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Chicago Basin Backpack, with OPTIONAL train ride!

  • Aug 1, 2014 · 10:00 AM
  • TBD

Let's go to Chicago Basin!

BASIC Information:

The "standard" method of getting to the Chicago Basin trailhead is taking the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad from Durango to the Needleton stop where you get off and start hiking in (it's approximately 6 miles from the tracks to the basin). Right off the bat, I will tell you there are no dogs allowed on the train, with the exception of service dogs.

Here is the skinny on the costs and train schedules, and parking, for the 1st and the 4th:

The tickets are $90.95 plus a $10 freight fee per backpack. You must call the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad directly at (888)[masked] to make your reservations as far enough in advance as possible.  As of this date (3/11/14) I was told there are plenty of seats available in a covered car and in the open air gondola.  I would not advise waiting too long!  I know money is tight for everyone, but they said that the train could get booked up as far out as 30 days (and very likely before that).  You can take your chances and wait if you must, but you could be out of luck if you wait too long.  If you must cancel, you can do so 48 hrs before the trip.  They will give you a refund minus a $14.00 cancellation fee.

The train schedule for both directions is as follows:

If you start out from Durango Friday morning, the train leaves from that station at 8:45 a.m. and arrives at the Needleton stop at 11:15 a.m.  Then we will arrive in Chicago basin sometime in the late afternoon.  On Monday the 4th, we will hike back out to the tracks for pickup to return to Durango.  The train will be at the Needleton stop at 3:15 p.m.  They will have your name on their manifest.  They will be expecting you to be there to get picked up.  So… if you will be leaving with the group coming back out on Monday, you WILL be guaranteed a seat, but if you elect to stay a day or more longer, they will pick you up at 3:15 the day you want to return, BUT you will NOT be guaranteed a seat and you might have to stand for that slow ride 2.75 hours back to Durango, arriving there at 6 p.m.  It would not be fun if you have to stand on the train after you have been hiking 6 miles with a pack.

Parking in Durango: There is a secure parking lot by the train station.  They charge $7 per day to leave your car there.  The alternative is parking on a street somewhere else where it is metered (all through the town) and your car will be towed unless you have a pal who is going to stay behind to keep dropping in quarters while you are gone for three days! So we can just chip in a few bucks per person to cover each car we will have in our carpools, good deal.

The alternate schedule:

If you want to start from Silverton on Friday, the train will leave from that station at 2:30 p.m. and will drop you off at Needleton at 3:30 p.m.  On Monday morning, you will have to be back down to the tracks by 11:15 a.m. (again, keep in mind that it's a 6 mile hike out from the basin to get back there to meet the train on time) and then you will arrive back in Silverton at 12:15 p.m. that afternoon.

Parking in Silverton: It is on-street parking wherever you get a spot on a busy summer weekend there, but it is free of charge.  You might be walking a few blocks or so from/back to wherever your car will be.

The cost of your train ticket will be the same $90.95 (plus the $10/pack freight fee) whether you are leaving from Durango or Silverton.  So keep in mind that you will only get to ride and enjoy that cool historic train and all the scenery through the canyons for an hour each way if you elect to go from Silverton.

*** We will discuss further the options for shuttles between Silverton and Durango (maybe leaving some cars in Silverton and riding together to Durango and then carpooling back to the cars left in Silverton), and possible motel accommodations/camping the night before the trip. ***

Here's a neat trip report to see some of the flora and fauna and one of the 14ers in the basin, Windom Peak.  I love the pic of the little boy scrambling up the rock, a future peakbagger!

http://www.summitpost.org/three-generations-on-windom/208495


*** DIRECTIONS FROM NEEDLETON TRAIN STOP TO THE BASIN ***

http://www.14ers.com/routemain.php?route=chib1&peak=Mt.+Eolus%2C+Windom+Peak%2C+and+Sunlight+Peak

They'll be waiting...

"Got snacks?"


