climbing Mount Sopris, CO

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

I’m arrived Colorado. 🙂 Only my second hiking trip to this fantastic State.

As a warm-up leg stretcher, on Saturday I attempted Sopris, the imposing peak above Carbondale. Elevation 12,953 feet.


We were up at 6am. My host, Brion, owner of Independence Run and Hike, wished it had been 5am. The Colorado Rockies are famous for mid-day lightning storms.

At the trailhead Brion took off for a training run. I turned the opposite direction to start up Sopris.

DSCN1315Brion warned me of aggressive cows and possibly even bulls. They weren’t aggressive with us. But they were a bit of a pain.

DSCN1317I met Matt – recently moved to Colorado from the East coast – at the start. He and I walked together to the top.

DSCN1324We took no breaks up to the Thomas lakes. Happy with the speed of ascent, we decided to carry on and have our first break above the treeline.

DSCN1322Lunch  on the ridge was terrific. Big vistas down both sides.

DSCN1327Above the treeline the scramble up Sopris begins. The trail disappears at times up unstable boulders.

DSCN1330Our goal was the first summit. It looked an easy hour from our lunch vantage.

DSCN1331Up on the scree ridge footing gets easier leading to the false summit. Many stop here as the views are just about as good as on the summit. But Matt and I felt good. Wanted to go all the way.

DSCN1332And the weather was holding. Check this blue sky. 🙂

DSCN1336Sadly, in the other direction big scary clouds were rushing up the valley. When we saw the first lightning bolts, we turned back. 🙂

DSCN1338I planned to hurry down to the lakes. And cool my feet in cold alpine waters.

DSCN1339It’s far more dangerous going down than climbing up. Be careful.

DSCN1345A real highlight this time of year is wild flowers.

DSCN1378 DSCN1376 DSCN1367

As the weather worsened, I increased my pace. But still got caught in a downpour the last 20 minutes to the parking lot.


I hid from the rain at the pit toilet, changing clothes for the long mountain bike ride back to Carbondale.


I always carry empty dry bags in my pack just for this kind of soaking rain.


It was a fun, muddy roll down the mountain. The best part of the day.

DSCN1384more photos

related – Hiking in Colorado – Mount Sopris

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