Fall Colors · Views
Closed to bikes and motorized vehicles Oct 1 - May 15.
Please Respect and Protect archaeological sites: Stay on trail, help prevent damage. Don’t move artifacts, let everyone enjoy the discovery. Stay out of ancient buildings and off walls, they are fragile! Report looting and vandalism: 1 800 722 3998
Shay Ridge Trail can be accessed from any of three different parking areas. Both of the southern areas are reached by driving a long ways up FS Rd 079. Most vehicles will park near the start of FS Rd 0354
, leaving hikers to travel 1.5 miles up the rough road. If you have a capable 4WD vehicle you may be able to drive FS Rd 0354
to the trailhead. The northern parking area is adjacent to the Aspen Flat Trail (018)
and is suitable for higher clearance AWD and 4x4 vehicles.
Starting from the top, remember to sign in at the kiosk at the trailhead. After that, you'll be on the main Shay Ridge Trail, a signed OHV trail - not open to vehicles larger than a Razor ATV. Follow the tire treads as they climb along a grassy knoll through swaths of forest. The view of the Abajos to the east (right) is quite rewarding - just make sure to also keep an eye on your footing as you navigate the baseball-sized rocks that litter the trail.
At the top of the climb, make a fairly sharp left below a bald knob. Look for a clearing and picnic table on the left where you can hang out for a bit before starting your descent. From here the trail descends steadily for several miles.
Continuing on, you'll follow similar tire tracks down through aspens, It's quite beautiful when the leaves are changing. Roughly halfway through the descent is the intersection with the Blue Creek-Tuerto Trail (014)
. From here, the trail leads through one last dense grove of aspen before completing its final miles through low vegetation. The tread is increasingly rocky until it goes through a loose sandy section.
Bottom out at a trailhead/parking area that marks the start of Aspen Flat Trail (018)
. Retrace your steps or complete the long, loop on Aspen Flat Trail (018)
Shared By: Michael Ahnemann