Some more helpful information.

http://www.sjma.org/CB/Chicago%20Basin%20Trip%20Planning%20Guide.htm

I invite everyone to share their thoughts and feedback, and we will try to come up with one heck of an adventure!  Whether you're coming to enjoy some vigorous hiking and beautiful scenery in this very remote place, or you want a little more spice by adding some of the Fourteeners and Thirteeners to your itinerary, there will be something for everyone.  (And we'll get into the pesky mountain goats and marmots that will want to get into your tent to eat your trekking pole handles and underwear LATER!  I do not KID, har!)

The Red Tape, as always...

***** Acknowledgement of Risk *****

By RSVPing YES and participating in this activity you acknowledge that you have read the statements below and agree to abide by them while participating in this or any Western Slope Adventurers meetup activity. Only those persons who have read this information and agree to its terms shall be viewed as participants in this or any WSA activity.

Hiking, backpacking, road or mountain biking, water sports, skiing, snowshoeing, climbing, rappelling, canyoneering and other adventure sports are fun, but are not without risk. You are responsible for your own safety and staying within your own comfort limits. All Western Slope Adventurers events are unguided events. By participating in a WSA event, you acknowledge that you have a personal duty and responsibility for your own safety.

Western Slope Adventurers MeetUps are organized to provide a venue for outdoor enthusiasts to meet and have fun while sharing in experiences and adventures.

Neither the WSA MeetUp nor any event organizer assess the personal, technical and/or safety skills of participants; nor do they assess any event location to determine current conditions.

By your participation, you acknowledge that you have a personal duty and responsibility to

(a) assess your own skills, honestly and accurately, to determine your suitability as a participant for each event,

(b) seek adequate information to assess the difficulty of each event to determine if it is within your fitness and skill level,

(c) seek adequate information about the current conditions in each area and the weather to assess potential risks to you by participating, and

(d) evaluate other prospective event participants and to use your own judgment to determine their suitability for the event and how their participation may affect you.

All participants are encouraged and expected to:

• honestly assess your skills to ensure each activity is within your ability

• assess your prospective fellow event participants

• accept responsibility for your own safety and comfort

• do your share of any teamwork involved

• share your ideas for situation assessment before and during an event

• speak up if you're having a problem

• speak up if you question what's going on or something that is being done, no matter who's doing it

• have all of the clothing, equipment and any other special items needed for the activity

• inform the event organizer or other designated participant if you are using medication (prescribed or otherwise) or have any medical condition that may affect your full participation in the event

• on any biking, canyoneering; or, river event that is class II difficulty or higher, wear a helmet, no exceptions

• have fun!

Suzy Noonan (401)[masked]

Join or login to comment.

  • Suzy N.

    Thank you, Andy, for sharing your awesome pictures! It was the experience of a lifetime, and I can't wait to go back next summer!

    1 · August 28, 2014

  • Paul S

    Great photos, what a great trip that must have been!

    August 10, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      It was just phenomenal, Paul. I can't get enough of the beautiful mountain basins.

      August 10, 2014

  • Suzy N.

    My laptop has, purportedly, over 400 bugaboos on it, ugh! So the guys at the computer place said they didn't have it for me today. Bummer! I will try again for the pictures tomorrow. YO, Andy!?!?!

    August 6, 2014

  • daniel lee w.

    I sure am miss'in not being a part of this one. Be careful, pray the weather is good for ya.

    August 2, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      You did miss a wonderful trip, but we'll just have to post this AGAIN next year!

      August 5, 2014

  • Suzy N.

    I uploaded pictures from my camera to my laptop and apparently I have some malware or virus and can't do anything on it at the moment. I have some AWESOME pictures, too! Dang. Dropped the laptop off at a computer place to get all bad stuff removed and will hopefully get it back tomorrow and be able to post pics tomorrow night. This was an INCREDIBLE trip and I really enjoyed sharing the experiences with David, Andy, and Andy's posse of Gunny friends. The train rides were fun, and the basins (Chicago and the Twin Lakes basin you hike up to before you approach the big peaks - big hikes!) were truly mind-boggling in their mystical beauty. And you wouldn't believe the mountain goats and their babies! I snapped lots of pics. I didn't bag a peak this time, but hope to one day. I know I'm gushing with so many superlatives here, but it really was this great. Can't wait to share my pictures! Stay tuned...

