Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Bristol Head - Mineral County
Aliases: Santa Maria Reservoir
Ownership: None Listed
Description: If you can get your car across the ford at the beginning of the road here you can access extensive mixed conifer and spruce-fir forest on a good road. However, the forest quality seems poor, with many of the larger trees selectively logged out.

The main reason to come here is the extensive access to alpine tundra and the enormous willow carrs. Look for Fox and possibly Brewer's Sparrows, Wilson's Warblers, etc. in the willow carrs, and, if you are lucky, White-tailed Ptarmigan in the tundra. At the end of the road you can stand at the tip of the Bristol Head - the scenery is unbelievable, the exposure vertigo inspiring, and the rock formations potentially filled with Rosy-Finchy goodness. This also has the dubious distinction of being the only place you can see Maria Reservoir on public property, though it is too far away to see anything other than the largest birds.

Habitat: Mixed conifer forest, spruce-fir forest, willow carrs, alpine tundra
Directions: From CO 149 just north of Clear Creek Falls, more or less opposite the junction with FR 513, turn east on FR 532. Follow it up to an intersection on top of a ridge (about 3.5 miles). Turn right to stay on FR 532. Continue to another junction in about another 3.5 miles. Confusingly, the DeLorme lists the road going in all three directions from this junction as FR 532. You want to turn right (south). This dead-end spur on FR 532 will take you to nearly 12,000 feet on Bristol Head. The road beyond the spruce-fir forest becomes progressively rougher, to a true 4-wheel drive road by the end.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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