Coal Creek Trail No. 581

Please share any updates, or photos, in the comment section below.

Coal Creek Trail #581 Map: <click here>

Length: 8.3 miles end-to-end

Elevation Stats: From East Fork side to summit, elevation gain is 2,974 ft., then descends 2,829 Fawn Gulch terminus. 

Trailhead Facilities:  None

Trail Summary:  This hike description is a point-to-point hike.

Don’t let the name fool you – the creek will be difficult to find except for a few instances on each side of the ridge.

This is an up and over hike with a lot of terrain personality. There are numerous geological features to decipher between stands of aspen and falling spruce-fir forest. Expect to be hurdling trees near the ridge. From the Fawn Gulch side, the trail is difficult to follow once hikers reach the meadow. Simply continue directly up the meadow and just before the trees turn south following the tree line to a clear path. At the wilderness boundary views extend to the lower slopes of the Quartz Ridge and Range.

From the East Fork side, the trail can be difficult to follow shortly after the wilderness boundary. Cross the creek which is the less used of the forked path and the trail becomes clear again with long views into the East Fork drainage.

Fawn Gulch Trailhead Driving Directions: From US 160/US 84 junction, continue east for 4-miles. Turn south onto Fawn Gulch Road (FS 662). Continue for 4.8-miles to the trailhead on the east side of the road. Ample parking.  For map: <click here>

 East Fork Trailhead Driving Directions:From US 160/US 84 junction, continue east for 9.7-miles. Turn south onto East Fork Road (FS 667). Continue for 3.5-miles to the trailhead on the south side of the road. This is a shared trailhead with the Quartz Ridge Trail No. 570. A 4WD vehicle is recommended but the road is usually in good condition for 2WD vehicles to this trailhead. For map: <click here>

5 thoughts on “Coal Creek Trail No. 581

  1. Big update – if you are hiking from the East Fork side, wear your tree crawling pants. 23 trees down from trailhead to wilderness boundary. An additional 102 trees down to the exit of the wilderness at the ridgetop. And, one heck of a mess at that boundary not included in the 102 count. Another five trees from there to the top meadow descending to Fawn Gulch. Previous 50 downed trees accounted for in prior post. Still beautiful!!


  2. San Juan Backcountry Horsemen member Ron Decker reports on July 19th: “cut all the way to the meadow just below the divide between Coal Creek and East Fork which is about the end of cutting on that side.” Thank Ron for, as he says, “an aging guy, 2 horses, and a dog cut 65 trees” in a single day.


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