2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – December 2007

Backpacker Adventure Guide: Weminuche Wilderness

Try a stunning new hike–or two thrilling classics–in the Colorado Rockies' top spot for big backpacking adventures.

by: Steve Howe

Lobo to Fourmile Ridge, Steve Howe
Lobo to Fourmile Ridge, Steve Howe
Descent from Trimble Pass, Steve Howe
Descent from Trimble Pass, Steve Howe
Pittsburgh Mine, Steve Howe
Pittsburgh Mine, Steve Howe
Endlich Mesa, Steve Howe
Endlich Mesa, Steve Howe

The forest spits us out onto a dirt road just as the sky begins flashing again. Above the rustle of Gore-Tex, the hiss of zippers, and the dynamite slap of thunder, we hear the tooting whistle of a steam locomotive. Yeehaw! It's Saturday night in the old mining town, and we're getting close. Suited up, we set off through the spitting hail, beelining for Silverton's saloon district, two wilderness prospectors who just struck it rich.

Weminuche High Route
Retrace the author's trip through the heart of a fabled wilderness.
This 50.5-mile hike runs south-to-north across Endlich Mesa, Silver Mesa, the Needle Mountains, the Grenadier Range, the Highland Mary Plateau, and Arrastra and Spencer Basins before plunging straight into downtown Silverton. Along the way, you'll encounter spectacular plateaus of rolling tundra, ripsaw ridges, cliff-ringed lakes, and lush midsummer wildflowers, but it's not a route for the lazy or unacclimatized. For most of its length, you'll wander up and down through a succession of steep passes, rarely dropping below 12,000 feet. Budget at least seven days; peakbagging and side hikes beg for more time. About half of the route requires off-trail routefinding. We recommend downloading the author's track log and waypoints from for map-plotting or GPS use. Despite often steep terrain, there's no exposed scrambling that requires ropes–unless you go in spring, when an ice axe and/or crampons would also be useful for steep snow.

The Way
From Main Street in Durango, turn north onto 15th South Street near the Animas River bridge. This funnels you onto Florida Road. Continue 13.8 miles on Florida Road, then turn left to Lemon Reservoir on County Road 2431/FR 596. Twenty-one miles from town, turn right onto FR 597, which quickly becomes a high-clearance road. Continue 10.6 slow, uphill miles to the Endlich Mesa trailhead. The route ends in downtown Silverton.

Maps Trails Illustrated 140 Weminuche Wilderness, and USGS topos Columbine Pass, Storm King Peak, Howardsville, and Silverton

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


jay durbin
Jan 30, 2012

Sounds like a great hike. We are planning a trip to Weminuche this late spring, early summer! Hoping to stay in the high country. Can't wait

Sep 03, 2008

Awesome Pictures

Aug 21, 2008

Cool adventure ! Loved the picture... check out <a href="" target="_blank"rel=follow" Colorado Outdoor Center</a>

Apr 30, 2008

too bad my thirteen day trek through this wilderness was the best place I have been yet

Apr 28, 2008

here ya go, bud-

Apr 02, 2008

The printed article said that the route taken would be posted on this website. I can not seem to find it.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Dear (*****)
Posted On: Sep 02, 2014
Submitted By: GoBlueHiker
Trailhead Register
Scouting woes...
Posted On: Sep 02, 2014
Submitted By: 92hatchattack
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions