Peak(s):  Venable Pk  -  13,334 feet
Spring Mtn  -  13,244 feet
Comanche Pk A  -  13,277 feet
Date Posted:  08/13/2013
Date Climbed:   08/09/2013
Author:  bergsteigen
 A dream come true: Early season snow in the Sangres  

Comanche Peak A, Spring Mountain, Venable Peak

Trailhead: Venable-Comanche TH, east side
Mileage: 13.19
Elevation Gain: 5,556'
Partner: Solo
Time: 8.3 hrs

There are already a few TR's for this loop, but I'm surprised there are not many more. The trail is easily accessible, in great condition, and so the miles and elevation quickly go by! The route is so well defined, this loop would be great for those starting on the 13ers, that still want good well marked trails, with minimal route finding. I had wanted to save these for late fall, when early season snows had fallen. With all the inclined rock layers in the region, the photo's that I have seen from this group were spectacular. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a thick coating of hail on the upper reaches of the ridges and peaks. Snow (or hail) always makes the peaks look that much more pretty!

The tailhead even affords the truck camper a most welcome respite from trying to level the vehicle - a level concrete slab! Plus an outhouse, and I was in heaven Thursday night as I arrived to the light pitter pater of rain on my truck. I decided to sleep in slightly (for me anyway), and get started around 5:20am. I started to see some hail on the trail shortly after starting out. It got thicker the higher up I went. Solar aspects had melted a bit, but everything in the shade remained. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to see the sunrise through the trees, but came across an open area just in time. Starting to like seeing the sunrise so often!

Sunrise in the trees

Sunrise over the Wet Mountains

Once above treeline, the trail has a few more switchbacks before it reaches the Comanche-Spring saddle. From there, it's a simple stroll up to the summit of Comanche.

Trail up to Comanche Peak

Comanche Peak

At the saddle looking back down trail and over to Spring Mountain

Ridge up to Comanche

Venable and Spring

Pano south towards Horn, Adams, Kit Carson and Challenger

Back at the saddle, I decide to take the trail around the west side of the ridge on my way to Spring Mountain. The ridge doesn't loose much elevation, but I figured, when there's a trail, use it! I then regained the ridge a little after the lowest part of the ridge, and made my way to the summit of Spring amongst the frozen flowers.

Trail on west side of ridge towards Spring

Final ridge up Spring Mountain

It would seem the flowers of spring and summer will now fade, with all the frozen precipitation they have, and will be receiving. The flowers on the summit of Spring are starting to look a little battered. Looking north towards Venable, you can see parts of the trail that goes across it's face - the Phantom Terrace...

Snowy flowers on the summit of Spring Mountain

North from Spring

Ridge over to Venable Peak

Looking back up at Spring

On the summit of Venable, I take a longer break, as I'm now on the last peak of the day and the clouds don't threaten yet. Lots of mist rising from the frozen moisture on the ground. While I don't want to go down yet, I have to drive up to the Crags TH for a finisher hike the next day. So I make my way down. Two choices, take the ridge to Venable pass, and then down the Venable trail, or go back to the saddle with Spring Mountain and take the "Phantom Terrace" trail. Well, with a name like that, it's pretty obvious which will be more fun! Too bad the Phantom Menace was such a disappointment, no lightsabers on this descent - even though there is an app for that!

Pano south from Venable

Start of the Phantom Terrace
Snow and flowers on the terrace

Phantom Terrace Pano

On the way down the Venable trail, I get to see one of the rock features I was hoping would stand out with the hail, a lovely anticline in the ridge!

Snow brings out the Anticline!

Once below treeline, I had to dodge a few loop walkers and aggressive "friendly" dogs. Be sure to take a detour to go see Venable Falls! Some minor class 3 scrambling will get you by the waters edge for some great photos!

Upper Venable Falls
Lower Venable Falls

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

 Comments or Questions

Awesome Hike
08/13/2013 17:19
My wife and I just did the loop last month, climbing Comanche and Spring (skipping Venable - a third summit with a full overnight pack was not what our knees needed), and we had a great time. Its funny we essentially took the same pictures, only ours did not have the white stuff. Thanks for sharing.


colorful pictures
08/13/2013 17:51
in colorful colorado, very nice


Lovely Read....
08/13/2013 18:41
and it definitely gives me a new idea for a solo journey. Thank you!


Nice report
08/14/2013 01:01
Agreed, did the same loop a few years ago, it's a great hike no doubt.


super pic
08/14/2013 02:03
The anticline picture is totally awesome!!!!


What a cool area
08/14/2013 04:04
Looks like a great day to be out and about!


nice pictures!
08/14/2013 14:29
did you forget your skis?!?!?


08/14/2013 19:38
Every once in a while I get surprised by a great hike like this!

Dillon - I didn't expect that I could ski anything yet 8)

Jenny - That's why I left the waterfalls for last! Didn't want to rush through in the morning.


Thanks so much!
08/18/2013 23:52
I first made this hike in 1968. I never tire of it. I live about half a mile from the trailhead.....but only November thru April so I rarely see it in glorious green!


07/10/2018 08:38
years later, still helpful on our trip

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