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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.

The Way

Crater Lake Trail #623 starts from the Andrews Lake Day Use Area, off milepost 63, just South of Molas Pass on US 550 between Silverton and Durango.

Map USGS topo Snowdon Peak


13S 0261607E 4175976N Isolated lakes southwest of Snowdon Peak

13S 0261430E 4172737N Good camping at tarn NE of Crater Lake

13S 0260360E 4171741N Quiet lakeside camp below Twilight Peaks

Trip Planner – Weminuche Wilderness

Season July through late September

Getting There Silverton is 127 miles (3 hours) from Grand Junction, CO, via US 50 and US 550 over steep, winding Red Mountain Pass. Durango lies another 47 miles (1 hour) south of Silverton via US 550 over Molas Pass.

Car Camping

Lots of informal Forest Service sites are available to people with 4WD vehicles. Inquire at the nearest USFS office for site-specific regulations. For 2WD vehicles, campgrounds are located at Haviland Lake and Purgatory on US 550 between Durango and Silverton, at Transfer Park and Florida Recreation Area on Florida Creek Road, and at West Fork and Wolf Creek on US 150 north of Pagosa Springs.


High altitude, lightning, tough river crossings, and steep unstable slopes abound. Black bears live throughout most of the Weminuche, so proper food storage is mandatory. Mountain goats occasionally gore people; do not approach them.

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