Sleep In The Dirt

Section 3:

Beartown Trailhead to Spring Creek 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. Most of the climbing and jaw-dropping views come in the first 20 miles. It will be slow and scenic. Once you join the Colorado Trail, expect mellower tread, less climbing, trail markings, and easier navigation.

  • distance
    40.7 miles
  • elevation gain
    9,635 feet
  • elevation loss
    8,520 feet
  • highest point
    13,250 feet
  • wilderness area
    Yes
  • percent on trail
    100%

"At the age of 59 I felt like a plump Bilbo Baggins trying to keep up with a couple of fleet-footed, twenty-something, lean, mean, hiking-machine elves. My advice for this section would be to pace yourself, it’s more about the journey than the destination here. Water is around, but I would take every chance to top it off. Also sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen. You’ll be at or above timberline for most of the hike, so be sure to keep your eye on the sky for afternoon storms forming. This section is in the heart of the San Juan Mountains with very few opportunities to re-supply, so be prepared to hunker down if necessary. There is the Friends of the Colorado Trail Yurt (first come, first serve, no reservations needed) about 5 miles south of the Spring Creek Trailhead if you need it." On Trail: June 24th-29th, 2018.

Paul Geppert, Facilities Manager, Big Agnes/Honey Stinger
Learn more about the hike

Our Itinerary

Southern Access Point:

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

Northern Access Point:

Spring Creek Pass / Hwy. 149 (Near Creede, CO / Rio Grande Reservoir) Ley Maps CO 35

Wilderness Area:
Yes

What We Experienced:

Lots of vertical, might be difficult to follow for the first 20 miles on the CDT until you join the Colorado Trail. Be prepared to start early, and bring dependable rain gear and warm layers.

Lots of on-trail water, stream crossings could be flowing moderately in the early season.

Additional Resources: 

Leave No Trace Principles

Guthook Guide – Continental Divide Trail

U.S. Forest Service – Rio Grande National Forest

U.S. Forest Service – Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests

 

 

Our Route

Ascent:
9,635 ft

Descent:
8,520 ft.

Grade per Mile:
396 feet

Pro tips:

There is a Colorado Trail Yurt that is 9 miles from Spring Creek Pass (30 miles into your hike) – might be nice to spend the night there – there are bunk beds, but you need to leave a donation to stay, no reservations required.

This section crosses the high point on the Colorado Trail (though you will be higher the first 20 miles of your hike so whatever). Ends at major road (Spring Creek TH on Hwy. 149). Less beetle kill and less technical than Southern San Juans.

 

Skills We Needed

• Snow hiking
• Navigation when trail is buried under snow
• Lightning Safety
• Stream Crossings
• LNT Ethics

* 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.