This exploratory as I have not been on any of the trails before. They are well documented.
We'll be camping in one of the meadows along Elk Creek, at Chama Lake and along the Valle Victoria trail. We'll be on three trails: Elk Creek, Valle Victoria and the CDT.
Here is some descriptive material regarding the area.
The Valle Victoria Trail provides access to the high country between Elk Creek and the South Fork of the Conejos River. This area is characterized by numerous lakes and interspersed subalpine meadows and forests.
The Valle Victoria trail traverses the subalpine lake country lying between the Elk Creek and South Fork Conejos River drainages. The interspersed subalpine meadows and forest provide habitat to a wide variety of wildlife species, including coyote, black bear, and large herds of elk.
The trail is well used and hikers should be able to follow it easily. The trail may disappear temporarily in wet meadow areas. Water sources are abundant along the entire route, but water should be treated before consumption.
By traveling a short distance off the beaten track, you may reach the heads of numerous spectacularly scenic canyons that descend to Elk Creek or the South Fork Conejos River from this plateau: Canon Escondido, Victoria Gulch, and the upper reaches of Elk Creek. Adventurous hikers may desire to hike down one of these canyons to join the trails following these streams, although established trails may not exist.
Elk Creek provides excellent opportunities for trout fishing along its entire length. The trail follows Elk Creek from its confluence with the Conejos River to its upper reaches and passes through a variety of terrain including deep canyons and wide meadowed valleys. The trail is well traveled by fishermen, hikers and horse packers and is easy to follow. Suitable camping sites are dispersed along the valley. Water from Elk Creek can be filtered for drinking. Parking is availabe at the Trailhead
The trail joins the Continental Divide Scenic Trail #813. Other trails which can be reached via the El Creek Trail are the Notch Trail #729 and the Rough Creek Trail #727.
The total mileage for this hike will be between 35 and 40 miles over the four days. I will be screening to ensure that everyone is capable. I will consider having a subgroup that is there for four days but stays in one location and day hikes.
We'll meet at the Elk Creek trail head just off of highway 17. It can be reached via Chama, NM or from Antonito, CO. Either route is about the same distance coming from ABQ or Santa Fe.
There is a campground there if there are folks who want to drive up Wednesday night. I am planning to spend most of the summer and early fall on the road in Colorado and points north and west, so I will already be up there and others will need to organize car pools.
If the number of hikers from this group is small I may offer it to the Colorado backpackers as well.
We'll start out on the Elk Creek Trail. The trip will involve a big loop with a tail from the trail head to the loop and a short tail down to Chama Lake.
You can go ahead and get on the waiting list now if you want but I will not start moving people to yes rsvps until I send out an email sometime in May to the waiting list folks to see who is still interested.
Please Note: Anyone attending our trips must have a signed Waiver & Release Form on file with us. This covers all trips and activities so you only have to sign it once. If you have not already signed this form, it can be downloaded from our "Pages" section and turned in to the organizer when you arrive for the trip.