Monday, May 19, 2008

Bean Canyon Trail at Boggy Draw

The Bean Canyon Trail is a major loop of about 16 miles off of the Boggy Draw Trail system in the San Juan National Forest about 3 miles west of Dolores in southwest Colorado.
  Starting at the main trail head of the Boggy Draw Trail it is about 10 minutes to the first junction, a left turn, with the Bean Canyon Trail. This segment crosses the ATV trail under the power lines twice and the terrain is park like open Ponderosa Pine forest.

In another 20 minutes there is a crossing of paved forest road 526. In addition to this crossing there are four other places to access the trail besides the main trail head.

From the road 526 crossing the route descends south into Bean Canyon and follows the floor. There was a little bit of water flow at the bottom and the canyon was deep, with sandstone rims high above.

This looked like a difficult section for biking. As the trail descended there was a transition from the Ponderosa Pine forest to Pinon Pine and Juniper on the canyon walls, but with some Aspens appearing at the bottom.

After 1 hour on this segment I came within view of the House Creek paved road 528. There is a rough forest road intersecting the trail near the paved road. This access point is 3.5 miles west from the junction of Forest Roads 528 and 526.

From the point where House Creek Road 528 is visible at the bottom of Bean Canyon, the trail crosses the creek and then rose moving north toward the junction of paved Forest Road 526 and 528. The forest changes back from Pinon Juniper to Ponderosa pine as you climb.

There are more views along this segment than the others, some views back toward McPhee Reservoir and some to the mountains to the north. There is a glimpse of Lone Cone Mountain.

There is one scenic pond along this segment. After 1:10 on this segment the trail comes very close to Road 526 at point 0.9 miles south from the 526 and 528 junction, but there is no sign along the road indicating this.

After crossing the paved 526 this segment descends back into upper Bean Canyon and crosses rough Forest Road 257 near the hairpin turn. This is another access point for hikers.

From this point at the Road 257 access, the hairpin turn, and it was 40 minutes to the second junction with the Boggy Trail and I could see Road 527. This segment followed a side canyon bottom away from Bean Canyon and there was a little water flowing.

The trail follows an old fence line as it climbs toward the trail junction. The canyon bottom had aspens along with the tall Ponderosa Pines. Near the trail junction there is a large meadow area.

From the meadow trail junction area back to the main trailhead is another 30 minutes. This segment returns along the Boggy Draw Trail. It took me about 7 hours of walking to cover the 16 miles, but I did it in several


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