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Piedra River Nature Hike – Pagosa

August 8 @ 9:00 am - 1:30 pm

For the first time, SJMA in partnership with the US Forest Service, Pagosa Ranger District, is hosting educational geology hikes, free for the public, from May through October. These interpretive hikes, led and presented by geologist Dave Bouquett, will be in an area of the San Juan National Forest rich with evidence of earth’s geologic history from some of the area’s oldest metamorphic rocks, to Cretaceous seaways, to Tertiary volcanoes, to modern glacial deposits.

This Canyon Rocks! – Piedra River Trail
One of the most popular hiking trails in the Pagosa area for families and experienced hikers alike, threads through a great mix of river canyon, meadows, and forest. Shortly after leaving the parking area, the trail drops moderately into a beautiful, narrow sandstone canyon through which the Piedra River cascades over rocks and boulders in its path. The shady cool of the tree-covered canyon is a welcome relief on a hot summer day. Rocks and boulders cover much of the path so sure footing and appropriate footwear are a must. The bottom of the canyon then opens into a serene riparian meadow through which the trail meanders. Approximately 2.9 miles from the trailhead is the second of two steel pedestrian bridges on this hike, this one crossing the Piedra River. Nearby some of the oldest rock in the area is found. Though the trail continues, this will be our planned turn-around point as we return back up the same canyon trail we descended. Hike time is approximately 4 hours total, 6 miles round trip, and a 600 ft. vertical ascent round trip. We will stop for approximately ½ hour along the trail to eat, so pack your own lunch.

When: August 8, 2024, 9am – 1:30pm

Where:  The group will initially gather at the Coyote Hill trailhead on County Road 600 (Piedra Road), then travel together to a point just before the Piedra River trailhead. The group will then proceed to the Piedra River trailhead where both hikes will commence. Allow at least 25 minutes of driving time from downtown Pagosa Springs to the Coyote Hill trailhead where we’ll meet. From Highway 160 at the traffic light near milepost 141, go north on County Road 600 (Piedra Rd.) aprox. 6.5 miles to the Coyote Hill trailhead, located on the right just past the cattle guard where the paved road turns to maintained gravel.

What to Bring:
Layers of cool & warm clothing
Water (1/2 to 1 liter per hour),
Sturdy, supportive footwear
Rain jacket or poncho
Hiking Daypack
Sunscreen & sunglasses

Cost: Free, $10 donation is greatly appreciated!

NOTE: Although pets are allowed in the national forest, we ask that pets be left at home as a courtesy to the other guests in the group.

Registration is required.


August 8
9:00 am - 1:30 pm
Event Category: