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The campground where we'll meet is about 300 miles from Denver, about 200 miles from Albuquerque, and about 150 miles from Sante Fe and Durango. These measures will help keep the wilderness as pristine as before so that those who come after us will have the same sense of discovery that we will have. It’s a 60+ mile trek from Cumbres Pass near Chama, New Mexico to Wolf Creek Pass near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. The South San Juan wilderness is located in southern Colorado near the towns of Pagosa Springs, South Fork, and Antonito. All on-trip meals are included in the trip fee, beginning with dinner on our first day and including lunch on our last day. One area that is remote and pristine is the San Juan Wilderness in the Rio Grande National Forest. Our objectives are to enjoy some spectacular country, complete the trip safely as a group, and learn backpacking basics. Maybe it’s the jagged 13,000-foot peaks clawing the sky that make the area seem so raw and foreboding. The Sierra Club is an environmentally focused entity. Participants are encouraged to arrive a day or two early to start acclimatizing to the very high elevations we will encounter from the very beginning of the trip. Resources to Help Plan Your Adventure San Juan Mountains Association: Information on some of the most popular backpacking trips in the San Juan Mountains How far we get each day and where we camp depends on how we feel, the weather, and other factors outside our control. It will take you to lakes, streams and above the timberline for some amazing vistas. This last week I hiked the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) through the South San Juan Wilderness with two of my friends. Nighttime and early morning temperatures could dip into the upper 20s. For shelter, tents are strongly encouraged, and lightweight waterproof tarps are the required minimum. Sierra Club National Outings is an equal-opportunity provider and when applicable will operate under permits obtained from U.S. federal land agencies. This trip can be pieced together from several hikes described in: Information on flora and fauna in the area can be found in: The USGS maps are available by download or purchase at http://store.usgs.gov. This beginner trip is for you. Giving your body an extra couple of days to adjust to the elevation can often make a big difference between enjoying the trip or merely just enduring it. Our daily hiking distances will be moderate. The leaders will provide physical conditioning recommendations to participants. Participants must be in good physical condition and be prepared for the rigorous physical demands of such a trip. The Complete Guide to Hiking the Colorado Trail, Find True Solitude on These 12 Perfect Hikes. Your pack should be sufficiently large to carry an item about the size of a full paper grocery bag (alternatively, four or five one-gallon milk jugs) in addition to your personal gear. The South San Juan Wilderness covers more than 127,000 acres of spectacular mountainous terrain and offers high tundra, sweeping vistas and solitude. Please email. We will meet so that everyone can introduce themselves, check out our gear, and talk about our trip. We will send a trip roster to all participants well before the trip to help facilitate ride sharing. We are concerned about conservation and the sustainability of natural resources, both locally and globally. In the months before the trip, the leaders will provide participants with detailed information about gear and clothing requirements to help ensure a safe trip. This map is what you need if you are navigating the trails of the South San Juan wilderness area. The day's journey is about 8 miles, with 1,400 feet of elevation loss and 200 feet of gain, with our campsite at about 10,000 feet. Several deer approached our camp from time to time and we … Note: Our hiking schedule is not rigid. The last known grizzly bear in Colorado was killed in the wilderness in 1979. 33 The leaders will be carrying these maps (or parts of them), so it would not be necessary to bring these except for your own interest and curiosity. The Trails Illustrated South San Juan Wilderness map (#142) is a topographic trail map of the South San Juan wilderness area near Del Norte and Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Viewing 1 post (of 1 total) Forums are supported by our merchant partners . Trip members will be divided into cook crews to assist with preparing our meals and washing the pots and pans afterward. Printed in color on durable tear-resistant plastic. This will allow time for learning wilderness skills, natural history, relaxing, and simply enjoying the great outdoors. The route is also covered by  the following 7.5 minute USGS topographic maps: Cumbres, Archuleta Creek, Victoria Lake, and Spectacle Lake. We will see open alpine meadows, sparse and stunted Engelmann spruce, alpine lakes, and exceptional, almost unending panoramic vistas, often hiking above timberline. Trip members arriving from other parts of the country should explore the option of flying to one of these cities (Santa Fe and Durango have limited air service) and sharing a rental car or arranging a ride. Day 6: Today – our last day together – we will continue along the Elk Creek trail, about 7 miles, losing about 1,400 feet to reach our exit trailhead. With its stunning meadows, valleys, and forests, the South San Juan Wilderness is probably most famous for the excellent hiking opportunities in the area. Want to be the first to hear about new trips and exclusive deals? The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club. The links below offer maps two different hikes that will introduce you to the … We will need to shuttle a few cars to the exit trailhead. The leaders will provide pre-trip correspondence and information to help make this possible. Hiking Colorado's Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness Areas: A Guide to the Area's Greatest Hiking Adventures (Regional Hiking Series) Paperback – May 6, 2014 by Donna Ikenberry (Author) 4.8 out of 5 stars 25 ratings. On the planned layover day, we can explore above the treeline along the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). We will see open alpine meadows, sparse and stunted Engelmann spruce, alpine lakes, and exceptional, almost unending panoramic vistas, often hiking above timberline. You'll find high peaks and cliffs, as well as jagged pinnacles and ragged ridges, making travel difficult. Two of our campsites will be above 11,000 feet and the third will be at about 10,000 feet. The itinerary described here should be taken as a general plan, and the actual route and schedule may depart from it. Our entry trailhead is located about 23 miles from the town of Chama, NM off Colorado Highway 17. Our daily hiking distances will be moderate. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash. The campground where we'll meet is about 300 miles from Denver, about 200 miles from Albuquerque, and about 150 miles from Sante Fe and Durango. #1 The South San Juan Wilderness lies on the Rio Grande National Forest near Platoro and Antonito Colorado. But the trail was not where the map … Participants are urged to share their experiences from their local activities, so we can all learn about new areas. Where: 335 miles southwest of Denver and 230 miles north of Albuquerque. Trail Info: San Juan/Rio Grande National Forests, Conejos Peak District, (719) 274-8971. Contact the leader for details. Check back soon. Maybe not as famous as the larger Weminuche Wilderness, the 158,790 acre South San Juan Wilderness of the Rio Grande and San Juan National Forests offers of 180 miles of trails, including 42 miles along the Continental Divide. The Continental Divide … About 3 miles into the day's journey we will join the CDT. Looking to learn or refresh backpacking skills? A group dinner will be served. Recreation. South San Juan Wilderness The last known grizzly bear in Colorado was killed in the wilderness in 1979. Daytime temperatures will likely be in the 50s to 60s. Miles of beautiful scenic trails with close-up views of towering mountain peaks and crystal clear lakes, along with peaceful solitude, reward those backpacking on the San Juan National Forest. The wilderness area boasts over 180 miles of trails winding within it with a wide variety of environments to enjoy and appreciate. This 18.5 mile trail can be hiked by moderate-to-experienced backpackers in 3 nights and 4 days. The South San Juan Wilderness encompasses the southeastern extent of the San Juan Mountain Range, including a segment of the Continental Divide. Participants are encouraged to arrive a day or two early to start acclimatizing to the very high elevations we will encounter from the very beginning of the trip. Originally designated as wilderness by Congress in 1980, it is a component of the National Wilderness Preservation System and now maintains 158,790 acres. This page offers a map and GPS tracks of the entire wilderness. Create a personalized feed and bookmark your favorites. Kershaw, Linda J., Andy MacKinnon, and Jim Pojar. Hiking Hammonds. Our entry trailhead is located about 23 miles from the town of Chama, NM off Colorado Highway 17. Elevations in the wilderness range from 8,000-feet to more than 13,000-feet. A successful backpacking experience requires thorough advance planning and preparation. The South San Juan Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the San Juan National Forest, east of Pagosa Springs, in southern Colorado.. We will set up camp in one of the many beautiful meadows along the Elk Creek. Specific driving directions will also be sent before departure. My friend Chris and I woke up on the first morning and second day of our backpacking trip in the Second Meadows of Elk Creek within the South San Juan Wilderness. Our daily hiking distances will be moderate. Ages of volcanic activity followed by the infinitely patient carving of glaciers left the rough, imposing terrain of the remote South San Juan Wilderness… Visiting the South San Juan Wilderness The last known Grizzly bear ever spotted in Colorado was found in the South San Juan Wilderness back in 1979, so, that alone, should tell you all you need to know about its