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Del Norte Quarry Trail

Length: 4.5-6 Miles

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult

Driving Instructions

From Alamosa, drive US 160 west through Monte Vista and proceed another 10 miles and see the sign for the “BLM Quarry Trail System” on the left (south side) before going down a hill toward Del Norte. Drive the gravel road for 1/2 mile a short distance past the Rifle Range.. The trailhead is on your right.

Trailhead Parking

Park along the wide spots in the road. Parking is freestyle and free. Pets allowed.

Elevations

7,846 to 8,086 feet is the high point at the Quarry.

Description

These interconnecting trails are fun as they are like an obstacle course with banked turns, ups and downs over rocks and roots, tight turns, all of which make for a roundabout way to get to the Quarry but, it is as much for the journey as the destination.

Terrain

This is a classic area of high desert in the San Luis Valley. There are dry washes, rock formations and outcroppings, and vegetation from prickly pear cacti to yucca mixed with grasses and sage, with a few piñon and juniper trees spaced few and far between. The valley is always in view so it is difficult to get lost.

Water/Bathrooms

None. Fill up in nearby towns before arriving. Del Norte is four miles farther west if supplies are needed.

Pleasures and Perils

This area is a four season trail as the snow never gets too deep. It can be icy and muddy at times. In the summer, it can get quite hot during the day so this trail can be a good eye opening morning jaunt in the cooler temps, or an evening sunset excursion on foot or mountain bike. Because of the nature of the trails, it is about the journey being a fun course, whether challenging on a mountain bike for intense riders and trail runners, or by the sights of a slow hike. There are distant mountain views in all directions while you observe the rocks and vegetation that inhabits the high desert. The rules of the desert apply. There are things that can stick, stab, sting and bite. Rocks can be sharp and ankle biting and can cause problems for mountain bike tires. Cactus spines and yucca can also puncture tires easily. Rattlesnakes do inhabit the area. The edge of the quarry is a vertical drop if you have pets or children with you. It is a deep rock pit.

Significance

Many of the public buildings in Del Norte are built from the rock mined at this quarry. Enjoy the high desert environment and how Mother Nature gives her creatures the tools they need for survival. Much of the American West has similar terrain and vegetation in these sage covered regions along with many mountain ranges.

Notes

This area is near where the Old Spanish Trail came North through Colorado from Santa Fe New Mexico all the way to Los Angeles California in the 1820s to the early 1840s. Imagine being a trail guide across terrain like this for a thousand miles of deserts, mountain ranges, canyons, sparse water, dry streams, and only the occasional river.

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