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Backpacking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Divide Ranger District

Quick Facts

Continental Divide - Knife Edge to Weminuche Pass Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,600 Feet (3304.2 Meters)
Difficulty: More Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,200 Feet (374.1 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 11,800 Feet (3678.3 Meters)
Length, One-way: 17.2 Miles (28.67 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 813
Usage: Moderate to Heavy
USGS Maps: Cimarrona Peak, Granite Lake, Little Squaw Creek, Weminuche Pass

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Opportunities for many beautiful panoramic views exist along this segment of the Continental Divide Trail. Plenty of film will be needed by the camera buff. Fishermen will find some short side trips can be made to Trout, Williams, and Squaw Lakes. A side trip to Squaw Lake will provide a good camping area and good fishing, but a steep climb back to the Continental Divide Trail. Side trips to either Trout or Williams Lakes do not involve hard climbs back to the Divide Trail.

Much of this trail segment is above timberline. Good camping areas, with tree cover can be found at Weminuche Pass, the head of the North Fork of the Pine and at Squaw Pass. Bighorn sheep can occasionally be observed in the area near Hossick Peak while grazing in the meadow areas. The best areas for seeing elk are usually near Chief Mountain and at the headwaters of Little Squaw Creek.

Elevations are high and the air is thin, so plan to be in good physical condition. Hiking in the early morning to early afternoon is usually best. Afternoon thundershowers can be severe, with few areas along the trail providing protection from lightning hazards.

Shortly after leaving the tree cover at Weminuche Pass, the trail will cross a water diversion ditch and proceed through a wet, boggy meadow for about one mile. The trail will then turn easterly and proceed up the North Fork of the Pine River. The trail will climb gradually through the spruce-covered slopes of this drainage before getting above timberline and crossing the boggy meadows and willow fields at the head of Snowslide Canyon.

The trail will continue along a broad, open grassy ridge along the Continental Divide for several miles. The trail will then begin making a gradual descent through open meadows and parks below the rugged rocky cliff like country near Hossick Peak. After Squaw Pass, the trail will make a rather strong climb through scattered spruce timber patches before entering the open grassy ridges near Chief Mountain. The trail will continue along the backbone of the Divide, weaving back and forth from one side to the other until it reaches the open pass between Williams Lake and Trout Lake.

The Knife Edge lies directly ahead, with the trail carved into the side of a cliff, jutting sharply out from the Continental Divide. The trail is well defined for the vast majority of this segment. Some portions of this trail segment are poorly located on the Forest Service 1/2'= mile map, so it is best to have the more accurate USGS topographic maps for reference and orientation.

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 10.0 miles to Thirty Mile Campground. Take the Weminuche Creek Trail # 818 from the campground to Weminuche Pass. Once at the Pass, cross the diversion ditch and stay to the east side of the headwaters of the Pine River and you should have little trouble picking up the Continental Divide Trail # 813.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Late Summer through Early Fall .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Snowed in until July 1st Updated: 2000-05-09 10:28:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Weminuche Pass; head of the North Fork of the Pine and at Squaw Pass
ICON Cold Water Fishing Trout, Williams, and Squaw Lakes
ICON Hiking & Walking Continental Divide - Knife Edge to Weminuche Pass Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Much of this trail segment is above timberline
ICON Mountain Biking Not permitted in wilderness
ICON Viewing Scenery Panoramic views
ICON Viewing Wildlife Bighorn sheep; elk

Related Activities
Reservoir (rio Grande) Picnic Ground - This site overlooks Rio Grande Reservoir and has 4 picnic units, each with tables and fireplaces.

Rio Grande Reservoir - This is a scenic high mountain reservoir with access to wonderful outdoor recreation opportunities. There are five campgrounds, picnic areas, many trails leading from the area and a jeep road with a historical site.

River Hill Campground - This campground has good screening with trees on many sites and remains full from mid-June through August. It is adjacent to Rio Grande River and Little Squaw Resort.

Squaw Creek Trail - The trail primarily parallels Squaw Creek from Thirty Mile Campground to the Continental Divide. Good fishing is possible along Squaw Creek and nice camping areas are easy to find along the trail.

Squaw Lake Trail - Squaw Lake Trail lies deep within the Weminuche Wilderness. Good access to the Continental Divide is available on this trail. Pleasant camping areas are available.

Texas Creek Trail - The Texas Creek Trail is lightly used and provides access to the popular Ruby Lake area and Trout Lake. From Big Ruby Lake either this trail or Red Lakes Trail (#889) will provide access to Red Lakes and Trout Lake.

Thirty Mile Creek Trailhead - Campground and trailhead are located 31.1 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road #520. Adjacent to Rio Grande River and Thirty Mile Resort.

Thirtymile Campground - Campground and trailhead are located 31.1 miles southwest of Creede on Forest Road #520. Adjacent to Rio Grande River and Thirty Mile Resort.

Weminuche Creek Trail - The Weminuche Trail provides quick and easy access to the Continental Divide. From Thirty Mile Campground, the trail allows a hiker to be at Weminuche Pass after an easy 4 hour trip.

More Information

Visitor Information:

Creede-Mineral County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 580 , Creede, CO, 81130, Phone: 800-327-2102 or 719-658-2374, Fax: 719-658-2717


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