suitability as bear habitat. The trip difficulty is rated 2 on a scale from 1 to 5, where a rating of 1 would correspond to the least difficult of the trips that we offer and a rating of 5 would denote the most difficult. This trip is tailored to beginner backpackers who are interested in developing skills associated with wilderness travel. Trip members arriving from other parts of the country should explore the option of flying to one of these cities (Santa Fe and Durango have limited air service) and sharing a rental car or arranging a ride. Mileage on our hiking days ranges from 3–8 miles, with a total of almost 25 miles for the trip (not including layover day hikes). From Antonito, drive 23 miles west on CO 17 to Forest Road 250, then north 12 miles to the South Fork trailhead. Colorado Trail Segments 20 & 21, La Garita Wilderness Area. The South Fork Trail culminates at Blue Lake beneath the Divide, where you can peer west to the Tierra Amarilla Land Grant (site of the ’79 grizzly encounter). With this comprehensive guide, veteran local hiker Donna Ikenberry provides all the information you need to get the most out of hiking the stunning San Juan Mountains. Accessible just south of Plataro, Colorado the San Juan Wilderness is home to the Epic Loop. Each person needs to keep the weight of personal gear below 25 pounds (including your backpack and 1 to 2 liters of water) so that with the addition of approximately 12 to 15 pounds of commissary equipment and food total pack weight will be less than 40 pounds at the start. Designated by the U.S. Congress in 1980, the South San Juan Wilderness covers about 160,000 acres, with elevations from about 8,000 to 13,300 feet. Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. Hiking Colorado’s Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness Areas, by Donna Ikenberry, $17 Permits & Regulations No permits required, but LNT camping is a must. Specific driving directions will also be sent before departure. Ages of volcanic activity followed by the carving of glaciers left the rough, imposing terrain of the remote South San Juan Wilderness, an area characterized by steep slopes above wide U-shaped valleys cut deeper by eroding streams. The hike along Colorado Trail … We will provide all food and cooking equipment, although you must bring your own cup, bowl, and spoon. Wilderness travel brings a variety of challenges, including exposure to high altitude, primitive camping, extreme weather changes, and sore feet from carrying heavy packs. REI • ZPacks • Hyperlite • Patagonia • Arc'teryx • RBTR • Drop • Backcountry • Feathered Friends • CampSaver • Gaia • Mountain Hardwear. Later on there were a couple “trails” marked on my maps that ended up being cross country routes across high plateaus, … While this is a beginner backpack, participants need to be fit, be dedicated to training to meet the demands of this specific trip, and invest in proper equipment. Contact San Juan National Forest: (970) 247-4874. 2013 BACKPACKING POEM by Marlis We eight adventurous women went off to hike The South San Juan Mountains, our chosen site. Our trek in Southern Colorado’s South San Juan Wilderness is a great location for an introductory trip in a high altitude setting. For the return leg, use Glacier Lake, Twin Lake, Conejos, and Roaring Gulch Trails, and you’ll cross alpine cirques, glacially carved tundra, and subalpine meadows. We will send a trip roster to all participants well before the trip to help facilitate ride sharing. The Second Meadows … Although participation in this outing does not require previous backpacking experience, carrying a 40-pound pack on trail with elevation changes is physically challenging. Photo: JustTooLazy. It was a beautiful … Afternoon thunderstorms are common in the San Juan Mountains. On the planned layover day, we can explore above the treeline along the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). Trails in South San Juan Wilderness - 35 Hiking Project is built by hikers like you. Afternoon thunderstorms, lightning, hail, snow, and high winds can occur this time of the year. We will travel lightly upon the land by learning and practicing Leave No Trace principles throughout the trip. Those peaks greedily wring summer’s monsoon and feed it to verdant, almost impenetrable forests and meadows. Backpacking in the South San Juan Wilderness. Or maybe it’s the thought of grizzlies. This will ensure a smoother start to our trip. Given the untamed lay of this land, it’s not hard to figure why holdout bears would choose the South San Juans as their last stronghold. We took no three wheeler nor horse nor bike, Hiking boots and poles were our delight. A fine day greeted us with a minimum of clouds in the sky. ©. 