HERMOSA HIKING

HERMOSA HIKING - SAN JUAN MOUNTAINS

This week of hiking is designed for those who desire a moderate week of hiking and camping. We will take advantage of peak wildflower season to traverse some of the best day hikes in southwest Colorado. As with all of our excursions, we provide all transportation, food and gear (except for personal gear) during the duration of the trip.

To begin our trip, we will meet at CME Headquarters at noon. After parking your vehicle and double-checking gear, we will depart for our wilderness campsite. After our drive, we will spend the afternoon setting up personal tents, conducting an orientation and introductions, and enjoying our first dinner together.

We will spend Monday through Friday enjoying the hiking opportunities of the San Juan mountains. On Friday afternoon, after our day's hike, we will deliver you back to you vehicle and end our time together. Photos, memories and new friendships will be the lasting results of our week of hiking!

The following descriptions are sample hiking days for this trip.

Main Divide to Cape of Good Hope

This out-and-back hike from our camp up takes us to the Cape of Good Hope. Aptly named for its resemblance to the original Cape, this impressive geographic feature juts proudly eastward from the otherwise north-south running ridge that dominates this portion of the San Juan mountains. Hiking south from camp, we follow the Colorado Trail through fields of wildflowers while enjoying sweeping views of the Hermosa Creek drainage to the east. After a few miles the trail begins to climb up the Cape. There are several prominent viewpoints during this section of the trail. Our hike terminates at the top of the Cape, where the CT intersects a historic cattle-drive route. After a leisurely lunch enjoyed from a distinct viewpoint, we will hike back to camp for the evening. Approximately 10-13.5 miles roundtrip with 1,100 feet of elevation gain.

Blackhawk Pass

Hiking over Blackhawk Pass offers a chance for lush views into several different drainages and a chance to pass through several wildlife zones. The beginning of this hike, which follows the Colorado Trail, offers gradual elevation gain on a smoothly-engineered trail. This is a good chance to warm up prior to the real climbing! After a few miles, the trail begins to gradually switchback up to Blackhawk Pass. This portion alternately passes through spruce forests and high mountain meadows, a sensory treat! After lunch on the pass (elevation 11,970), we will plunge into the flowered meadows, following the trail across a forested ridge and then around Section Point. From Section Point, the trail runs almost due east until it reaches Celebration Lake. Named by uranium miners in the 1950's, this small lake is an idyllic, 11,000 ft lake is the perfect place to relax, enjoy appetizers, and talk about the day's adventures. Approximately 12 miles, with 1,800 feet of elevation gain.

Celebration Lake to Cascade Creek

The highlight of this day hike is the chance to view the crystal clear headwaters of the aptly named Cascade Creek. We will depart our camp, heading east on the Colorado Trail. The trail quickly breaks out of the trees and into a meadow, offering the stunning profile of the Wilson Range (three 14-ers arranged dramatically for your viewing pleasure) and the jutting prow of the iconic Lizard Head Peak. After crossing over Bolam Pass, we follow the trail as it descends sharply into the Cascade Creek drainage. This portion of the trail passes through dense forests, high-alpine meadows, and crosses numerous mountain streams in a few miles. At the bottom, we will reward ourselves with a well-earned lunch and a foot-soaking in Cascade Creek prior to beginning the hike back to camp. If we are feeling energetic, we may decide to add an additional mile to the hike and view the champagne-esqe flow of the White Creek Cascades. Approximately 14 miles with 2,000 feet of elevation gain.