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Blaine Basin


The Blaine Basin Trail is accessed from the West Dallas trailhead, which shares a trailhead with the Blue Lakes Trail off the East Dallas Road. On Highway 62, going west out of Ridgway, turn left on the East Dallas Creek road and drive 8.8 miles, past Willow Swamp and the National Forest boundary to a locked gate. Park there. To access the Dallas Trail, keep going straight at the point where the Blue Lakes Trail branches off to the right. At 2.1 miles, shortly after making sharp left turn away from the creek, you will find the Blaine trailhead.


Blaine Basin offers spectacular views of the north face of Mount Sneffels, Kismet and Cirque Mountain. Much of the way to the Basin is at an easy grade through forest, partly along Wilson Creek. The round trip is 6.4 miles with an altitude gain of 1,400 feet.

Going south from the junction with the Blue Lakes Trail, the Dallas route crosses East Dallas Creek on an old bridge and goes uphill to the left. Staying to the left at two side roads, you will cross Wilson Creek a mile from the trailhead. Just before reaching the creek, take the trail going up to the right and then down to a crossing on two logs. Go right at the junction beyond the creek. At 1.6 miles, the next crossing of Wilson Creek requires greater caution. After this crossing, watch for a big boulder on the left--at this point, you will get a splendid view of a high waterfall ahead.

The final crossing of Wilson Creek comes at 1.9 miles. After a sharp left turn away from the creek at 2.1 miles, the trail passes a cairn on the left marking the Dallas Trail; keep straight for Blaine. The trail now gets steeper at times, but the grand panorama of the Basin opens up before you at 3.0 miles. Switchbacks visible ahead are a portion of trail still heading to the upper basin. Surrounding peaks, clockwise, are Cirque Mountain, Kismet, Mount Sneffels, and Blaine Peak. SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS: The stream crossing on this trail can be tricky, especially during times of high runoff. In the Basin, weather changes may come rapidly from the ridges around you. Be prepared to leave quickly from exposed areas. A reminder: Entering mines is hazardous; rockfalls and low oxygen in the air can be fatal.
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