    August 5, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      I'm on my iPad for now.

      August 5, 2014

  • Andrew K.

    Success! I met up with my friends, and we were able to meet up with Suzy and David. David joined us for Mt Eolus and Suzy found us at Twin Lakes in the afternoon. It was a great trip!

    August 3, 2014

  • Suzy N.

    Sal, if you are still going, please remember to print out a copy of the directions from the train stop to the basin. I trust you are fully equipped and very knowledgeable about all of your gear. You are responsible for your own food, stove, water filtering/purifying, etc..... Because you have not communicated with me, with the exception of just saying, "See you there" I will assume you will find us and have all you need. See you there!

    July 29, 2014

  • Suzy N.

    Sorry you will not make it this time, Brenna. Another time!

    July 29, 2014

  • Brenna O

    I am planning on coming. Sal would it still work to carpool?

    July 26, 2014

  • Barrie B.

    Stuck in CA. The white whale broke down. Count us out.

    July 23, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      Bummer! Hope you get it back on the road home soon!

      July 25, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Ticket purchased.

    July 22, 2014

    • Brenna O

      david are you taking the train from durango or silverton

      July 22, 2014

    • A former member
      A former member

      Durango. I was concerned that I might not make it to setup camp in the daylight if I did the Silverton. I just used Ms. Noonan's reservation number.

      July 23, 2014

  • Brenna O

    is anyone taking the train from silverton or is everyone taking train from durango

    July 22, 2014

  • Suzy N.

    While I won't be up to those Fourteeners this time out, I do plan on hiking Jupiter Mountain, a Thirteener at 13,830'. Probably on Saturday, but we'll see what the weather does. Check it out here: http://www.summitpost.org/jupiter-mountain/154168

    July 22, 2014

  • Ernesto

    I have to change my RSVP to No because of an upcoming family matter. Sorry!

    July 22, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      We will miss you, Ernesto.

      July 22, 2014

  • Andrew K.

    Hi everyone!
    I'm just going to put some train info on the table for anyone interested. They only charge $67+tax if you start from Silverton, with one free backpack.

    "Backpacker Special Ride out of Silverton and save up to $18 on your train ticket, $10 on your backpack freight fee and park for FREE!

    This offer is available only by phone! Call[masked] or[masked]-5416.
    Book now to ride out of Silverton in a Standard-class car at $67* per adult and $47* per child ticket. *Subject to 7% Historic Preservation Fee.
    Book Now and we will also waive the $10 freight fee for your backpack (limit one backpack per ticketed passenger) for passengers departing from Silverton."

    http://www.durangotrain.com/hot-deals#.U8MnNLEym7M

    July 13, 2014

  • Suzy N.

    I purchased my round-trip ticket for the train today. As stated above... I will be departing from Durango at 8:45 a.m. Friday (but you MUST be at the station no later than 8:15) and arriving at the Needleton stop at 11:15 a.m. where the hike in from there begins. On Monday, the train swings through to pick up backpackers at 3:15 p.m. (MUST be by the tracks waiting to signal the train at that time) and arrives back in Durango at 6:00 p.m. The total cost for my standard car seat was $100.95. That includes the $10 backpack fee. I am really looking forward to this! If anyone plans to take the train with me from Durango, you can call the railroad's reservation line and give them my reservation number [masked]) and they will just add you to the same reservation to indicate we're traveling together. There is no change in cost. I'm really jazzed about riding the train and adding that to the whole experience.

    July 9, 2014

  • Scott G.

    Sorry group, I need to back out of this trip DAMN!! Bring on the fall season, summers are just to damn busy. Cheers

    July 3, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      Big bummer, Scott! Hope to see you somewhere before the aspens start to turn.

      July 9, 2014

  • Suzy N.

    Has anybody bought their train tickets yet?

