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By The Smoky Mountain Hiker
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News and Adventure from Glacier National Park continues to expand! Kathy and I spent several days hiking in the San Juan Mountains near Ouray a few weeks ago. We also stayed in Buena Vista a couple of nights, and were able to do a hike from Cottonwood Pass. As a result, we just added 5 new hikes to our website. Hopefully you’ll find that this expansion will make your hike and trip planning a little easier as you explore Colorado’s amazing backcountry outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Here’s a quick rundown on what’s been added to our site:

Sneffels Highline: The first two hikes on this list, both the Sneffels Highline and Bilk Basin Overlook, are among the best hikes I’ve ever done. Both offer exceptional views for extended periods. For example, the Sneffels Highline travels above the treeline for almost 4.5 miles. I highly recommend this hike during the fall when the aspens explode in brilliant shades of yellows.

Bilk Basin Overlook: This hike climbs to the base of the Lizard Head, the iconic peak that has been voted as one of Colorado’s most dangerous and difficult climbs, according to the San Juan National Forest website. From the basin below the peak the trail ascends a low saddle where you’ll enjoy spectacular views of 14,246-foot Mount Wilson, 13,913-foot Gladstone Peak and 14,017-foot Wilson Peak rising above Bilk Basin.

Horsethief Trail: Just outside of the town of Ouray is another outstanding hike that offers spectacular scenery. At just 6.5 miles in total roundtrip mileage, or even less if you have a 4WD, this hike offers some of the best bang for your buck.

Porphyry Basin: If you’re comfortable walking off trail, and enjoy passing thru old mining country, this is a great choice if you’re in the Red Mountain Pass area. The hike visits three lakes in the lower and upper Porphyry Basin, and includes many opportunities for exploring the expansive open terrain that surrounds them.

Cottonwood Pass South: This is a great hike if you’re anywhere in the Buena Vista area. Big views are attained from the very first step. Although the total elevation gain is rather small, this is still a fairly strenuous hike for those that haven’t acclimated properly. The hike begins from Cottonwood Pass, which means you’ll be at 12,126 feet at the trailhead. The hike ends near the top of Wander Ridge, at 12,650 feet.

You can find several other hikes in the San Juan Mountains, and throughout Colorado, on our Other Colorado Hiking Trails page.

Hope you find these helpful! Happy trails!


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park


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