Cunningham Gulch and Stony Pass Trail is a must do and scenic Colorado trail. It has a lot of history along with it including Ute and Spanish artifacts which have been found in the area. This is also a popular fishing area closer to the Creede end of the trail near the Rio Grande Reservoir, so it can get busy near this area. There are 4 established campgrounds along this trail, all are small and heavily used. Lots of dispersed camping.
Although there are areas on this trail that go in and out of open spaces with plenty of room to pass, there are just as many areas where the trail gets tight, down to one lane, and either surrounded by trees with no space to pass or heading straight down tight switchbacks. If you are planning on camping along this trail, many of the dispersed camping areas are small as well. No more than 3 rigs recommended.
2.0- 4WD recommended for some parts of this trail, which runs right next to the Rio Grande almost the entire length. We ran this from Creede to Silverton, and the trail starts out as a wide graded dirt road, eventually climbing higher into the mountains on shelf roads. Soon it turns into a single lane unmaintained dirt road, with a lot of potholes and some sand. As you climb higher to Stony Pass you enter a heavily wooded area with few places to pull off to pass, fallen trees and tight spots. Eventually you come out into an open meadow with many river and stream crossings. Beware of the Pole Creek river crossing which can run high in the early season due to heavy snow run off. We crossed it in mid July with about 2.5 feet of water. You will start climbing again eventually reaching Stony Pass at 12588 feet (be aware of altitude sickness) and crossing the Continental Divide. Start making your way back down the mountain into Cunningham Gulch and steep, single-lane switchbacks. The trail ends at the Howardsville town site, head left to Silverton or right to Animas Forks and Engineers Pass.
Located in southwestern Colorado, this trail runs east/west from Howardsville (north of Silverton) to Creede, Co.
Aerial of the trail:
Starts out as a wide graded dirt road:
Trail starts to climb into greener areas with great camping next to the Rio Grande:
Example of sandy road through aspens:
There is one great overlook in the wooded area:
Heading down into the meadow:
Where the famous Rio Grande starts:
Getting closer to Stony Pass:
Into Cunningham Gulch:
Example of the shelf road heading down:
Previous AZFJ Runs to this Trail
: 37.763706,-107.388681,best camping spot EVER