Cave Basin Trail

Trail Length
5.4 miles
Distance from Durango
29 miles
1720 ft
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Cave Basin Trail

Durango to TH

29 Miles


1720 Feet



Trail Length

5.4 Miles

Part of the Vallecito, Colorado area.

Cave Basin Trail: Most Difficult; map skills suggested. Drive up Middle Mountain Road (USFS Road # 724 gravel) to the turn off at the ten mile marker. Cave Basin Trail begins at an elevation of 10,800 ft. If you go all the way you’ll end at an elevation of 12,360 ft. (the Overlook of Emerald Lake). Ten miles round trip, but any portion of is great way to experience some high elevation hiking. The trail starts off wide and well defined but disappears after about three miles due to the gray limestone that forms benches. Use your map and compass skills to progress across the gray limestone benches, past meadows and sinkholes. The alpine meadows are full of blooming wildflowers in late July and August. This area offers excellent views and photographic possibilities. As with all high-altitude areas, storms can move in rapidly bringing severe wind, lightning, rain, snow, or hail any time of the year. Plan accordingly.

Map & Directions

Map Coordinates: 37.541645, -107.468695

Where's the Trailhead?


Cave Basin Trails Area

From 9th Street & Main Avenue in Durango, head north on Main Avenue (Highway 550). Turn right on 32nd Street (CR 251) and continue. Take another right onto CR 250, and then a left at the light onto Florida Road (CR 240). Continue on CR 240 for 11.8 miles, then turn right to stay on CR 240 for 2.8 more miles. Turn left onto CR 501, turn left again onto Middle Mountain Road. Middle Mountain Rd turns slightly left and becomes Forest Service Road; your destination will be on your left.


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