Colorado High Altitude Trip
July 26- 27 Friday - Saturday
The goal for this two-day trip is to stay cool, stay in the high country, visit rock art sites, and take in the alpine wildflowers at their summer peak.
Day 1. We drive to our first destination east of Glenwood Springs for a short hike. The site features a mountain cave at 8,000 feet with hundreds of rock art images, both charcoal and painted. In late afternoon, we will hike to another site with a nice pictograph.
That evening we drive to the Camp Hale Memorial Campground at an elevation of 9,200 feet. Our reserved camp is on the grounds of the re-purposed training camp of the 10th Mountain Division -- the famed skiing troops of World War II. We will be located just north of the Town of Leadville.
Day 2. We break camp and drive most of the morning on a backroad over a mountain pass and through superb wildflower country, arriving at our rock art destination in early afternoon. We will be situated south of Crested Butte at an altitude of 8,200 feet. Short hikes will be required at two separate sites.
Late that afternoon, the trip officially ends. Lodging and camping on your own. However, consider staying the night -- the weather in the Gunnison Valley in late July is delightful. Gunnison is a resort, fishing, college town with numerous dining and lodging options.
Day 3 Optional add-on day. Depending on the interest level, we can head north to Crested Butte and take in the wildflower capital of Colorado. This is an alternate route back to Grand Junction and I-70, no backtracking. One option is to visit the revived ghost town of Gothic, site of the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory where they study climate change. The real reason, of course, is to view the wildflowers -- virtually everywhere.
Camping Fees. The USFS fee at Camp Hale is $29 per night per space, payable to the trip leader. There is no group space available, but we have reserved adjoining spaces and hopefully can grab some group campfire time. Depending on numbers, we may have to share campsites to accommodate all. Camp trailers and RVs ok.
Non-Camping Accommodations. This is primarily a camping trip, but it would be possible to arrange your lodging in Leadville the night of Day 1 and meet the group the next morning. If so, contact the trip leader for more information.
Roads & Driving Times. Much of our driving is on paved state highways. In some places we will be on gravel county roads, so high clearance is recommended. There are no situations that require four wheel drive.
Hiking Difficulty. Day 1, the rock art cave is about 1 mile roundtrip, at altitude, but easy otherwise (midday heat is a concern). The Day 1 second hike, if we attempt, is about 3 miles roundtrip; a fairly easy 300 vertical foot descent to a rock shelter (the climb out is in the open; late afternoon heat is a concern). Day 2 has short half-mile hikes, again at elevation, but not difficult.
Leader: Dennis DeVore