|USGS 7.5' Map:||Saguache Park, Elk Park|
|Managed by:||Rio Grande NF Saguache Ranger District
Gunnison NF, Gunnison Ranger District
|46525 State Highway 114
Saguache, CO 81149
216 N. Colorado
Gunnison, CO 81230
|Summary:||Van Tassel connects the Saguache Park, FR787, with Sony Pass. It also connects with the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail and the Colorado Trail.
|Gunnison side, Agency - Closed Feb 28 to May 26.
Saguache side, Agency - Closed Mar 15 to May 15.
June - May still have snow in the forested areas
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best, fall colors
October - Early snows will close the upper part of the road
|Continental Divide National Scenic Trail, FT465 - Hiking
Colorado Trail - Hiking
|Camping:||There are dispersed campsites at the end of FR597.1A near Cochetopa Creek, and at the top where Horse Canyon, FR745, connects.|
|Base Camp:||This would be a good area to base camp and explore the roads around Saguache Park.|
|Fall Colors:||Very Good - Van Tassel Gulch has large aspen groves.|
|Navigation:||From Gunnison, CO. head east on US-50 E/E Tomichi Ave toward N Iowa Street. Continue to follow US-50 E for 8.1 miles. Turn right onto CO-114 E and go 20.2 miles. Turn right onto County Road NN 14 and go 9.4 miles. Turn right onto County Road 17FF and go 7.0 miles. At a small pull off to the right is the start of the Van Tassel road.
From Saguache, CO head west on CO-114 W/Gunnison Ave toward 9th Street. Continue to follow CO-114 W for 35.6 miles. Turn left onto County Road 17 GG and go 5.3 miles. Turn left onto County Road NN 14 and go 1.1 miles. Turn right onto County Road 17FF and go 7.0 miles. At a small pull off to the right is the start of the Van Tassel road.
|You will head northwest from the Saguache Park, FR787, road on a two track that follows a long meadow up to a wide saddle. The road will continue north as it heads through the meadow on the other side of the saddle. At the end of the meadow you will enter into the forest and shortly come out into another smaller meadow. At the bottom of this meadow is Ant Creek. Cross the creek and head left. The forest will be a mix of aspen and pine. The road will continue up Ant Creek to its headwaters where it will cross a saddle over to Quemado Creek. Just before the saddle you will come to an intersection, stay to the right. After a short section through the aspen trees you will come out at the top of another long meadow with the road running along Quemado Creek. There will be a large aspen forest to the west as the valley opens up. The road will continue along the east side of the creek, coming to a large intersection of roads. This is also where the Colorado Trail and Continental Divide Trail connect with the Van Tassel road.
There are three roads from the intersection. The road to the right is the Colorado Trail/Continental Divide Trail. The center right is a short spur that ties into FR787.2D, which heads back to the Saguache Park, FR787, road. The left road follows most closely with the creek and will come to a low crossing of Quemado Creek. Just past this crossing is a BLM road heading north, to the right. Stay with the road to the left going west. This is the main Van Tassel road that will now share the Colorado Trail/Continental Divide Trail. The road will head past some small pine forests as it climbs a rise and crosses over to the other side. You will pass through a fence line and drop down to cross the faint creek in Van Tassel Gulch. The road will climb up to an intersection with a road heading back to the right, FR597.1C, which will go to a pasture fence line. Stay to the left heading south up Van Tassel Gulch.
From the last intersectin it is 0.15 miles to an intersection with FR597.1D to the left. It goes about 1 mile, ending in a side drainage of Van Tassel Gulch. Continuing on the main road you will head into aspen forests.
The road will work its way up to the head of the valley to a saddle. You will come out of the aspen forest into an small meadow with another intersection. The road to the right is FR597.1A, which heads down a side drainage to a trail head above Cochetopa Creek. This is where the Colorado Trail/Continental Divide Trail will head down to connect with there continuations up Cochetopa Creek. Take the left and continue to climb up the drainage. The road will get a bit rougher as it follows the drainage along the aspen forest. Next you will enter the pine forest and continue to climb up this rougher section with trees encroaching the road. Finally you will come to the top of the climb into a small opening in the forest. You will come to an intersection here with the road to the left, FR597.1B, heading down to connect with FR787.3D. Take the right to stay with FR597. You will now head west along the Continental Divide.
The road will run through small meadows and aspen forests, intermixed with pine trees. After 0.85 miles you will come to another intersection. The road to the left, FR597.1A, heads down to connect with FR787.3D. Staying on the main road to the right you will now climb a bit as you head into a long section of pine forest. The road will bring you out into a more open section as you continue to head south.
The open section will run for a half mile before entering another short section of pine trees. On the other side your view to the east will open onto the western end of Saguache Park. The road will stay with this open area, crossing a small rise into another large open meadow. Off to your southwest are Organ Mountain, Baldy Alto, and Stewart Peak in the La Garita Wilderness.
You will continue across another long open area, then cross through a short section of pine trees. When you come out into the next open meadow there will be an intersection. The road to the left will drop down and connect with Horse Canyon, FR745. Staying to the right you will head down to the middle of the open meadow to another intersection. The road to the right goes to some camp sites, the road to the left is the Horse Canyon road. The road straight ahead is FR597. A little over a quarter of a mile you will come to another intersection. The left, FR776, will head down along the North Fork of Saguache Creek. The right will continue FR597 for a half mile to its end.
|Data updated - November 26, 2019 4WD Road driven - September 2, 2019 Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2019|