Rio de Los Pinos

Protecting Habitat and Public Access on a Prime Colorado Trout Stream

In summer 2017, Western Rivers Conservancy completed its first project on this scenic stretch of Colorado's Rio de los Piños, an outstanding trout stream that flows to the Conejos River, a tributary to the Rio Grande. The project is part of WRC's larger efforts to conserve habitat and create public river access along the Rio Grande and its tributaries within the high San Luis Valley. Photos by Russ Schnitzer.

WRC is buying land along the Rio de los Piños to preserve the remainder of the valley’s unbroken, natural beauty while ensuring that its tremendous recreational opportunities remain a public resource for all. Photo: Russ Schnitzer.

Overlooking the Rio de los Piños, near Cumbres Pass in Colorado. WRC is working to conserve riverland habitat for fish and wildlife and to improve public access to this excellent trout stream. The tracks of the national historic steam-powered Cumbres & Toltec railway can be seen in the foreground. Our work will ensure the views of this stretch of the Los Piños remain unimpeded. Photo: Russ Schnitzer.

Conservation of this exquisite 368-acre ranch along the Rio de los Piños permanently protects habitat for Rocky Mountain elk (pictured), black bear, mule deer, mountain lion and other mammals. Photo: Tom and Pat Leeson.

Formerly closed the public, this stretch of the Rio de los Piños is now open to all. An angler hikes down to fish the stream in late summer. Photo: Russ Schnitzer.

A Colorado fly angler shares the joys of fishing with her son on the stretch of the Rio de los Piños that WRC conveyed to the Rio Grande National Forest. Photo: Russ Schnitzer.

The property that we conserved in partnership with the Rio Grande National Forest includes high-elevation wetlands and a natural pond, which host migratory waterfowl in the spring and fall. It also provides important habitat for songbirds like the MacGillivray's warbler, pictured here.

WRC's efforts on the Rio de los Piños will help ensure this river is healthy and accessible for future generations. Photo: Russ Schnitzer.

Overlooking the Rio de los Piños. Photo: Russ Schnitzer.

Two generations of Colorado river lovers explore this stretch of the Rio de los Piños shortly after WRC conveyed these lands to the Rio Grande National Forest for permanent protection. Photo: Russ Schnitzer.

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Rio de Los Pinos