Keeping Up With South Fork

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Hiking in South Fork at Bonita Pass to Silver Pass

Hiking Bonita Pass to Silver Pass in the Rio Grande National Forest. 

Don’t let this sleepy town tucked into the folds of the mountains fool you. Its small size is counteracted by the extraordinary amount of energy its 350 year-round residents generate through outdoor recreation. 

You may catch sight of the Silver Threads hiking group, who seem to get outdoors as often as they get out of bed. And the great outdoors is all around you in South Fork. Fish in the legendary waters of the Rio Grande River that meets the South Fork in town or try fly-fishing with a local guide.

Mountain Biking near South Fork, Colo.

Or hike and bike part of the Continental Divide Trail. If you're a golfer, head to the Rio Grande Golf Course, a difficult but spectacular mountain course.

Explore the Weminuche Wilderness just two miles from town. It’s one of the wildest places in the state. In 1979 the last Colorado grizzly was killed here, 27 years after they were thought to be extinct in the state.

3 Days of Adventure in the Rocky Mountains

Here are our suggestions for a 3-day fall weekend in the South Fork area:

Day 1: Take a Scenic Drive
Follow the Silver Thread Scenic & Historic Byway as it weaves in and out of mountain towns surrounded by dense foliage. Find directions, a map and download the app at

Day 2: Walk Among Strange Pinnacles and Hoodoos
Have strong legs and a sense of adventure? Take a 4wd vehicle down a backcountry road, then follow a footpath to a spectacular panoramic view of this wilderness canyon filled with lava formations. Learn more at

Wheeler Geological Area near South Form

Wheeler Geological Area

Day 3: Bring your Rod and Binoculars to High-Country Lakes
Big Meadows Reservoir is an accessible state wildlife area and fishing haven, where deer, bear and moose are easy to spot. 

Up for more? If the backcountry road is dry and in good condition, continue past Big Meadows Reservoir to get to two smaller lakes. You'll reach Shaw Lake after three miles and Hunter's Lake parking area after another 11 miles. A scenic 1-mile trail loops around the lake and is a great way to access the banks for fishing.

Trout Fishing near South Fork

For more information:
South Fork Visitor Center
(719) 873-5512
28 Silverthread Ln., at the junction of Hwy. 160 and Hwy. 149