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Quick Question on the South Colony Lake trailhead

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Quick Question on the South Colony Lake trailhead

Postby Otis » Fri Aug 16, 2013 3:59 pm

I'm thinking about doing a simple one-day trip to either Crestone Peak or Humboldt on Sunday, arriving Saturday afternoon. Is it better to camp near the trailhead or backpack in 2 or 3 miles? Thoughts are appreciated. Thanks, OTIS

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Re: Quick Question on the South Colony Lake trailhead

Postby Justin9 » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:06 pm

I'd leave from the 4wd trailhead for humboldt. I chose to pack in when I did crestone peak, otherwise it is a pretty long day. If you pack in it is more like 5 miles to the lower lake or turnoff toward the peak. Good luck.

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Re: Quick Question on the South Colony Lake trailhead

Postby Scotzman » Fri Aug 16, 2013 4:46 pm

I was just on Humboldt and we decided to hike back and camp near the lake. Either option is fine, it's like 3.5 or so miles from the 4x trail head to the lakes area but it's mostly old 4x4 road so it's easy going. If you don't mind carrying camping gear it makes your actual hike day shorter but it's certainly not necessary for Humboldt anyway. One factor to consider, which was a big part of our decision to camp, is what time the forecast is predicting the tstorms to move in. We wanted to summit as soon as possible to avoid the higher risk time.
Scotzman
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What we do in life echoes in eternity.

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Re: Quick Question on the South Colony Lake trailhead

Postby Otis » Fri Aug 16, 2013 5:20 pm

Great feedback, thanks! Kinda weird when you haven't been to a place before. Everything is crystal clear once you get up there. :-D

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Re: Quick Question on the South Colony Lake trailhead

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Aug 16, 2013 6:13 pm

There are some nice campsites at the trailhead, built when they closed the rest of the road. Dayhiking Humboldt from there isn't bad at all.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Quick Question on the South Colony Lake trailhead

Postby mountain_man » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:20 am

Is there dispersed camping along the upper road? We'll be on that road late and recent road reports say it's rough, so we may get as far as we can. We'll be driving a Ford Escape.

Thanks!
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Re: Quick Question on the South Colony Lake trailhead

Postby Jim Davies » Fri Aug 23, 2013 10:26 am

You'll have to get beyond the private property first, but there are several campsites past there and before the road ends. A few years ago the "crux" of the road was far enough in that you could camp, provided you can get past the first few curves after the road goes into the trees.

I've seen people camping in the "cow-pasture" lot before the private property starts. It's not great but would do in a pinch.
Some people are afraid of heights. Not me, I'm afraid of widths. -- Steven Wright

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Re: Quick Question on the South Colony Lake trailhead

Postby DeTour » Fri Aug 23, 2013 9:44 pm

mountain_man wrote:Is there dispersed camping along the upper road? We'll be on that road late and recent road reports say it's rough, so we may get as far as we can. We'll be driving a Ford Escape.

Lots of people drive to the "new" upper trailhead (9950') in comparable vehicles.

If you want the Peak, I'd suggest hiking in to camp near the lakes at around 11,500'. Lots of good campsites right near the lakes and tree line. This puts you in the best spot for climbing the Peak. Even from here, the Peak is a bit of a haul, with the ascent of Broken Hand Pass and fairly long traverse across the Cottonwood Lake basin to reach the Red Gully.

If it's Humboldt you want, you have more options, including the east ridge approach from Rainbow Trail. But Humboldt via the west ridge from S. Colony Lakes is also a great hike. Any way you cut it, South Colony Lakes is a beautiful place to camp, with Crestone Needle towering over you. I'd consider it more scenic than anything along the road to the trailhead, and also prettier than the campsites near the "old" 4wd drive trailhead (around 11,000'). But they're all really nice, you can't go wrong up there for beautiful camping.
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