Sleep In The Dirt

Section 2:

Wolf Creek Pass to Hunchback Pass

What We Found

The content below contains general information about Big Agnes staff experience while traveling along the CDT through Colorado in the summer of 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel this route, do so at your own risk. Through this section there was not much tree coverage and quite a bit of widow-makers that will slow you down a bit. Prepare for afternoon storms with heavy wind and rain which you might have to hunker down for a little while until they pass. Patience is a virtue on this section, so try to get plenty of rest and an early start to make the most of your days.

  • distance
    76.4 miles
  • elevation gain
    17,541 feet
  • elevation loss
    16,617 feet
  • highest point
    12,803 feet
  • wilderness area
    Yes
  • percent on trail
    100%

"The San Juan’s really make you work. But damn, is it worth it. Section 2 is Colorado on steroids. Long, open views, EPIC ridge walks & stunning high alpine lakes. I have done this section going both directions and prefer north (start at Wolf Creek and finish at Beartown). Going north is a crescendo for the eyes, legs and spirit. Don't miss 'the window' - an awesome feature that you can slackpack or pass through and reconnect with the CDT - one of the coolest spots on the entire Divide Trail." On Trail: August 28th - September 5th, 2018

Kathleen Lynch, Sustainability and Sourcing, Big Agnes
Learn more about the hike

Our Itinerary

Southern Access Point:

Wolf Creek Pass (HWY 160) Ley Maps: CO42

Northern Access Point:

Lost Trail Campground Parking Area @ Base of Beartown Road (Hunchback Pass TH / Beartown Road), (Near Rio Grande Reservoir) Ley Maps: CO37

Wilderness Area:
Yes

What We Experienced:

This section is high-elevation and has some long and steep uphill climbs. In early summer we found a lot of snow remained on the trail, and the weather was unpredictable and volatile. “The Window” is one of the coolest spots on the CDT and is accessible via a short detour – a must-see while you’re on this section.

Additional Resources: 

Leave No Trace Principles

Guthook Guide – Continental Divide Trail

U.S. Forest Service – Rio Grande National Forest

U.S. Forest Service – San Juan National Forest

Our Route

Ascent:
17,541 ft

Descent:
16,617 ft.

Grade per Mile:
448 feet

Pro tips:

Try to hit this trail in August when lightning season starts to subside a little bit.

If you don’t do well with heights, “Knife’s Edge” may give you an adrenaline rush you won’t soon forget.

Pack a pair of hiking pants! The shrubbery is no joke, and will flay your skin over the course of a week.

Skills We Needed

• Snow hiking
• Navigation when trail is buried under snow
• Lightning Safety
• Stream Crossings
• LNT Ethics
• Curb your fear of heights – there may be steep and snowy bowl crossings
• Widow-Maker safety

* This site and routes described within contain general information about Big Agnes staff adventures in the backcountry, summer 2018. While we have made an effort to provide you with a valuable trip-planning tool, we cannot offer any assurance that this information is current, complete or even accurate – if you choose to travel these routes, do so at your own risk. Prior to setting out check local weather, trail conditions, closures, legal access points, Forest Service, BLM, or National Park rules and regulations, and other risks involved. We hope to inspire responsible backcountry and public land use, but by using our website you agree to use this information at your own risk.