South Fork / Archuleta Lake Semiloop

South Fork, Colorado 81154

South Fork / Archuleta Lake Semiloop

South Fork / Archuleta Lake Semiloop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Hike this semiloop, and you’ll find scenic lakes and solitude. Note, however, that the South Fork Trail is very difficult to follow. There are many downed trees, and often the trail just disappears: Carry and know how to use a map and compass and/or GPS. The first 3 miles or so make this a wonderful day hike.

You may not camp—or picket, hobble, tether, or graze pack or riding stock—within 200 feet of Archuleta Lake. Campfires are also prohibited. High-creek crossings are possible, especially early in the season. This hike is strenuous due to length and elevation gain of nearly 3,000 feet; moderate if you cover only the first 3 miles as a day hike."

South Fork / Archuleta Lake Semiloop Trip Reports

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This trail guide is pretty outdated. We hiked up trail 839 starting at the Big Meadows Boat ramp parking lot and the new route is different than the author's so the mileage is different. We came to the junction of the South Fork trail (750) and could only follow the trail a short distance down to Archuleta Creek. After that the trail disappeared with a lot of underbrush and fallen trees. So we cancelled that plans and just hiked up to Archuleta Lakes for two nights. A short distance after the first Archuleta Creek crossing trail (about 2.5 miles) trail maintenance stopped and we had to maneuver around a lot of fallen trees the rest of the way up to Archuleta Lake. With all the dead trees, there were no safe camping spots until you reach Archuleta Lake. Except for seeing some day hikers within the first couple of miles after Big Meadows Reservoir we only saw a couple of hikers up on the Continental Divide trail. It was a great trip but were disappointed we couldn't complete the loop.
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Trail Information

South Fork
Nearby City
3,000 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Additional Use
Rio Grande National Forest, Divide Ranger District, Creede; (719) 658-2556
Local Contacts
USGS Mount Hope and South River Peak; Trails Illustrated Weminuche Wilderness; DeLorme 3D TopoQuad CD-ROM; Maptech Terrain Navigator CD-ROM
Local Maps

Trail Log