Staunton SP

Staunton SP

Monday, September 5, 2011

Pagosa Peak 12,640ft

Weminuche Wilderness Area, San Juan National Forest

Distance:  4 miles (Round Trip)
Elevation Gain:  2,000ft

Map:  I suggest using Google Earth or USGS National Map - Online Map Builder

This is a fantastic hike with a real sense of accomplishment.  Looking at the San Juan landscape from Pagosa Springs, you will forever feel a sense of pride at having climbed the most prominent peak in sight.

Every year our family and friends meet up at the Four Corners Folk Festival in Pagosa Springs.  Pagosa Peak lords over the valley and is visible behind the festival's main stage.  After spending 3 days drooling over Pagosa Peak my friend Luke and I decided that we just need to climb it.  We asked around, got rudimentary directions, woke up early the last day of the festival and...couldn't find the trailhead.  The next year we did some more research got up before dawn and successfully found the trail, the reward was all the sweeter.

Directions:  While the hike itself is not easy, the hardest part is finding the trailhead.  From Pagosa Springs head North on Piedra Road to Road #633.  After several miles make a right onto Road #634 and not long after a left onto Black Mountain Road #661.  This road is bad, beautiful, but bad.  It is barely maintained, rocky, potted, rutted, etc...  That being said, it is not a jeep road.  I made it in my 2010 Subaru Forester with only a few real problem areas.  The trail is not marked and starts at the end of the switchbacks.  If you reach the end of the road, you've gone too far.  The coordinates for the trailhead are Lat - 37 26'11.31"N Long - 107 4'56.08"W.  The trail is to the left look for a wide spot in the road (the road is narrow so the wide spot is noticeable).

The hike is a quad burner for sure.  You gain about 2,000 ft in 2 miles with little relief.  Climb through a dense forest until you break out on the saddle.  From here you follow the rocky ridge all the way to the peak.  Watch for the cairns and be wary of the false summit.  The view is amazing, the hike is absolutely worth all the trouble it takes to get there.  One of my top ten hiking experiences!

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