Blanco River Trail #573 Map click here
Length: 8.9-miles (one-way)
Elevation Stats: Starting elevation 8,252 ft, ending elevation 11,825 ft (net gain in elevation of 3,573 ft)
Trailhead Facilities: None
Suggested Day Hike: To the lunch spot at 4.71 miles (9.41 miles round trip) with 1,423 ft ascent and 183 descent. Altitude 8,252 ft to 9,476 ft.
Trail Summary: This hike description is to the junction with the Little Blanco Trail No. 572.
The trailhead is located on private property. Please be respectful of the landowner and remain on the trail. The trail ascends very gently through the forest for the first 3 miles. There are numerous signs for the first mile to keep you on the trail and off private property. The trail begins as an old road bed. Follow this to a gate in 0.67 miles. Go through the gate and continue on the trail. Do not take the trail that takes off to the right before the gate. In 1.5 miles, there is a side trail to the right that leads down to the creek. In 1.7 miles, cross through the South San Juan Wilderness boundary. Around 3 miles in, there are a couple of nice overlooks just off the trail to the right. You will pass a couple of rock debris fields from spring water melt. After 4.71 miles, you will reach a nice lunch spot just before crossing Hondo Creek. There are nice views of the backside of Blackhead Peak and Quartz Ridge. After crossing Hondo Creek, the trail starts gaining elevation quickly through many switchbacks. The views keep getting better the farther you go. Tight rocky and eroding tread leads out of a drainage edge before reaching a small meadow where the trail disappears. Experienced hikers can make their way staying east of the two-peaked ridgeline to the gap where the Little Blanco Trail No. 572 passes through.
Directions: From US 160, turn south onto US 84. Travel 8-miles and turn northeast onto Blanco Basin Road (CR 326), a gravel road. After 12 miles, you will make a sharp right hand turn and cross a bridge, immediately after the bridge, turn left onto a dirt driveway with an address post marker 12130. Follow this road for about a half mile. There is a fork in the road, stay right. Very limited parking on the left before the trailhead sign. Do not drive past the gate and trailhead sign. Be considerate of the private property boundaries. Driving Directions Map click here