Thursday, June 12, 2008

Rusts Sawmill LoopTrail

The Rusts Sawmill Loop is an unofficial route that uses segments of the Boggy Draw Trail System in the San Juan National Forest just west of Dolores in southwest Colorado. It goes past the Rusts Sawmill Historic Site.I started at Forest Road 257 which is at the Bean Canyon hairpin turn on paved Forest Road 526. The lengthy Bean Canyon Trail crosses Forest Road 257 about 100 yards down the road.

I turned right or south and followed the Bean Canyon Trail up the scenic side canyon for about 20 minutes until the junction with the Boggy Draw ATV Trail, then left or north.

The forest up the side canyon has a lot of aspens at the bottom with Ponderosa Pine on the canyon sides.

The Boggy Draw ATV Trail follows a main power line in this area. I followed this route north, climbing out of the side canyon and looping back toward Bean Canyon.
The ATV Trail seems to split at the rim of Bean Canyon. The more heavily traveled choice seems to plunge roughly straight over the side. The alternate to the right is more of an easy switchback route that veers away from the power line, then turns back towards it.

The forest here is Ponderosa with Gambel Oak. The alternates rejoin near the junction with Road 257.

Turning left or west on Forest Road 257 leads back to the start of the loop, about a mile away. On the left is the Rusts Sawmill Site.
The interpretive sign is in ruins as is the old sawmill site. This was the first major sawmill and railroad to the western part of the forest and operated in 1905-06. Rust had his own four mile rail line connecting to the main line in Dolores.

It took me about 1:10 to walk this loop of about 3 miles.

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