Length: 12.2-miles (one-way)
Trailhead Facilities: None
Short Trail Summary: The eastern terminus of the Piedra River Trail overlooks rafters, ice caves and otherwise grand landscape and will be busier in the summer season. The western terminus is more difficult to reach, thus quieter.
This is an excellent trail any time of the year offering something for every type of outdoor enthusiast. The trail journeys through a great mix of river canyon, meadows, and forest. Wildlife viewing, whitewater rafting, fishing, backpacking, bird watching, wildflowers and ample photography opportunities are to be found along this trail.
Passing through aspen groves – take time to enjoy the scenic view in all directions before descending into the river canyon, walking along sheer cliffs, past overhangs, and under tall trees. Soon, reach the level of the river bank where the trail will begin to change more dramatically and with difficulty as the trail turns somewhat from the river.
Several trails will come in from the north permitting more lengthy backpacking opportunities, but your route will continue in the river tread, eventually reaching the tight Second Box Canyon where the river grows in width to the westernmost trail terminus.
Piedra Trailhead Directions: Drive North on Piedra Road (CR 600/FS 631) 16-miles crossing Piedra River on a bridge and to the parking area immediately after on the west side of the road.
First Fork Trailhead Directions: Drive West on Hwy 160 for 22-miles. Turn north onto First Fork Road (FS 622). Road is gravel. Follow for 12-miles to the road’s end. This is a shared trailhead. Access the trailhead furthest east.
Photo Credits: AllThingsPagosa.com and Trip Advisor, specific contributor unknown