Day 18: San Luis Pass & Peak

Thursday July 8, 26.1mi/42.0km

Cochetopa Creek (334.7/10830ft) to Spring Creek Pass (357.8/10906ft) (CO) + 3.0mi San Luis Peak

We were awake before sunrise, and on the trail just after 6am. The valley turned orange as the sun came up.

Some of the nearby cliffs had neat formations.

Two hours later, we stood atop San Luis Pass. Looking back down the valley that we just hiked up:

We dropped our packs and took a side hike up nearby San Luis Peak, a 14er. The nice trail climbed steadily up to the summit.

The only thing that seemed to grow up here were these purple flowers.

We arrived at the summit just before 9am.

The views were incredible.

There was a father/son duo up there too, they are doing 5 summits each summer until he goes away to college, neat!

Coming back down the mountain to the Colorado trail.


The trail wove it’s way thru alpine meadows and passes all day, everything was so green.

Looking back at San Luis Peak:

On top of a pass, looking down to the next valley:

In one spot we had to cross a tiny snow patch. The cold felt good on my feet.

The constant ups and downs were exhausting, but it was cool to see each new green valley we would traverse.

BluegrassHopper coming up to a pass.

It has been a very wet summer, and the wildflowers are growing like crazy.

After all the climbs and descents over passes, we finally came to Snow Mesa. It is the large flat plateau on the right side of the photo.

We took a break at a nice rocky spot, and a pika came to say hi…or maybe ask for food.

More wildflowers! The deep red ones were a new sight.

The trail slowly made its way down to Snow Mesa.

Once we were on the Mesa we had 5 miles of flat easy walking.

There wasn’t much water up there, but this little lake was nice to look at.

The trail seemed to go on forever in the distance.

Even more wildflowers! These tiny alpine purple ones smelled really good.

Finally at 5pm we came to the edge of the Mesa, and started our descent down to Spring Creek Pass.

Most of the wildflowers we saw on the way down were columbines, Colorado’s state flower.

We got to Spring Creek past just before 6pm, and BluegrassHopper instantly got a hitch down to Lake City.

He is getting off the trail here, as his flight home is tomorrow. I’m camping at the pass and continuing on for a couple more days to Silverton.

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