    June 7, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      I am waiting for confirmation on my developing new work schedule, which may prevent my going. When I know for sure (soon), I will purchase a Durango <--> Needleton round-trip ticket. If going, I will be participating in the train and backpacking portions of this weekend. Will not do the Fourteeners, as they are beyond my current fitness and skill level. Lots of big stuff happening with me right now, transitions, and I'm not in the place I'd hoped to be at this moment. Just being among the beautiful mountain scenery will feed my spirit. That's enough for me.

      July 2, 2014

  • Ernesto

    There's a backpacker's special if leaving from Silverton--just $67 and your backpack is free. Parking is free too! We should consider leaving from Silverton to save $$$.

    July 1, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      On average, there are 100-150+ people setting up camp in the basin in the prime season. I think it would be better to allow ourselves more time to get there and find good spots. 2 cents.

      July 1, 2014

    • Ernesto

      If one leaves from Silverton, the train drops you off at Needleton at 3:30 pm. That only leaves you with five hours of daylight to backpack the six miles to camp. It's a matter of personal choice.

      July 2, 2014

  • Ernesto

    July 1, 2014

  • Barbara L.

    Have had to cancel to heal an injury and rebuild stamina for high country... will be imagining the high country...

    June 7, 2014

  • Suzy N.

    Check out what they're charging for this 5-day trip (San Juan Mountain Guides) advertised on the outdoor gear site The Clymb: https://www.theclymb.com/adventures/9171/colorado-weminuche-backpacking/show-product/114606?f=mi&utm_medium=Email&utm_source=ET&utm_campaign=041514+Tax+Day
    And that's the discounted rate! Aren't we just so lucky to live here and get to do this stuff? We sure are! Do they have alpaca named Jeeves carry in the bone china and filet mignon, I wonder.

    April 15, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      It IS an interesting itinerary.

      April 15, 2014

  • Elizabeth B.

    Dave and I decided to save over $200 here cause we have already done this and Thursday we want to be in Wyoming. So I'll open two spots for those who

    March 6, 2014

  • A former member
    A former member

    Can't afford the train but will watch how this firms up.

    March 5, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      Was that from the Vallecito or the Purgatory trailhead approach? I will save up for the train, if Chicago Basin is the trip we decide on. Of course, there can be a few different trips organized, folks.

      March 5, 2014

    • Andrew K.

      Purgatory I think

      March 6, 2014

  • joe s.

    We would be interested in starting from Bear town and meeting you guys in Chicago Basin.......

    March 6, 2014

  • Mike W.

    Suzy - how many days are you planning for this trip? Also would you and Ernesto consider doing this over Labor Day weekend (01 September) or in the Mid to Late August time frame?

    March 5, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      I already have tentative plans for July 24th-27th.

      March 5, 2014

    • Ernesto

      I can't, Mike. The fall semester starts around mid-August and this is a multi-day trip (particularly for me having to drive from Fort Collins).

      March 5, 2014

  • Suzy N.

    There can certainly be different trips for different groups of people. This posting is to gauge interest, get feedback on people's availability, and to keep in mind that groups are limited to 15 people for each. I will not be available in later August and September.

    March 5, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      And I understand that snowpack this year is a big factor when considering feasible dates. I am leaning toward the first weekend in August if snow will be a major impediment.

      March 5, 2014

  • Barrie B.

    Looking at the regulations & possible crowding, I'd rather do the Missouri Basin. Also, I'm looking into going from Telluride to Mt. Sneffels in July or Aug. It will be an overnighter.

    March 5, 2014

    • Suzy N.

      My July is booking up FAST! Too many cool things to try to squeeze into a small window, as usual!

      March 5, 2014

  • Ernesto

    Hi Suzy, I can help organize side trips to the 14ers in the Chicago Basin, but I can only do it in mid-July (after the 13th).

    1 · March 5, 2014

  • Karen L.

    I'm not sure eddy Phillip's schedule is in July but would be interested if we are both off! Thanks, Suzi!

    March 5, 2014

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