Jul 27, 2012 at 12:10 pm #1292385
Me and a buddy who has never been backpacking before are going on a trip in a couple weeks to southwest CO and I would really love to be in the Weminuche. Normally I would just hop on the CT or CDT and go for five days and then get off wherever I get off, but it would be much easier if there is a loop to do so we can end up back at our car or near it.
Does anyone have any recommendations as to what would be good for us to do? I am looking to be on trail prolly for about five days.
Thanks for any info.Jul 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm #1898028
Randy MartinBPL Member
So when you say your buddy hasn't been backpacking before, are you trying to keep overall mileage/elevation gain down? What kind of shape is he in? Are you wanting to bag some peaks as well or just backpack? That part of Colorado has extensive sections above treeline and so just want to match recommendations with desired effort.
Having said all of that the most popular loop in that area would be the Elk Park to Needleton Loop. It makes use of the Durango/Silverton train to reach the Elk Park TH. If you google it you will find plenty of links to research. Here are a couple of links to get you started
Another loop in the southern San JuansJul 27, 2012 at 12:36 pm #1898029
Thanks for the questions. They are helpful.
He is is good shape, we are both 21 ish and have played soccer all our lives and he is still active so the only issue would be altitude if anything fitness wise, but I am always anal about altitude sickness so that shouldnt be a problem. I wouldnt mind doing some peaks if they are on the way (possibly having a lower mileage day and day hiking one) but I wouldnt plan the trip around peaks.
Also elevation gain/down wouldnt be the worst thing because we are both from Texas haha so even for me it can be rough. It all depends on the gain relative to miles for me.Jul 27, 2012 at 12:51 pm #1898033
Randy MartinBPL Member
I just edited my previous post to include some specific recommendations. Hope you have a safe and enjoyable time. Just remember that area sees very frequent afternoon thunderstorms and rain. Expect to get wet at some point in the afternoon, try to be below treeline when that happens, make sure your sleeping bags will keep you warm down to the upper 30's.Jul 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm #1898069
I was there last month, did the Ute Creek semi-loop. We widened the loop to incorporate a bit more of the CDT. Sounds like you'll have more time than we did, so you could add in some more mileage. Beautiful area, we had a blast.Jul 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm #1898081
Brendan SwihartBPL Member
@brendansLocale: Fruita CO
Another great loop:
Start at Highland Mary Lakes TH, jump onto the CDT until you get to the Flint Lakes area, then jump on the Rock Creek trail to Vallecito Creek, back onto the CDT over Hunchback pass, then down the Highland Mary Lakes trail (you could also go up to HM lakes first if you preferred). There's a small section that you'll re-do (from the Vallecito/CDT intersection to CDT/Highland Mary trail) but it's pretty short. Fantastic loop with great views of the the Grenadiers and way less people than the Chicago Basin loop. We did it over 4th of July weekend last year and didn't see any people once off the main trail to the Highland Mary lakes. If I remember correctly it's around 45-50ish miles with lots of options for side exploring.Jul 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm #1898142
Thanks for the help!Jul 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm #1898143
Thanks for all of the ideas, also something I forgot to add is that it would be ideal if the trails were well marked because I have never been in that area before.Jul 28, 2012 at 10:06 am #1898194
Trails were very clear where we were.Jul 31, 2012 at 9:35 am #1898793
Dean F.BPL Member
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Well, I'll be doing a solo hike in the South San Juans from August 10-15th, so maybe I'll see you there. (Still deciding upon my route, though. Maybe Ute Pass, maybe another loop I found… decisions.)
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