To reach the Lime Mesa Trailhead, you need to access FR 682 on the east side of the Purgatoire River and north of Durango. We offer three ways to do that:
1. If driving south on US 550 and still well north of town, after passing turnoffs for Electra Lake and Haviland Lake, watch for a turnoff on the east side of the highway just a little over 8 miles south of the turnoff for Electra Lake. This turn accesses CR 250, aka: "East Animas Road." If you notice Pinkerton Hot Spring on the east side of the highway, you have gone past the turn by a few hundred yards. Turn east onto CR250 and follow it as it curves first north, then south and crosses Academy Drive, (a straight running north-south road). Continue on CR 250 across Academy Drive and 250 turns NNW to descend to the river crossing on what is called, "Baker's Bridge." This is a popular summer swimming and diving area where the river is pinched between rock outcrops. It's about .7 mile to the bridge crossing from US 550. Once across, the same road continues south, then west, then straight south again to a "T" junction where you must turn left or right. Head right/west here and follow the road which will soon turn back south again. Continue following CR 250 south until it comes to the intersection for FR 682 which turns sharply to the left and begins to angle uphill to the NNE. From the Baker's Bridge crossing, it's approximately 3.5 miles to this intersection.
2. Again, you'll be on US550 well north of Durango. For this access, turn east onto Trimble Lane, a well-marked road and intersection. Trimble Lane is also known as CR 252. Follow Trimble across the river and it will soon intersect CR 250., aka: East Animas Road. Go north on CR250 for about 3.75 miles to the intersection with FR682, where you will veer right to access this long, graded gravel road.
3. From the town of Durango, locate the City Market on the east side of US 550 and at the SE corner of US 550 and East 32nd St. Go east on E. 32nd for 1.5 miles, crossing the river and this city street will intersect CR 250, aka: East Animas Road. Make a left/north turn and drive appx. 10.7 miles north to the intersection with FR 682. Veer right to head up the graded, gravel forest road.
Once on FR682, aka: Missionary Ridge Road, drive 17.5 miles generally north to northeast to an intersection for Henderson Lake. FR682 initially climbs up the mountainside on an endless series of 11 switchbacks before it begins to level out some. When it does, you'll be driving through areas of the Missionary Ridge Fire of 2002 that charred 73,000 acres. The Henderson Lake turnoff is to the right after the tedious 17.5 miles of gravel road. Coordinates for this intersection are: N 37° 30' 41.13" W 107° 40' 50.47", 9,900 ft. elevation. This road is designated as FR 081. The road soon passes on the west side of Henderson Lake and continues through forest to the trailhead in about 5 miles. The last 2 miles become quite rough and slow with potholes. This is the portion that requires the higher clearance. The trailhead is designated by a split rail type fence marking an area off for parking. Plan on total drive time exceeding 1.5 hours.
There are limited camping opportunities at Henderson Lake and ample places at the trailhead. Along FR 081, there are also other primitive spots as well. The farther you get past Henderson Lake, ( a popular fishing location), the more likely you'll find an unoccupied spot.