Snaggletooth Trail of the Dolores River Canyon

Surrounded by the red sandstone walls of the scenic Dolores River Canyon, bikers, hikers, rafters, fishing enthusiasts, and picnickers will enjoy the Snaggletooth Trail, located approximately 7 miles from the Country Inn Motel in Dove Creek, CO. A recreation site is located at the beginning of the trail near the Dove Creek pump station and offers a small picnic area with parking and a boat ramp. Even when the river is low, a few deeper pools can usually be found by heading downstream. Visitors will find at least a few good points to park or turn around further down the trail. Although vehicle traffic is usually very light on the trail, be aware that many stretches are a single lane wide.

The map below shows the route to the canyon and the start of the Snaggletooth Trail. Click on map symbols and the blue route for more specific driving directions. Vehicles with low clearance may have difficulty in some places on the rocky road down to the canyon.

View Driving directions to Snaggletooth Trail in the Dolores River Canyon in a larger map

Biking and Hiking: The entire trail is approximately 20 miles before connecting back to county roads that lead to Hwy 141 near Slick Rock, CO. The first 10-11 miles of the Snaggletooth Trail are considered easy to intermediate for mountain biking (yellow trail on the map below). Turn around at the gooseneck in view of Pyramid Rock to avoid a difficult/advanced bicycling trail for the next 10-mile section. The advanced stage of the trail starts with a section just over 4 miles long (orange trail on the map below). This phase of the Snaggletooth trail is bound to be rockier, more difficult to travel, and less-maintained. After approximately 4 miles, you must wade (ford) across the river to continue the trail on the other bank.

The river may be too deep and swift to safely cross during certain times of the year (spring especially). Caution: warnings suggest that crossing when river flow is at 100 c.f.s. or greater is dangerous, and 200 c.f.s. or greater should not be attempted. Flow rates can be seen at or call 970-882-2164 for current conditions.

Once across the Dolores River, the last phase of the advanced trail (red trail on the map below) winds approximately 5.5 miles and includes areas with steep climbs out of the canyon, eventually connecting with 16R Road. Caution: sections of the trail may stray close to cliff edges and steep drops. 16R Road starts east and then mostly north for approximately 1.3 miles before connecting with 13R Road. Stay left at the fork in the road to take 13R Road for approximately 3.2 miles to Hwy 141. Slick Rock, CO, will be approximately 5 miles west on Hwy 141.

Click on colored routes or landmark symbols on the map below for additional information.

View Snaggletooth Trail near Dove Creek in a larger map

Fishing: Because this part of the river is well downstream of the Bradfield Bridge, fish can be kept when caught. Between Bradfield Bridge and McPhee Dam, several miles upstream, fishing is catch-and-release only.

Rafting: When water flow is high enough, rafting can take visitors miles down the Dolores River. The height of rafting season through this stretch usually occurs during the month of May. Downstream of the Dove Creek pump station, class III rapids become more common than upstream toward the Bradfield Bridge. In the vicinity of seven miles downstream of the pump station, rafters should encounter Little Snag, a rapid warning of the upcoming fierce Snaggletooth rapid. Snaggletooth, a class IV-V rapid, comes up in the next mile or so beyond Little Snag. Portage trails along this stretch should allow alert and/or concerned rafters to either scout ahead or bypass Snaggletooth entirely.

Disclaimer: These maps and related information are provided for your convenience. Though we endeavor to provide good information, Country Inn Motel or any related parties are not liable for inaccuracies, damages, or injuries from the use of this information.