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This is the East Fork of the frozen Piedra River in Piedra Pass. Also known as El Rio De La Piedra Parada, Pedra, Rio, and Rio Piedre, It drains parts of Archuleta, Hinsdale, and Mineral counties along a length of almost 40 miles (64 km). Flowing down through a series of isolated box canyons, it empties into the San Juan River at Navajo Lake. Its name stems from the Spanish word, Piedra, meaning “rock“.
Zedekiah: “This picture was captured as I flew above Piedra Mountain on my way to Zapata Ranch in the San Luis Valley just south of the Great Sand Dunes National Park. This is incredibly beautiful land yet it wise to remember and respect the rugged, unforgiving harshness of this wilderness.”
The headwaters drain from the Continental Divide in the Weminuche Wilderness. The East Fork of the Piedra is virtually inaccessible, flowing through a thick forest with little to no trails above Piedra Falls, most of the stream lies in rugged canyons in the wilderness. This river is a favorite for fly fishing enthusiasts and is known for its large population of trout; browns, rainbows, and cutbows, with many fish in the 12- to 14-inch class.
The Piedra River area is a wonderful place to spend your weekend hiking. With an abundance of trout and trout lies, you can fish all day and cover only a mile of stream. Over three dozen bird species live along the river and marmots hide in the rocks. Bear sign is common here so it is wise to be aware and cautious.