Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rim Trail and Transfer Trail Loop-Transfer Campground

The Rim Trail and the Transfer Trail are part of the Transfer Campground Trail System in the San Juan National Forest near Mancos in southwest Colorado.

I started along the Rim Trail where is crosses Forest Road 561, about a mile south of the Transfer Campground and followed the loop clockwise. After about 200 yards there is a trail junction with the Box Canyon Trail. The Box Canyon Trail is part of the loop I followed but I walked this part at the end of the hike.

The Rim Trail continues along the rim of the canyon overlooking the West Mancos River, snowmelt fed from the LaPlata Mountains. There were excellent views of Mt. Hesperus and the other snowy peaks of this range of Colorado mountains.

It is about 1 mile to the Transfer Campground. The route continues down the West Mancos Trail into the canyon to a trail junction with the Transfer Trail. The West Mancos Trail continues upstream and the Transfer Trail goes down stream.

The Transfer Trail was a fairly rough route along the West Mancos River. In May, there was water flow across the trail in places making for some steep slippery spots and a number of very large trees had crashed during the winter. Some short detours were needed and some scrambling over thick trunks was called for. These spots will probably be cleared later in the season.

The forest was very thick at the canyon bottom, mostly spruce and Douglas Firs and there were still patches of snow along the banks.

The Box Canyon Trail junction is just past a flow control structure that seems to appear just when you think you're in the deepest wilderness. This segment climbs back to the rim. It took me about 2:30 hours to walk this loop of about 3 miles.

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