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Backpacker Magazine – May 2010

Colorado Trail: Find Solitude

How to beat the crowds and find solitude in the Rockies

by: Kristy Holland, map by Andrew Matranga

5. High and lonesome 370 cars cruise by the CO 149 junction with the CT daily, one of the lowest counts of state highways that cross the trail. Tip: South Clear Creek Falls Campground is less than a mile south of here.

6. Cochetopa Basin There are big crowds here—of elk and black bear. The least-traveled miles of the CT slash through the La Garita Wilderness, a little-visited hotspot for high-country wildlife. For a weekend of guaranteed solitude, trace Cochetopa Creek south from the Eddiesville trailhead to a basecamp at mile 7.5, just west of the turnoff toward Stewart Creek. Start alpine style on day two to bag 14,014-foot San Luis Peak via the lesser-traveled, 2.3-mile east-side approach.

7. Open road Only 1,700 cars cross the CO 114/US 285 junction per summer day. Empty trailheads await. 

8. Lake Baldy Make room in your pack for a bottle of red. You’ll thank us as you peacefully sip it on Baldy Lake’s lonely, talus-lined shore. Hike west 6.2 miles from Sargents Mesa, then drop .4 mile to basecamp near Baldy Lake. On day two, make a 12-mile loop linking the Baldy Lake Trail with Dutchman’s Creek Trail and finishing up on the CT heading east. Baker’s dozen: Add an extra mile by bushwhacking for a sunset toast atop 11,974-foot Long Branch Baldy.

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