a difficult hike and you could tell because a lot of people were hiking this trail. The other nice thing is that this trail doesn’t have a lot of elevation to climb, so you can see some incredible beauty without being on a hard or technical hike.

Trail Recommendations

This is a busy trail, so it would be best to hike this trail earlier in the day. It’s only about a 30-minute drive from Pagosa Springs and the gravel road is well maintained, so try this trail if you find yourself in Pagosa Springs.

This can be a long trail, if you end up hiking it all. I was told that it is about 12 miles long. It would be good to have some great water bottles that are meant for the trail. Take a look at this top rated Yeti.

YETI Rambler 26 oz Bottle, Vacuum Insulated, Stainless Steel with Chug Cap, Navy
  • Get to drinking faster with the Chug Cap. It just takes a quick half-twist of the TripleHaul Handle to open and then you’re good to go, making it easy to steal a sip without slowing down
  • This Double-Wall Vacuum Insulated water bottle has the power to keep your water cold (or coffee hot) until the last sip
  • 18/8 stainless steel construction stands up to even the toughest of conditions
  • DuraCoat Color that is built to last - no fading, peeling, or cracking here
  • The Chug Cap is not intended for use with hot beverages. Bottle Dimensions: 10 1/2 in high, diameter of 3.5 in.

Check out this short video of the Piedra River Trail on YouTube.

Lunch in Pagosa Springs

We met some nice people who live in the area and they gave us some great advice on some local restaurants in Pagosa Springs. They told us of several but the one that sounded the best was called the Riff Raff Brewing and they have two restaurants in Pagosa Springs, and one of them is right on the river on east side of town.

Riff Raff Brewing

There were a lot of people waiting to eat but it was only about a 1/2 hour wait, and we were pleasantly surprised when we were seated near the river outside.

Riff Raff Brewery

The food was really good and the views were spectacular.

Riff Raff Brewery

Grace had the pulled pork sandwich and I had some loaded fries. I added some pulled pork to the loaded fries and enjoyed every bite.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day and sitting in the shade by the river made it even more perfect. I highly recommend stopping by and eating at the Riff Raff Brewery or have a beer while enjoying the river views.

I would love to know if you have had any experience on this trail or have other trails you love to hike. Leave a Comment Below or send me an Email.

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Piedra River Trail

9.8

Scenic Drive

10.0/10

Accessibility

10.0/10

Mountain Views

9.0/10

Lake or Stream Views

10.0/10

Well Maintained Trails

10.0/10

Pros

  • Easy Access
  • Grand Views
  • Gorgeous River Views
  • Incredible Drive
  • Pagosa Springs Nearby

Cons

  • Heavily Traveled Trail

2 thoughts on “Hiking Trails in Colorado | Piedra River Trail”

  1. Technically I’ve been to all 50 states, but Colorado is one of the few that I only tapped at the corner. No literally, I was just walking around Four Corners! Haha! That does mean, though, that I’m long overdue for some good exploration of the state. I heard the wilderness there is absolutely gorgeous and can’t wait to get on the Piedra River Trail. The way the water has cut down the rocks looks stunning. Thank you for including so many pictures and this super detailed overview!

    1. I’m glad you liked the photos. You are one up on me though. I drove right past the 4 corners monument on the way to the Grand Canyon and never stopped. I have to admit the most of Colorado is way more beautiful then the Colorado you see there.

      Let me know when and where you visit and what trails you hike.

      Rick

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