Colorado Springs: Mosca Pass

Hike through history on this trek through Navajo lands.

Photo: Mark Stevens / 500px via Getty Images

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Follow this trail through old Indigenous country, past views of Great Sand Dunes, up a sacred Navajo peak, and through a historic pass traveled by settlers. The Mosca Pass Trail will also show you a diverse ecosystem of pine woodlands, aspen groves, and streams.



Head south on Mosca Pass Trail, once a wagon trail over the Sangre de Cristo range. Barely visible to the south is Blanca Peak, one of four sacred Navajo mountains.


Veer right at the Y junction, passing Montville Nature Trail.


Cross Mosca Creek on wooden bridge, then turn right at 3-way into delightful aspen grove. Look closely: Each aspen is actually a shoot growing from an interconnected root system.


Continue straight; pass gray and red cliff outcropping on the left before entering small stand of ponderosa pine, a source of medicine and food for nomadic hunters.


Head up a steep slope that quickly becomes parallel with cliff tops.


Look down to Great Sand Dunes National Park: Each peak and dune hangs ten like an ocean swell. Utes called it sowapophe-uvehe: “land that moves back and forth”


Stay left, pass small spur trail leading to Mosca Creek.


Ground squirrels run about, warehousing veggie scraps.


Keep straight, bearing northeast; Mosca Pass spans colorful grassland ahead. In the 1800s, this was the site of Montville, a community of 20 homes. Sadly, none remain today.


End of Mosca Pass at FR-583. The Mosca Pass Toll Road (a.k.a. Robidoux’s Pass) serviced stagecoaches and mail until a 1911 flash flood. From here, retrace steps back to car.

From 2022