Old Lime Creek Road is a historic mining road that once connected the town of Silverton with an established main road going south in the lower elevations. This old dirt road follows Lime Creek south for about 12 miles through the San Juan Mountains to Cascade Creek on U.S. Highway 550. Cascade Creek is about halfway between Silverton and Durango and there is a large staging area and dispersed camping where the south end of Old Lime Creek Road meets the highway.
The north access point for Old Lime Creek Road is the best starting point, because most of the trip will be downhill from there. By going south on this Jeep trail, it will be easier to negotiate the narrow one lane cliffside section of the road that awaits beyond the Lime Creek Campground. The second half of the Old Lime Creek Road will be featured in a separate article, because this section of the road poses more danger and it has a higher degree of difficulty.
The trip from the north Old Lime Creek Road access point to Adrenaline Falls and the Lime Creek Campground is fairly easy to accomplish in a capable high ground clearance vehicle. A 2x4 high ground clearance vehicle can easily do this trip on a dry day, but if it rains, all bets are off! A 4x4 is the best choice for doing the complete Old Lime Creek Road trip, especially if it has recently rained, because the mud can get slick up on these mountains.
Another thing to consider before tackling Old Lime Creek Road is the snow melt season conditions. It takes time to clear the rock slides and the winter avalanche obstacles, so it is best to check the National Forest Service dirt road reports before making any plans. The local Jeep clubs and Jeep rental business are good resources too. After a winter of drought, this trip can be done in late May, but after a heavy winter, the snow pack will cause the small water crossings to look like raging white water river rapids, which can be quite dangerous to negotiate on the steep slopes. Once again, it is better to be safe than sorry, so checking on the Old Lime Creek Road conditions ahead of time will be necessary.
Starting at the north end, Old Lime Creek Road parallels Lime Creek as it starts to go downhill. The grade is easy to handle and the views of the green forested rolling hills in this wilderness are as peaceful as can be. The Coal Creek Cascades offer some pretty views near the one lane crossing. After this, it is nothing but a pleasant downhill ride to the Adrenaline Falls Viewpoint. The viewing area may or may not be marked, but this does not matter because the sight of the Adrenaline Falls on the tall mountain that rises on the other side Lime Creek will certainly make it obvious!
From Adrenaline Falls, it is nothing but a peaceful cruise beside Lime Creek through thick aspen and pine forests to the campground. This is a great area to watch wildlife heading for water, so be sure to bring a good camera along for the ride! The Lime Creek Campground offers creekside camping, so packing a fly fishing pole may be necessary too. Small Brook trout can be caught in streams this high up in the mountains and they sure are good when pan fried with eggs for breakfast. The Lime Creek Campground is a primitive back country camping area, so pack it in and pack it out is the golden rule and this includes sanitation, because of the freshwater resource.
Needless to say, the shady cool Lime Creek Campground certainly is a cozy summer camping destination and this is a fun easy going 4x4 trail trip! The campground is also a good picnic area for taking a break, if doing the complete 12 mile tour of Old Lime Creek Road is the plan. The sight of Adrenaline Falls and the cool crisp clean mountain air does make this trip quite an enjoyable experience, so this is all the inspiration needed to get up and go!
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