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Hike-in Required
No
Open Year-round
No
ADA accessible
No
Guided tours
No
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

If you are visiting the area or staying at the South Mineral Campground, you will not regret spending a few hours exploring South Fork Mineral Creek. The water is a deep turquoise as a result of the rock powder suspended in it that comes from glacier erosion over thousands of years. The blue water contrasts over the red riverbed rock, and in fall, the yellow willows and shrubs add to the palette and provide plenty of photo opportunities.

The best way to explore the creek is by hiking southwest from the campground. Be ready to get in the water and cross to either side. The first step is to cross the smaller Clear Creek, then to continue the hike along South Fork Mineral Creek. Along the way there are waterfalls and pools where the currents form interesting patterns. Of particular interest is a double waterfall just under a mile from the campground. 

Alternatively, it is possible to drive along NF-585 following the creek southwest from the campground. There are several spots to park for a walk down to the creek. Note that after the first 1.5 miles from the campground the road becomes very rocky, thus a high-clearance vehicle is required, preferably one with four-wheel drive. After almost 3 miles on the road you will pass an old mine claim, crossing the creek on a wide spot, and reach the road's end; there is a good area to camp, though there are no restrooms there. East of the campground there are spots to camp and fish, and there are also beautiful views of the creek from US-550.

Wildlife in the area include deer, elk, and moose, though be aware that moose can be aggressive, especially during the rut, so keep a safe distance.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

Not Required

Open from

May 01 to September 30

Pros

Beautiful waterfalls. Great mountain views.

Cons

Long drive from Denver.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Features

Wildflowers
Big vistas
Geologically significant
Waterfalls

Location

Field Guide

Comments

08/03/2016
This is truly a unique and incredible spot in Southwest Colorado. I've never seen anything else like it in Colorado. The gorge, falls, lichen and blue glacial-fed pools are mesmerizing. This is a MUST do for anyone camping at South Fork Mineral Creek Campground or hiking the Ice lake trail across from the campground. Thanks Outdoor Project as this adventure was amazing!
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