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Colorado in early July - San Juans?
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John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Colorado in early July - San Juans? on 03/25/2013 18:50:16 MDT Print View

I'm planning on taking two people on their first backpacking trip in early July. They live in Boulder and I live in Phoenix, so I was thinking we could meet somewhere approximately halfway. Would the San Juans be a good choice? For the trip, I was hoping:

3-4 days
anywhere from 5-10 miles per day
good water availability
fish-able lakes and/or rivers
fine with base camp ideas

They are both in excellent shape (triathletes, recently done an Ironman) but don't have much camping or hiking experience. I've backpacked all over AZ, been to places in New Mexico, California, and Utah, but haven't ever backpacked in Colorado. By going in early July, can we expect to encounter a lot of snow pack? Monsoons?

Can any one suggest a particular trail or route? Or a good website to find such information? I've been looking at the Emerald Lake trail and the Animas River trail. Any input would be appreciated.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Colorado in early July - San Juans? on 03/25/2013 19:03:43 MDT Print View

About 10 years ago, I'd go yearly just east of Silverton, to the Highland Mary TH and another TH not too far away (1/4 mile if that). I've seen anglers in the Highland Mary Lakes and they told me the state stocks the lakes in June with fish. Not sure if anything has changed. Two trails to get up there with some unofficial ones connecting them. A high-clearance vehicle was preferred to get to the end of the gravel road but there were some more nearby trailhead option.

Snow? Depends on the local snowpack but the rest of southern Colorado only received about 60% of their snow when I checked ski areas a couple months ago.

Rain and thunderstorms? Yeah, it can get pretty wild up there. Might need to make sure you can get to the treeline. We were enjoying the view when we saw a thunderstorm coming up at us from Durango direction (valley of Elk Park iirc). We went over a ridge and scurried down to hide for lunch (kind of like Monty Python's "run-away" skit).

Basecamp? Yes, the people I spoke with were from Houston with actual charcoal type stand up grills and pretty big tents (they told me they hiked it in but I suspected mule train)

Dog friendly? Probably.

Allen Butts
(butts0989) - F - MLife

Locale: Northern Rockies
Re: Colorado in early July - San Juans? on 03/25/2013 23:00:39 MDT Print View

Sounds like fun! If you can manage to drop off one car and drive another to a trailhead you should hike a section or 2 of the colorado trail through the area, its probably the most beautiful part of the whole trail. Other than that check out the loops in the Weminuche Wilderness, gorgeous area as well.

John Harper
(johnnyh88) - MLife

Locale: The SouthWest
Re: Highland Mary Lakes, CT, Weminuche, and Pecos on 03/26/2013 09:05:03 MDT Print View

Thanks for the snow and monsoon info. The Highland Mary Lakes and TH sound great, I'll look into them.

Hiking a segment of the Colorado Trail is a great idea too. We'll have 2 cars so a shuttle hike is an option. Do you have any loops to recommend in the Weminuche Wilderness?

I also started looking into the Pecos Wilderness of NM last night. I had planned a trip there last year but it never materialized.

rOg w
(rOg_w) - F

Locale: rogwilmers.wordpress
deleted on 03/26/2013 09:20:22 MDT Print View


Edited by rOg_w on 06/17/2013 20:04:01 MDT.

Randy Martin
(randalmartin) - F

Locale: Colorado
So many choices on 03/26/2013 09:21:15 MDT Print View

I think the one caveat I have is you mentioned they need to be dog friendly. All of the really good stuff is Wilderness designated which means dogs on leash. Not sure if that qualifies for Dog friendly or not. Couple of recommendations are

1] Rio Grande Pyramid loop (sans peakbagging (about 38 miles). Here is a good trip report I ran across of that loop.

2] Conejos Peak loop (about 25 miles). Not halfway but a great area. Here is a trip report of the loop