Colorado Trail – Collegiate West day 6

trip report by besthike editor Rick McCharles

day 1 | day 2 | day 3 | day 4 | day 5 | day 6 | info page

Hunt Lake to Monarch Pass

I was up at first light. But everyone else heading south was already gone. DSCN1824 DSCN1829 DSCN1827I enjoyed a pot of coffee, as usual. DSCN1831It was up, up and away from pretty (but buggy) Hunt Lake. DSCN1834For some reason the steep climb to the only major pass felt easy today. Perhaps I’m getting used to this.DSCN1836 DSCN1837 DSCN1838The map showed a long, leisurely walk out along the continental divide. DSCN1839 DSCN1841More ptarmigan. These 4 chicks were very young. DSCN1857 DSCN1849 DSCN1845The end is near. Electricity. DSCN1862Traversing the roads atop of Monarch Ski Resort was a bit confusing. There are few trail signs.DSCN1865 DSCN1868 DSCN1872Here’s the finish. Paved paradise, put up a parking lot. DSCN1875I caught a lift with a trail angel from Buena Vista. In thanks – and celebration – I treated for beer samplers and pork tacos at Elevation brewery. DSCN1878She dropped me at BV tourist information. I hoped to find a bus headed towards Aspen. Bad news: Though public transit is fantastic on the other side of Independence Pass, there are no buses in the poorer Arkansas River valley. 😦

Though I hate hitchhiking, a paddling guide drove me up to the Twin Lakes turnoff. … Then a fascinating world travelernext skiing in Chile before settling down to research Dahl Sheep in Alaskadrove me the rest of the way to Aspen.

From there, in the pouring rain, I caught a $6 bus back to surprise my friends in Carbondale.


more full resolution photos

day 1 | day 2 | day 3 | day 4 | day 5 | day 6 | info page


If you are looking for a great 80 miles of hiking on the Continental Divide Trail, the new Colorado Trail Collegiate West is a terrific option. 🙂


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