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FIELD TRIP: Trails-to-Rails, hiking from Molas Pass down to DSNGRR tracks

October 15, 2022

Free – $65.00
map showing field trip route
Topographic map showing route and elevation profile.

Joint FCGS, FLC Geo Club and Gem & Mineral Club Field Trip


Join trip leaders David Gonzales and Mary Gillam on the bus ride from town up to Molas Lake.  Hike through the fall colors from Molas Lake down to Elk Park, in the Animas River gorge, following part of the Colorado Trail.  The hike starts near the Mississippian-Pennsylvanian contact and continues down section crossing Basal Conglomerates that overlie the “Great Unconformity” into spectacular sedimentary and structural exposures of the Precambrian Uncompahgre Group in the gorge.  Catch the train for an enjoyable 3-hour ride back to Durango.  The hike is a little over 2.6 miles down to the Animas River, then another mile to the train pick-up at Elk Park, for a total of about 3.6 miles.  We begin at an elevation of 10,610’ descending ~1,600’ to 8,925’.  The switchback segment descends ~1,400’ in 1.2 miles, so it’s fairly steep, has some loose footing and can be hard on the knees.


Please wear sturdy hiking boots and bring your camera, sunscreen, hiking sticks and rain gear.

  • Please bring your own lunch and plenty of water in a light daypack.
  • We will provide packable snacks and water refills at the Molas Lake trailhead.


  • Gather at 6:45 am in the D&SNGRR train parking lot next to McDonalds at the School bus.
    • Bus will depart promptly at 7:15 AM – whether or not you are there!
    • Please Note:    There is a $10 fee to park in the lot.
  • We are scheduled to arrive back in Durango after 6:15pm.


  • Bus to trailhead at Molas Lake. Hike to Elk Park train rendezvous for train ride back to Durango


  • $65 per person.  Includes bus and train transportation, water refills & snacks.


  • We will send a DropBox link to participants.
  • Download and print your own before the trip.


  • Opens Sept 16th at 6:00 am MST.

Cancellation Deadline for Refund:

  • Oct 10th

Please bring a signed copy of the Field Trip liability release with you on Oct 15 to our assembly point in the train parking lot.  Download the waiver here: Release Form

For More information Contact Jim Corken by email: 


Sign up for the trip using the link below to purchase the ticket. Tickets become available at 6 AM on Friday, Sep 16!

If the trip is full, you can get on the waitlist by RSVPing for that, also below. Do not use the RSVP if you purchased a ticket – that is for the waitlist only.

Fort Lewis College students – do not sign up here – talk to David Gonzales about reserving a seat!


Oblique Google Earth view of Trail-to-Rail field trip
Oblique Google Earth view of Trail-to-Rail field trip
Mississippian Leadville Limestone
Mississippian Leadville Limestone
Fold in Precambrian Uncompaghre Quartzite
Fold in Precambrian Uncompaghre Quartzite
Weaselskin Conglomerate
Weaselskin Conglomerate











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October 15, 2022
Free – $65.00