The trail is 1.5 miles to the geyser, and 1.5 miles back to the parking lot.
Destination Distance From Downtown
1 of 5 diamonds
This is one of the mildest trails you will find in the area.
Time To Complete
At a steady moderate pace it should take two hours at the most.
Spring, Summer, and Fall
The new addition of a nice wooden bridge ensures crossing the river is easy for three seasons. The snow in the winter prevents access by road.
The Geyser Spring Trail is a quick out and back that provides beautiful Rocky Mountain vistas and access to the only true geyser in Colorado. The trail winds it’s way through dense aspen groves uphill through switchbacks to the top of a ridge. From here the trail cuts around the ridge, with beautiful views of the San Miguel mountain range, and down the other side to a ravine. Here you will find the geyser, ice blue in color and bubbling alongside a creek. The geyser erupts at approximately 30 minute intervals, although the action is very subtle.
What Makes It Great
Besides the geyser, the hike itself is a lot of fun. It’s quiet, relaxing, and fairly easy. The trail modestly climbs uphill on the way to the geyser, providing just enough of an incline to make it interesting but still relaxing. On the way back you can really take it easy and stroll down the ridge line while picking columbines along the way. The snow capped peaks of the San Miguels linger in the background, surrounded by even more mountains in every direction. The trailhead is so far past the middle of nowhere that you can truly experience the splendid isolation of the Colorado wilderness. It also ensures that you won’t see many other people. I was there recently on a Saturday in the fall, which really should have been peak hours, and we still had the place to ourselves.
The geyser is very interesting as well. It looks more like a hot spring, but it does have an eruption about every 30 to 40 minutes. By eruption I’m referring to a decent amount of bubbling and frothing, but nothing very intense. You could probably even soak in the pool if not for the excessive amount of sulphur fumes emanating from the water. The geyser is not very hot anyway, usually measuring at around 82 degrees. Those who would like to experience a true hot spring can find it close by though. Take a visit to Dunton hot springs resort after your hike, it’s located in an abandoned mining town just two miles away from the trailhead.
Who is Going to Love It
People like me who enjoy geological oddities will love this trail. Along the way to the geyser, the smell of sulphur will occasionally float by, released by the vents all over the mountain. It’s a quaint reminder of the volcanic activity that exists here in the Rockies. If your group is looking for a nice hike that would be appropriate for all ages and skill levels, this is a great choice. The mild terrain and short distance make a great trail for unexperienced hikers. Even more experienced hikers will enjoy the short trail to see the only geyser in Colorado.
The Geyser Spring trail is also especially appealing if you enjoy having the trail to yourself. I know sometimes I just want to go off on a hike alone and get away from civilization a little bit. This trail is a great place to do just that. The distance from highway ensures that you will see very little foot traffic, and the peaceful surroundings are sure to be popular with those seeking an alpine escape.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
To access the parking lot take highway 145 east from Dolores, Colorado. After about 12 miles you will see signs for West Dolores Road, take a left here. This road is also referred to by several other names, road 38 and road 535, so don’t be confused if you attempt to research it online. The trailhead will be on this road. Once the road turns to gravel it’s another eight miles to the parking lot on the right hand side.