One of the day trips that we took from our campground was along US 160 over Wolf Creek Pass to Pagosa Springs.
From South Fork we began climbing out of the San Louis Valley up into the San Juan Mountains. The wilderness streams and imposing rock formations make for a fantastic drive as you climb up toward the legendary Wolf Creek Pass. It lies at 10,856 ft on the Continental Divide with a significantly steep grade on either side. A fun song that eulogized the pass is by C. W. McCall’s spoken-word song of the same name, in which the pass is described as “37 miles o’ hell — which is up on the Great Divide …. It was hairpin county and switchback city, One of ’em looked like a can full of worms. Another one looked like malaria germs.” At the pass is a parking area with signs about the Divide and the history of the road, a great place to pull off and catch your breath. Just before you get to the pass is an exit for a 3-mile forest service gravel road that winds its way up to the very top of the 11,760 ft unnamed peak north of Wolf Creek Pass, where the Lobo Overlook provides stunning panoramic views of the San Juans. There aren’t many places where you can drive to the top of a high elevation mountain on the Continental Divide! It’s a great place for a picnic lunch and as you walk around you’ll probably notice one thing that’s missing at the top – a fair amount of oxygen.
From the pass we wound our way down with a stop at Treasure Falls. The waterfall is visible from the parking area but requires a short but steep hike to get near the base and a clear view. The waterfall cascades 105 feet into Falls Creek, which connects with the San Juan River. From there the road roughly follows the San Juan River to Pagosa Springs. Several years ago we spent time here and enjoyed the hot springs and explored the region. This time in addition to a fun day trip we made a necessary shopping stop at the Pagosa Walmart.
Views from Lobo Overlook of the San Juan Mountains