Upper Rim Extended Loop (Gate 5)

  • Rating: Easy with a few rocky technical sections

  • Distance: 5.5-mile loop

  • Elevation

    • Trailhead: 7,560 feet

    • Max: 7700 feet

    • Min: 7440 feet

    • Gain: 480 feet

  • Trailhead Directions: Upper Rim Trail (#312), 6.4 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs)

  • Trail Map

  • Road Status: North Pagosa Blvd - open year-round

  • Notes: Bike, hike, or trail run.  Great views/picnic spots along the canyon rim.

Boulder Trail

Boulder Trail

Boulder Trail

Boulder Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Upper Rim Trail

Located 6.4 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs, Upper Rim Trail begins at Gate 5, which is one of the most popular routes in the area because it's short, accessible, and offers great views of Martinez Canyon.  Because it's mostly south-facing, Upper Rim is one of the 1st trails to dry out in the spring (it's usually mostly dry by mid-April).  If the 4-mile Upper Rim Loop isn't quite long enough, you can extend it by 1.5 miles and see a green meadow and lush canyon. 

 

If you do the loop clockwise, you'll spend the first 1.5 miles paralleling the scenic, rocky edge of the canyon rim, with glimpses of the cottonwood-lined creek 100 feet below.  This section of trail is mostly downhill and is covered with blocky sandstone chunks, which offer many ankle-twisting opportunities.  The trail turns northwest and follows the rim of a tributary canyon, climbing to a trail junction at mile 2.3.   

 

Take a left at the trail junction onto Creek Trail and descend into a shallow canyon.  At the next trail junction near the creekbed, take a left onto the Lower Rim Trail and cross the creekbed.  At mile 2.8, as you descend into the Powerline Meadow, take a right on Boulder Trail and traverse the edge of the large meadow. 

 

Boulder Trail Ts at Catamount just after you pass the large, namesake sandstone boulder.  Take a right on Catamount and climb over a steep ridge and drop into another meadow.  You'll pass Round Park Trail at mile 3.7 just as you descend into a shallow canyon and cross the same creek that you crossed earlier. 

Climb gradually through the lush canyon and then at mile 4.4, veer right onto Bear Trail.  Follow Bear Trail to the T with Newt Jack Trail at mile 4.7.  Take a right and descend the rocky Newt Jack Trail to the junction with the Upper Rim Trail.  Veer left on the Upper Rim Trail and follow it back to the Gate 5 trailhead.  

 
  • Instagram

©2018 by South San Juans. Proudly created with Wix.com