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San Juan National Forest Re-opened

The Stage 3 fire and access restrictions to the San Juan National Forest have been rolled back to a Stage 2 condition which means access to the forest is once more open to the public. However, fire conditions still remain high and we are currently in the middle of a strong heat wave. Consult current regulations with the San Juan NF before planning any trips. Fines for violations are significant. 

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Directions

From the Town of Silverton, drive east to where the paved road splits one block past the courthouse and veer right onto blue-signed County Road 2 (set odometer here) for 4.2 miles of nicely graded dirt road to Howardsville. (On Trails Illustrated map #141, this road is labeled #110. Pavement ends after 2 miles.) Turn right onto BLM/FS Road 589 for Cunningham Gulch and Stony Pass. At 4.4 miles, stay right and avoid going up to the "Old Mine Tour." At 5.9 miles driving south, take the left fork for Stony Pass and begin the climb out of Cunningham Gulch. The Stony Pass road is BLM/FS 737. Once you leave Cunningham Gulch, the road will begin to degrade to a 4WD/high clearance status. In 1998, when we made this trip, vehicles like Subaru wagons could have made it to the summit of Stony Pass. In subsequent years, the road has experienced enough traffic and weathering to have some rough spots where a higher clearance vehicle is the safer bet. This road is also quite steep for its short duration of about 3 miles to the summit. Once at the top of the pass, park at a small turnout on the south side of the road.


Camping

Best place for overnight camping would be back down in Cunningham Gulch, south of the turnoff for Stony Pass. There are a few at-large campsites before the road in Cunningham ends. Otherwise, it's possible to park and car or tent camp at the pass. We do not recall any camp spots on along the 3 mile drive up to Stony Pass.

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