Blue Creek and Devil Mountain 4×4 trails in Pagosa Springs
by Norm Vance
There are many short off-road trails in the Pagosa Country area but many are too short to cover here. Most of the old trails have either been closed to motorized use or improved to Forest Access Road status. There are hundreds of miles of these improved roads the off-road driver will enjoy. See the U.S. Forest Service map for these. Below are two of the longer off-road trails. Also see the article on the East Fork Road and Elwood Pass on this website.
BLUE CREEK JEEP TRAIL
The Blue Creek Trail connects the Blanco Road and the Buckles Lake Road in southeast Pagosa Country. On the map find the Blanco Road about eight miles south on Hwy 84. The trail turns south just 2.25 miles from the highway. There is a sign to point the way.
Part of this trail was the original road from Chama, New Mexico to Pagosa Springs. Few signs of this early use remain except a couple of cabins and small barns in poor shape. It does give one pause to consider that what we think of as a jeep trail was once a main road.
This trail is a “roller coaster” as it rolls around or up and over many ridges and low mountains. There is one river crossing (Blanco River) that can be a problem in early spring or during hard rain run-off. There is also a spring fed bog near the south end that you should pay attention to.
In very wet conditions this is a poor trail because of muddy and steep sections. A life was lost on this trail recently during wet conditions near the north end.
DEVIL MOUNTAIN JEEP TRAIL and WILDLIFE AREA
These two roads provide a full day of off-road adventure. Look for these roads west of Pagosa turning north from Hwy 160 in the area just west of Chimney Rock. Between these two roads is the First Fork Road that is not a Jeep trail, but is well worth the drive for the excellent views along the Piedra River. The Devil Mtn. Trail is no longer open to the fire lookout tower, but you can hike the short distance. Road 620 connects the highway with Beaver Meadows Access Road, has a nice loop and is a fun Jeep trail with excellent views.
The Piedra River drainage system attracts a lot of wildlife so be alert and you may see deer, elk and other animals.