San Juan River Trail

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 2 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Elevation: 5701 - 5773 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Simon Canyon
Fee: none
Attractions: Fishing



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The San Juan River trail is located in Navajo Lake State Park, about 21 miles east of Aztec, New Mexico near the small community of Navajo Dam. The trail begins at the mouth of Simon Canyon and follows the north shore of the San Juan River. This renowned section of the San Juan River boasts some of the best trout fishing in all of North America.


Follow the directions to the Simon Canyon Ruin trailhead and from the parking area follow the route for about 100 yards to the beginning of the trail.


The first part of the trail follows a road that leads to a well site. A kiosk leaves no doubt to where the San Juan River trail begins.


Near the trailhead is a very nice learning board with dozens of specimens of plants that can be found in the area.


A small picnic area opens up the possibilities for family outings. Up to this point the path may be considered wheelchair accessible.


The trail becomes more primitive as it gets squeezed between the river and the side of the hill.


Fishermen can be seen wading into the water working their fly rods and floating the gentle currents. The tranquil surroundings make it easy to hear their excited voices when the thrilling tug on the line of a brown or rainbow trout arouses their senses and the fishermens well honed instincts kick in for the much anticipated battle between man and fish.


After about 1 mile the trail comes to an abrupt end at a wash. Faint traces continue on the other side of the wash but all signs of a path quickly disappear.


An osprey sits perched in a juniper tree on the hillside where it keeps close watch on the waters below. The majestic bird posed for a dozen or more photos before relocating to one of the nearby cottonwood trees.


It was the trail to the Simon Canyon Ruin that had brought us to the Navajo State Park. After seeing the trailhead for the San Juan River trail it was obvious that a lot of effort had been put into trying to create a nice venue along the river so we couldn't pass up a chance to check it out. Besides the picnic area there are benches along the trail to sit and rest or take in the surroundings. Whether on a fishing trip, hike to the ruin, or a family outing the area has a lot to offer. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.