What We Found
The content below contains general information about Big Agnes staff experience while traveling along the CDT through Colorado in the summer of 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel this route, do so at your own risk. This section cuts through the heart of the Southern San Juan mountains, starting at the Colorado/New Mexico border. We found long, unobstructed views and awesome open ridge walks dotted with beautiful high-alpine lakes.
- Distance 75.3 Miles
- Total Ascent 12,398 ft
- Total Decent 11900 ft
- Highest Point 12,666 ft
- Wilderness Area yes
- Percent on Trail 100%
On Trail: August 21-28, 2018
Rodrigo Ahumada, Fulfillment Specialist, Big AgnesMore About the Hike
Southern Access Point:Cumbres Pass (Hwy. 17, near Chama, New Mexico) – Ley Maps CO46
Northern Access Point:Wolf Creek Pass (Hwy 160) – Ley Maps CO42
What We Experienced:Expect long, open views. Awesome, open ridge walks & beautiful high alpine lakes.
It is going to be cold, dry and beautiful. Plan on getting a very early start if it is snowy. Once the snow heats up it will be slow, slushy going all afternoon.
Additional Resources:Leave No Trace Principles
Guthook Guide – Continental Divide Trail
U.S. Forest Service – Rio Grande National Forest
U.S. Forest Service - San Juan National Forest
Grade per Mile:336.2 feet
Pro tips:Upon returning to Hwy. 17 from the out and back to NM border if desired, you will start climbing up into the majestic Southern San Juans.
The hike will get significantly easier once you hit Elwood Pass (about 45 miles in). From Elwood Pass you will enter multi-use area and follow some forest service roads.
Not much tree coverage, lots of widow-makers, expect afternoon lightning storms to slow you down.
Bring hiking poles.
Skills We Needed
- Snow hiking
- Navigation when trail is buried under snow
- Lightning Safety
- Stream Crossings
- LNT Ethics
- Widow-Maker Safety
* This site and routes described within contain general information about Big Agnes staff adventures in the backcountry, summer 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel these routes, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check local weather, trail conditions, closures, legal access points, Forest Service, BLM, or National Park rules and regulations, and other risks involved. We hope to inspire responsible backcountry and public land use, but by using our website you agree to use this information at your own risk.