Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Goble Trail

The Goble Trail is a 3.5 mile loop trail that climbs out of the West Fork of the Dolores River Valley up toward Nipple Mountain in the San Juan National Forest in southwest Colorado.
The trail head is about 10 miles north along paved West Fork forest road 535 and about 22 miles total north of the town of Dolores. There are a lot of trout fishing spots along the road here.

The lower part of the trail climbs along a small creek for about 15 minutes before reaching the loop. The forest along the creek is thick and mixed with Aspens, Engelmann Spruce, Douglas Fir, and Narrow Leaf Cottonwoods.

. This trail appears to get some use by horse riders, probably not very much from mountain bikers.
I took about 0:50 minutes of fairly steep climbing to get to the high point of the trail where the forest opened up into a meadow area and there were views of Nipple Mountain to the west topping out at 9763 feet. There is an old corral up on top along the trail and signs of cattle.

There are also views across the West Fork Valley to Stoner Mesa but no views to the mountains in the nearby Lizard Head Wilderness. The trail is a little confusing in this area as cow trails lead off in different directions. 

There are signs to help keep hikers on the trail but you have to keep an eye out for them and keep in mind that you want to loop back down to the east.

The south loop as I descended is a little more open and drier forest than the north side of the loop. There were ponderosa Pines in the higher area of this route. In mid August 2008 there were a few wildflowers along the trail but nothing spectacular. The lush mix of trees along the creek was more interesting than the flowers. It took about 1:40 hours to walk this loop trail.

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