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Hiking & Walking: Colorado > Rio Grande National Forest > Divide Ranger District

Quick Facts

Continental Divide - Weminuche Pass to Hunchback Pass Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,600 Feet (3304.2 Meters) Weminuche Pass
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Ending Elevation: 12,500 Feet (3896.5 Meters) Hunchback Pass
Length: 20.4 Miles (34.0 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 813
Usage: Moderate to Heavy
USGS Maps: Rio Grande Pyramid, Weminuche Pass

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Copyright: Unknown
"The Window," Rio Grande Pyramid
Many vacation adventures await visitors to this segment of the Continental Divide Trail. Perhaps foremost, is the opportunity to see and visit the towering Rio Grande Pyramid mountain peak and the adjacent "Window" area. The raw beauty and inspiring views in this area will long be etched in the visitor's memories. The extremely rugged, ragged beauty of the Needles Mountain area of the Weminuche Wilderness can also be viewed in the distance from the trail, when traveling from Hunchback Pass to West Ute Lake.

Access to many fishable lakes in the Upper Vallecito and Ute Creek Drainages is provided by this trail segment. West Ute, Middle Ute, Twin Ute Lakes, Ute Lake, Rock Lake, and Flint Lakes either adjoin the trail or are a quick side trip. People pressures are high from mid-July to mid-August along the Continental Divide at the head of the Vallecito and Ute Creek Drainages. This trail segment is well above timberline for all but a one or two mile stretch near Weminuche Pass. The best camping areas are off the trail and at or below timberline, where trees provide protection, comfort, variety and firewood.

The trail from Hunchback Pass begins by making a fairly steep 1 mile descent into the Vallecito Drainage before making a steady climb up Nebo Creek. Approximately 1/2 mile up Nebo Creek, the trail will turn and pass through a flat open meadow below the towering ragged cliffs of Mount Nebo. The trail will continue through grassy open meadows and slopes before reaching West Ute Lake. The trail will then switchback up the rocky slopes south of the Lake before reaching the divide between West Ute and Middle Ute Drainages.

The Continental Divide Trail is very poorly defined from this divide to Twin Ute Lakes. Heavy willow growth and wet boggy areas make travel difficult to Middle Ute Lake. Most people follow the defined tread of the West Ute cutoff Trail to the Main Ute Trail below Twin Ute Lakes. They rejoin the Continental Divide Trail at Twin Ute Lakes and proceed over hilly open country toward Main Ute Lake.
After reaching the ridge above Main Ute Lake, the trail will shortly make a steep winding ascent to the headwaters of the Rincon La Osa Drainage.

The trail will again become poorly defined at the headwater of Rincon La Osa. Be careful not to go down the well-defined Rincon La Osa Trail unless you are looking for a nice camping area in the tree-lined meadows. By staying close to the Continental Divide, you will eventually pick up the well-defined trail tread heading up the steep slope below the "Window." The trial will cross the Divide below the "Window."

Once again, hikers need to be careful not to go down the Rincon La Vaca Trail but should bear northward across the open meadows below the "Window" and "The Rio Grande Pyramid." Shortly, the well-defined tread of the High Line Trail will come into view. Following this trail will take one along the narrow cliffs before dropping sharply to Weminuche Pass.

Directions from Creede: Travel southwest from Creede on Colorado Highway 149 for approximately 20.1 miles to the junction of Highway 149 with Forest Road #520 (Upper Rio Grande River Road), then approximately 26 miles to the Beartown Road #506 junction. Proceed up the Beartown Road to 1/4 mile below Kite Lake, where the Continental Divide Trail #813 crosses the road. Hike 3/4 mile southwest to Hunchback Pass. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is required for access to the Kite Lake Area.

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

Current Conditions & Trip Reports
Snowed in Updated: 2000-05-09 10:34:00.0

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Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking At or below timberline
ICON Cold Water Fishing Lakes in the Upper Vallecito; Ute Creek drainages
ICON Hiking & Walking Continental Divide - Weminuche Pass to Hunchback Pass Trail
ICON Viewing Scenery Rio Grande Pyramid; the "Window" area

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.

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.

Ute Creek Trail - This trail is the major access route into the vast Ute Basin Area. Four major fishable lakes sit in the beautiful basin. The Ute Trail is a popular route with Weminuche Wilderness visitors.

Ute Lake Trail - After departing from the main Ute Trail, this trail immediately crosses Middle Ute Creek and proceeds up an open meadow. It meets the Continental Divide Trail immediately above Ute Lake.

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.

West Ute Creek Trail - The trail is the main access route to West Ute Lake and is an easy to hike along West Ute Creek. The trail travels up a steady, steep climb through the old-growth spruce fir below West Ute Lake.

More Information
Frequently Asked Questions
Email the Local Ranger

Visitor Information:

Divide Ranger Station, 13308 West US Highway 160, P.O. Box 40 , Del Norte, CO, 81132, Phone: 719-657-3321, TTY: 719-657-6038


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