Sleep In The Dirt

Section 7:

Cottonwood Pass to Twin Lakes

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. Lots of climbing on Hope Pass along with high and exposed ridges. Some rocky sections with loose scree, and plenty of good fishing opportunities.

  • distance
    41 miles
  • elevation gain
    7,161 feet
  • elevation loss
    10,001 feet
  • highest point
    12,589 feet
  • wilderness area
    yes
  • percent on trail
    100%

"The first half of this section was very quiet, and we didn’t see too many hikers. My favorite part of the section was a tiny detour we took to get to Lake Ann. We made time for a quick skinny dip, soaked in the views of the Three Apostles and Mt. Huron, but had to get moving before the sun set. The stop was worth it, and I’d recommend making room for it in your trip itinerary! During the second half of our section, we conquered Hope Pass. The climb was very, very steep, but we were rewarded with food and amenities at the bottom in the town of Twin Lakes. This section of the trail is home to the iconic Leadville 100 race, and we ran into several hikers and runners training for the 100 miler. If I did this section again, I would be sure to make time to summit some of the 14ers along our route, like Mt. Huron and Mt. Elbert." On Trail: July 11th - 16th, 2018

Katie Black, Sponsorship Coordinator, Honey Stinger
Learn more about the hike

Our Itinerary

Southern Access Point:

Cottonwood Pass intersection, shown as Point 2 on Ley Maps CO 24. Unless traveling on the Purple Route on Section 6, in which case, access point would be at Texas Lakes, shown as Point 1 on Ley Maps CO 24.

Northern Access Point:

Twin Lakes (Where trail Crosses CO 82 at Northern tip of Twin Lakes) Ley Maps CO 22

Wilderness Area:
Yes

What We Experienced:

In the heart of the Collegiate Peaks with gorgeous views and rocky terrain. Hope Pass is beautiful but the weather can turn on you in an instant. Be prepared to get an early start to beat afternoon lightning storms and stop often to catch your breath and enjoy the views.

Additional Resources: 

Leave No Trace Principles

Guthook Guide – Continental Divide Trail

U.S. Forest Service – Pike and San Isabel National Forest

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

 

Our Route

Ascent:
7,161 feet

Descent:
10,001 feet

Grade per Mile:
419 feet

Pro tips:

There’s a good amount of on-trail water sources, but check an app like Guthook to check availability in the warmer summer months.

Be prepared for rocky climbs and exposed ridges, and watch out for loose scree fields.

Good rain gear and warm clothes are a must, and bring extra fuel if cooking more than twice a day due to the higher elevation.

Bring your fishing pole and valid Colorado license for some great opportunities to catch some fish!

 

Skills We Needed

• Rock Scrambling
• Lightning Safety
• 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.