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Molas Trail

SUBMITTED BY:    Waldemar Winkler

GPS COORDINATES:   37.46700, -108.209400

ELEVATION:     10,800’ - 8,900’ (3291m - 2712m)


Hwy 550 North for 42.4 miles (zero trip odometer at Durango city limits).

Stay on Hwy 550 North.

Drive over two passes, Coal Bank Hill (10, 600’) and Molas Pass (10,800’).

Approx 1 mile past Molas Pass summit on the Right is a public parking lot (dirt), which may have a sign, “Silverton Powdercats”. Park here.

Molas Trail is a section of the Colorado Trail, a through trail from Denver to Durango. Heading east off Molas Pass, Molas Trail descends into the Animas River valley and connects with Elk Creek Trail #503 (located within the Weminuche Wilderness). The first part of the trail gently descends through some pretty meadows next to the creek. This section of the trail offers excellent views of the Grenadiers and Needles. The trail then begins to drop sharply down the 1,500-ft. descent to the Animas River. Keep in mind that you will have to climb on your way back. West from Molas Pass the Colorado Trail stays at high elevation, above treeline for most of the way to Bolam Pass. This and the connecting trails in the area are popular high altitude mountain bike trails once the snow melts in July.

  • Distance (one-way): 4 miles

  • Maximum/starting elevation: 10,600 feet (Molas Trailhead)

  • Minimum/ending elevation: 8,900 feet (at Animas River)

ROAD CONDITIONS: (mark yes if applies)

       PAVED:   Yes. Highway to parking lot. No motorized vehicles beyond.




       OTHER: Hikers, bicycles, and horses also use these trails

ACCESSIBILITY: (Mark yes if applies)

       ANY VEHICLE:            Yes. .


       4x4 VEHICLE:             

       OTHER:  .

BEST TIME OF YEAR:   Late Spring to Late Fall. Skiing and Snowmobile in designated areas during winter.



HIKING INFO:    This area varies from timberline tundra to valley forrest. There will be a scattering of aspen groves. Your favorite camera is probably the best. A light weight tripod is a good idea. A normal round trip hike to the Animas River is about 4 hours. Photographers should add two hours. Also, the return hike involves an elevation gain of 1500 feet. This is high altitude. Bring snacks and water. Avoid dehydration. OTHER


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