1 h 56 m This short trail is used to get to the Middle Fork Conejos River Trail, North Fork Conejos River Trail, and El Rito Azul Trail - all of which connect you to the Continental Divide Trail. They stretch from the San Luis Valley on the east side to beyond Durango and Telluride on the west. This probably is Colorado’s wildest expanse, straddling 50 miles of the Continental Divide north of the New Mexico border. A sobering uneasiness about your place in the local food chain notwithstanding, you can trek an incredible 26-mile circle route by stitching together five trails … On the South San Juan Wilderness trip, it came in much more handy. Access to the wilderness is mainly from the north via Hwy 160 or from the east through the town of Antonito. (If you would like the list before signing up, let the leader know and he will send you a copy.) Home; About; AT 2016; PCT 2017; CDT 2018; Gear; Food; General Hiking/Advice; Contact; Continental Divide Trail; Trail Logs; CDT Days 34-36: The South San Juan Wilderness. On the second day there was a point where the trail completely disappeared for quite some time, and had it not been for having the GPS to use, I very well might have turned around. A sobering uneasiness about your place in the local food chain notwithstanding, you can trek an incredible 26-mile circle route by stitching together five trails within this 158,790-acre wilderness. The San Juan Mountains are one of the largest distinct mountain systems in the U.S. It is our goal to feed you well so that you are well-fueled for daily hiking. We will provide a menu that appeals to vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. Day 1: Our trip officially starts in the early afternoon at a campsite near our entry trailhead. Home › Forums › General Forums › General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion › South San Juan Wilderness. Our trek in Southern Colorado’s South San Juan Wilderness is a great location for an introductory trip in a high altitude setting. * There may be slight differences between itineraries for various dates. Conejos Mountain in the South San Juan Wilderness Area July 2013. Something went wrong. Day 2: After serving a group breakfast at our campsite and taking care of final details, we will drive to the Red Lake trailhead. Day 5: On today’s hike we will walk along the Elk Creek trail, primarily downhill. Hiking Colorado’s Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness Areas features fifty-seven of southwestern Colorado’s finest trails–from short day trips to extended backpacking treks. We plan to cover about 3 miles, gaining about 600 feet and losing about 200 feet. Colorado’s last official griz was killed here in 1979, but unconfirmed sightings persist to this day. We plan to cover about 5.5 miles, gaining about 500 feet and losing about 700 feet. The latest gear, trips, stories, and more, beamed to your inbox every week. Conejos River Trail is a 4.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Pagosa Springs, Colorado that features a river and is good for all skill levels. After enduring one nasty storm while backpacking in the South San Juan Wilderness of Colorado, a second storm snuck up on me. For rain gear, you should bring a waterproof-breathable jacket and waterproof-breathable pants, rather than a poncho. Covering 1.8 million acres, roughly eight times larger than Rocky Mountain National Park, the San Juan National Forest is a great location if you’re planning to go backpacking, camping, or just for a day hike. The National Geographic/Trails Illustrated map South San Juan, Del Norte (map #142) covers the entire route. Our trek in Southern Colorado’s South San Juan Wilderness is a great location for an introductory trip in a high altitude setting. Basic instruction will be provided on topics such as: selecting and organizing gear, ensuring wilderness safety, reading topographic maps, cooking on portable stoves, picking out a tent site, and following Leave No Trace principles. This idea is not farfetched and would likely facilitate a healthier ecosystem in the San Juan Mountains. Giving your body an extra couple of days to adjust to the elevation can often make a big difference between enjoying the trip or merely just enduring it. This will allow time for learning wilderness skills, natural history, relaxing, and simply enjoying the great outdoors. We'll camp near Red Lake at an elevation of 11,450 feet. We will see open alpine meadows, sparse and stunted Engelmann spruce, alpine lakes, and exceptional, almost unending panoramic vistas, often hiking above timberline. We explored the meadow a bit before making a day hike up to a high mesa that we had seen on our hike in. All cooking gear and stoves are provided. The South San Juan Wilderness is located in the San Juan National Forest, east of Pagosa Springs, in southern Colorado. With an average … From there, enjoy the lack of crowds and, by today's standards, some relatively unspoiled Colorado wilderness. Our outings seek to empower participants toward greater understanding, advocacy, and participation in the goals of the Club. What a day. Located in Southwest Colorado, the Weminuche Wilderness area (pronounced whem-a-nooch) is the largest Wilderness area in Colorado, spanning 499,771 acres across the San Juan and Rio Grande National Forests. 142 ) covers the entire route s South San Juan Mountains grassroots involvement of suggested personal equipment be... Us needs to be the first to hear about New trips and exclusive deals Springs! 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