This segment of the Continental Divide Trail is not difficult to hike for those acclimatized to high elevations and in fair to good physical condition. Most of the hard climbing is accomplished in the process of getting the vehicle to the trailhead. Wide open, grassy, rolling hills and plateau-like country is traversed. Numerous small "potholes" dot the landscape along the trail.
The trail provides access to trails leading to several lakes adjacent to the west side of the Continental Divide. Verde, Lost, El Dorado, Highland Mary, and Silver Lakes are the most popular for fishing. Kite Lake is a dead lake, so do not try fishing there. Evidence of historic mining activity can be viewed in the Kite Lake Area. Layered rock formations that have been twisted, turned, and uplifted provide striking geologic beauty in the Hunchback Pass Area. Camping spots can be found but lack of trees for cover and firewood can make camping difficult.
The trail tread is not well-defined on the first 2-3 mile segment of the trail. Some stock driveway sign posts and rock cairns help mark the travel route. Before dropping into the Bear Creek drainage, the trail basically parallels the Continental Divide. The trail will also become a 4-wheel-drive road once the hiker comes to the area with old mining activity, north of Kite Lake. The 4-wheel-drive road will intersect with the road to Kite Lake. After crossing the Kite Lake Road, the trail will begin to make a 0.75 mile climb to Hunchback Pass. For the most part, this final section of trail is well-defined.
Directions from Creede, Colorado: Travel south on Colorado Highway 149 for approximately 20.1 miles to Forest Development Road # 520 (Upper Rio Grande River Road). Go approximately 33.0 miles on Forest Road 520 to a point about 0.5 mile below Stony Pass. A 4-wheel-drive vehicle is required for the rough road conditions the last 17.0 miles of this route. Snowbanks and high creek crossings usually limit vehicle access until the first or second week in July. The trail crossing of the road is signed.
Late Summer through Early Fall .