|Elevation Gain||607 feet|
|My Time||1 hr 23 min|
|Food Nearby||Destination Grill|
Colorado’s Only Geyser – Dolores Geyser
Did you know that there is an active geyser in Colorado? Located in the San Juan National Forest in Southwest Colorado’s Dolores County, the geyser is the only active geyser in the state. The hike is about a mile and half with moderate elevation gain through a wooded area that is quite lovely.
Located between the towns of Dolores and Dunton, the trail head is off of county road 38 down a dirt road that is in good shape. The start of the hike is one of the more picturesque I have seen. A nice wooden bridge crosses the West Dolores River in the middle of a beautiful meadow.
At the end of June, the water in the river was high and the trees and grasses were bright green. The meadow is fairly large and there was family having a picnic near the river which looked nice. After crossing the bridge, the trail heads up a small hill and heads towards the woods where there will be nice cover for most of the hike.
The woods are combination of aspens and pines with a large population of aspen trees. This would be an awesome hike in the fall when the leaves are changing. This is also where the elevation gets a little bit tougher for those who aren’t accustomed to it.
As the trail makes it way through the woods it narrows a bit but is still easy to follow. The inclines are steady and range from a 5% grade all the way up to short burst of a 23% grade. In total, the one mile incline gains about 500 feet of elevation once you hit the woods. This is pretty consistent but doesn’t really get overwhelming.
Also, at about a third of mile into the hike there are a couple of stream crossings that can get a bit deep depending on the season and the runoff. I made it over one on a log but slipped in on the way down so keep that in mind especially if you are hiking with smaller kids.
At around 1.2 miles into the hike the trail levels off and the worst of the elevation is over for awhile. When the trees open up, the views from the high ground are pretty amazing looking down the green valley and across to the other tree lined hills in the area.
This flatter section runs about two tenths of a mile before you make it to the geyser. The trail gets a little overgrown the closer you get to the geyser and there were some trees down when I hiked it so it got a little tricker but still not too hard to follow.
At just under a mile and half you will arrive at Colorado’s only geyser! The geyser is more of a small bubbling pool that erupts every 30 to 40 minutes but isn’t consistent. The eruption is more of just a bubbling like a boiling pot than Old Faithful but it still pretty cool to see. When the geyser does erupt, it releases carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide gas. The hydrogen sulfide gas gives the area a bit of sulfur or rotten egg smell.
According to a sign posted, the area around the geyser is generally considered safe but if visitors feel lightheaded or ill they need to leave the area. There is also absolutely no swimming or bathing in the geyser. In fact it is best not to try get too close to the pool.
It is very cool to see Colorado’s Only Geyser. Especially in an out of the way area that is hidden up in the woods. If you didn’t know it was there you would probably never know but anytime you can see a geological wonder it is worth the time!
Video of the hike to Colorado’s Only Geyser – Dolores Geyser
I have put this time-lapse video together of the hike to Colorado’s Only Geyser so other hikers can get a feel of what the hike is like. If you enjoy this video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get the latest outdoor content.
Distance and Elevation
If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 2.8 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 607 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 9,196 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hours and 23 minutes.
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This was a bit of the tricky hike effort wise. For the short mile and a half out to the geyser there is over 600 feet of elevation which is a bit steep for some. The trail is pretty easy to manage but there is some water crossing depending on the season. The geyser is actually down a hill a bit which gives you a bit more uphill on the way back. I am going to list this as a moderate hike due to the elevation.
The trail to Colorado’s only Geyser is well used and well worn. It is easy to follow although it does get a little narrow at times. Made up of mostly hard packed dirt, there are a couple of places that water overtakes the trail and water crossing is necessary depending on the season. There was also some overgrowth closer to the geyser. There is a lot of good cover and lots of aspen and pine trees.
The tailhead for the Dolores Geyser is at trail number 648 (Geyser Spring) in Dolores county near Dunton, Colorado. County road 38 will take you there and is a bit of a dirt road that is easy to handle. The trailhead has room for about 10 cars including room for horse trailers. There are no restroom facilities.
Wrapping up hiking to Colorado’s Only Geyser – Dolores Geyser
I had a really good time hiking to Colorado’s Only Geyser in Dolores County. The hike itself blew me away. Everything was so green! The meadow at the start of the hike was beautiful with the river running through it and the small bridge to cross. The the hike is through a nice tree canopy before making it to the geyser. I have hiked a lot of Colorado and it still blows me away to see something new!
On a personal note, Colorado’s only geyser is located in Dolores County. Dolores county is the 37th out of 63 counties that I have hiked in on my quest to hike in every county of Colorado. A wonderful state to hike in all across the state!
I have added this hike and all of my hikes to the interactive map page you can find here. If you have any suggestions for hikes or comments feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!