The Joe Vigil Trail is a 2.9 mile trail that connects the Rio Medio Trail – Trail #155 to the Skyline Trail – Trail #251.
Trail Condition: Poor
Rio Medio Trail to Vigil Lake Trail:
Traveling upstream on the Rio Medio Trail – Trail #155, there is no trail sign at the junction with the Joe Vigil Trail, but there is a large pile of rocks where the trail sign used to be. In this small clearing, this junction should be easy to pick-up despite the lack of a sign.
From the junction, take a hard left to pick up the trail. You’ll quickly cross a small creek, follow it upstream and cross it again before returning to the Rio Medio. From here, the trail becomes very difficult to find due to a combination of downed trees and thick vegetation that has swallowed it into oblivion. Look for cut logs that signify past trail maintenance. These will be your best and most reliable markers of refinding the trail.
In addition to the trail fading away, the grade becomes quite steep. The trail crosses the creek a couple times over the 1.4 mile section, but spends the majority of this section on the north side. Before reaching the junction with the Vigil Lake Trail Trail #352, the creek bed goes dry, the understory growth falls away and the terrain temporarily flattens. The junction is marked and hard to miss.
NOTE: These 1.4 miles can be very difficult to find. Trust that if you remain along the creek, you will be okay, but having experience traveling off trail is a must.
For more information on the Joe Vigil Trail, see my trip report from Jose Vigil Lake and the Dome.