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Little Blanco Trail #572 Map (click here)
Length: 7.5-miles (one-way)
Elevation Stats: Elevation Gain 2,275 (Altitude 9,981 ft to 12,256 ft with ascent 3,573 ft and descent 1.279 ft )
Trailhead Facilities: None
Suggested Day Hike: To the Keyhole(Window) 3.0 miles ( 6.0 miles round trip) with ascent 2,241 ft and descent 191 ( Altitude 9,982 to 12,032)
Short Trail Summary: This trail usually has great flowers and fine views; it is suitable for dogs. This description is to the junction with the Quartz Creek Trail No. 571. From the Trailhead, begin climbing initially through meadows and aspen forest. The trail begins to switchback with occasional views of Square Top, Nipple Mountain and Blackhead Peak. Once on the ridge, there are views of these plus Sand Mountain to the north. There is a steep, side-hill climb to Quartz Ridge and the Keyhole (also known as the “window”). The Keyhole is a good destination for a day hike being 3.0 miles (one-way) and 2050 vertical feet. From here, the terrain changes dramatically. If you are feeling good and the weather is cooperating, one can cross to the other side of the ridge, but be careful as there is a short section that is steep with poor footing (sit on your butt if unsure). There is a great lunch spot only ¼-mile past the Keyhole with a fine view of the South San Juan’s. Continuing on, at the junction with Quartz Lake Trail No. 568, turn east and descend to Middle Earth on spectacular trail construction consisting of rebar and cable done with special permission after becoming a designated wilderness area. From junction it is 1 mile to Quartz Lake with a descent of 470 ft. Soon pass Blanco River Trail No. 573 on the south. Continue with occasional clear tread along an undulating up and down traverse to the saddle of the 12,245-foot Quartz Creek Trail junction.
Directions: From US 84, turn left onto Mill Creek Road (CR 302), a gravel road. Drive 6.3 miles to a fork; keep right onto Nipple Mountain Road/FS 665. Continue on this gravel road for an additional 9.7 miles to the trailhead. The road gets somewhat rough the last couple miles.
Driving Directions Map (click here)