Exploratory - San Juan Wilderness: South Fork/Conejos Peak/Roaring Gulch Loop

Note: This trip is being posted on the Colorado Backpackers Meetup site as well.  There are seven spots available.  If interested in going, please sign-up on the waiting list.

Departure Time: 7:00am, please be prompt because we will leave at 7:05am.

Who Should Attend: Active backpackers that like distance and elevation gains along with beautiful scenery.

Hike Description: This is an EXPLORATORY backpacking trip.  Exploratory means that I have not been on this trail before, so we might make a wrong turn or two.  If you have a low tolerance for making wrong turns, then you should reconsider attending.  In addition to exploratory, this is a strenuous trip due to approximately 4,300ft. of elevation gain and more than 25+ miles of backpacking.  However, this will be a stunning trip based on what I know about the area and the guidebook description....open meadows, aspens, evergreens, lakes, sweeping views, wildlife, etc.

Day 1: Drive up Friday morning to the South Fork trailhead where we will begin our trip. We will backpack in on the South Fork Trail about 11 miles and camp at Blue Lake for the night.

Day 2: The next day we will continue on Glacier Lake Trail and check out Glacier Lake (2.5 miles).  Trip Option: There is an option on this day to summit Conejos Peak at 13,172ft.  If you are not interested, you can hangout and enjoy the peacefulness of Glacier Lake. We will decide if we want to camp at Glacier Lake or continue to Twin Lakes about two miles away. Approx. Miles: 8-10 miles, if you choose the Conejos Trip; if not it is only about 5 miles.

Day 3: On Sunday, we backpack out on the Roaring Gulch Trail to our vehicles. Approx. Miles: 8 or so.

Late Lunch: On the way home, we will make a stop at the High Country Restaurant in Chama, for a late lunch.

Road Conditions: Improved dirt roads will be our means to get to the trailhead. A high clearance, 4wd is not required, but the road may be rough in places, so an off road type vehicle is better, like a Jeep, truck or SUV.  Note: I take an 16-mile dirt backroad to Chama, which saves a half hour in drive time, plus it is scenic.

I will be able to take three people in my Jeep, maybe 4, if we need to.

Dogs: Not allowed this time because it is an exploratory hike.

Waiver Info: Anyone attending our trips must have a signed Waiver & Release form on file with us. This waiver covers all trips and activities so you only need to sign it once. If you have not already signed this form it can be downloaded from our "Files" section and turned in to the organizer when you arrive for the trip.

Deadline Info: The deadline for changing a "Yes" RSVP to a "No" RSVP is Wednesday, July 31, 2013. If you RSVP "Yes" for this trip, please plan on attending. Please read our RSVP Policy located in our "Pages" section.

Drive Time to Trailhead/Camp Area: Approx. 3.5 hours from ABQ

Location: South Fork Trailhead, South San Juan Wilderness, Colorado

Trip Rating: Strenuous, due to elevation gain 4,300ft.

Total Trail Length: Approximately 25+ miles

Elevation Range: Approx. 8,600ft. to 12,000ft.

Expected Temps: 80s day, 30s night



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  • Eric B.

    Fun exploratory. I definitely want to return to this area for more!

    August 5, 2013

    • Keith F.

      A loop starting at Platoro Res. with one night at Blue Lake and one at Lake Ann would be cool. We intended to that two years ago but there was too much snow to get to Lake Ann.

      August 6, 2013

  • Sharon E.

    What? You don't want to be struck by lightening? I wasn't planning to camp at Glacier...that location is for hikers not planning to climb Conejos...after we finish Conejos...we will continue hiking until we find a nice spot for setting up camp on Saturday night...we will explore....

    August 1, 2013

    • Keith F.

      Look at your event description for Day 2. It says: "We will decide if we want to camp at Glacier Lake or continue to Twin Lakes about two miles away." That was the reason for my comment.

      August 4, 2013

    • Sharon E.


      August 4, 2013

  • Christina

    I'd love to come!

    August 2, 2013

  • Keith F.

    Oops the pic did not paste. Point is there are no trees and it's very exposed to lightning.

    August 1, 2013

  • Keith F.

    Sharon, I have been to Glacier Lake and would not care to camp up there. Twin Lakes would be much nicer. Here is a pic of Glacier.

    August 1, 2013

  • Christina

    Hi Sharon, looking forward to this trip!

    July 28, 2013

  • Chris

    Another trip has come up

    July 15, 2013

  • Christina

    I'd love to come!

    May 25, 2013

  • Keith F.

    Sharon, I will already be up in the area so will meet you at the trail head or maybe somewhere along the road going up along the Conejos. Also, I have maps now for both the South San Juan and Weminuche Wilderness areas, if you need to borrow for planning and they'll be with me up there.

    May 8, 2013

  • Keith F.

    There is a large grove of aspen trees that the roaring gulch trail goes through that is the most beautiful I have ever seen. All of the trees are basically the same size, little if any scarring, virtually no evergreen trees mixed in, just lovely.

    May 8, 2013

  • Jeff B.

    Hi Sharon, If my back holds up on the trip on the 17th. of this month I'm in if there's still spots left by then. I live near Chama.

    May 7, 2013

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