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Deer Creek, Saints John 4x4 Loop

Incredible scenery, historic buildings and steep challenges
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Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 12.2 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview:  : Outstanding loop route that has it all: stunning scenery, historic buildings and real adventure. Connects to several other great... more »

Tips:  High alpine environment. Carry plenty of water and warm clothing. Weather can change quickly. To fully appreciate scenery, drive on a ... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Start and End at the Same Place

Continue south through the town of Montezuma. You'll return via Forest Road 275 that goes right about halfway through town.

2. Large Parking and Staging Area

Pass through large parking area. Unlicensed vehicles can unload here.

3. Left to Top of Radical Hill

After a steep climb through the forest, you climb above timberline. Deer Creek continues straight, but we recommend an easy side trip to left on Forest Road 286, which goes to great views at top of Radical Hill. We often see mountain goats at the top. Come back to this point and continue south.

4. Right on 279

Turn right on Forest Road 279 and head west. You'll soon encounter several short steep sections. Left here goes to Middle Fork of the Swan River Trail, described in FunTreks book, "Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails."

5. Right to Glacier Ridge

Before you turn right towards Glacier Ridge, get out of your vehicle and walk left to cliff edges. You'll often see mountain goats along the steep walls. Straight here goes to the North Fork of the Swan River trail.

6. Long, Steep Climb

This is the spot that gets everyone's attention. A long, very steep climb ascends to the top of Glacier Ridge. Novice drivers may be intimidated.

7. Side Trip to Right

Main trail continues straight. Right is side trip that deadends.

8. General Teller Mine

Park here and walk right to see remains of General Teller Mine. Great views and a wonderful lunch spot.

9. Overlook to Right

Main trail continues left steeply downhill. Right deadends at great overlook in half mile.

10. Wild Irishman Mine

After last steep switchback, you'll pass through tailing from the Wild Irishman Mine. Look right for old mining cabins in the trees.

11. Saints John Townsite

Trail zigzags right then left through ruins of Saints John Townsite. After townsite continue downhill and return to town of Montezuma where you started.