SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
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 Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – September 2009

The Peak: Windom Peak, CO

Take a historic train to the trailhead and climb this Colorado beauty, nestled deep in the Weminuche Wilderness.

by: Jonathan Dorn

PAGE 1 2
South Sunlight Lake (Glenn Randall)
South Sunlight Lake (Glenn Randall)
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train (Glenn Randall)
Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Train (Glenn Randall)

With all due respect to Alaska's bush planes, there's no more romantic–or scenic–way to reach a trailhead in all of North America than to take the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to Chicago Basin in the heart of Colorado's Weminuche Wilderness. Combine that approach with a five-day exploration of the peaks that line this verdant valley, and you have a life-list adventure in the state's largest wilderness at 488,210 acres.

The two-hour ride in a vintage locomotive rumbles 13 miles from Silverton through the twisting Animas River gorge to Needle Creek trailhead, a backcountry whistlestop used exclusively by train- hopping backpackers ($75; durangotrain.com). Get ready to bust a lung: A six-mile, 3,000-foot climb deposits you at treeline in upper Chicago Basin, where an idyllic basecamp sits at the foot of the three most remote Fourteeners in the state. Ambitious hikers routinely summit Windom Peak (14,082 feet), Sunlight Peak (14,059), and Mt. Eolus (14,083) in one giant 7.6-mile, 5,500-foot-gain day.

Instead, spread the effort over two or three days for maximum enjoyment. From your campsite at 11,000 feet in Chicago Basin (no permit required), ascend a social trail north about one mile to Twin Lakes at 12,500 feet. (Camping is not allowed here, but foot-soaking is.) For Windom (which has the best view by a hair) and Sunlight, head east, stay south of the waterfall, and climb to the obvious saddle. For Eolus, go west and follow cairns through fractured rock up to one of the most attention-demanding ridgelines in the Rockies. Descend the Needle Creek Trail at the end of your visit to flag down the train.


PAGE 1 2


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

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

nmtgal
Dec 24, 2009

The mt goats are after the salt in your urine.
I took the train into the drop off point and we backpacked in for a few days one Sept. to do the 14ers there. An awesome and unforgetable trip!
judi from colorado

Jeff
Dec 24, 2009

My son,daughter,and I did it back in 2007 - If you want a trip to remember... do this one. After you return to Durango there is a lot great things to do. We headed to Farmington for a loc. concert and art....
We have a personal video of our trip on FB -

http://www.facebook.com/inbox/?ref=mb#/video/video.php?v=1278063232337&oid=146303692825

Brad
Sep 19, 2009

I did this trip in August with a group from Boulder/Denver. It was fantastic, including the gear-eating goats...

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Am I missing something here?
Posted On: Apr 17, 2014
Submitted By: Ecocentric
Trailhead Register
This is my 1000th post
Posted On: Apr 17, 2014
Submitted By: bigsilk
Go
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 MyRockyMountainPark.com.

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:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions