I had never heard of the Uncompahgre National Forest, so I decided to trust him. I chose not to look at pictures of the destinations to keep my excitement up and my expectations down. Topographic maps and trail guides were the only things I looked at for the area we were visiting in Uncompahgre.
If you would like to read out our entire week-long trip check out our separate post here!
We hit the trail hoping to make it as far as we could before the sun set and before we were exhausted. Earlier that morning, we had climbed the difficult Mount Sneffels, (Read about it here!!) so we were already a bit tired. From where we parked our car, it was about 3 miles to the top of our first mountain pass, and our goal was to reach it.
You can see more from our weekend in the Uncompahgre National Forest watch our YouTube video below!
We were somewhat dreading the late start, but we quickly found encouragement. Every person we passed on the way up, “oohed”, “ahed”, and raved about what we were heading toward and that kept us pushing further and further up the pass. One couple called it the most beautiful trail they had ever been on and exclaimed that the Wetterhorn Basin surpassed their experience in the Canadian Rockies.
The trail starts surrounded by a forest of thick pines and follows the West Fork Cimarron River to its small, creek headwaters. Once we were out of the forest and above the treeline, we entered into one of the most scenic valleys I have ever seen.
It was around 9 p.m. when the darkness hit our tent, and we decided it was time to go to bed. We put all our food in our LokSak Bear Bags and hung them down wind before crawling into our sleeping bags.
We managed to sleep in much later than we had anticipated. The day before’s strenuous hikes really wore us out, and we stayed in our tent until almost 9:30 a.m. We enjoyed our morning, took our time getting up, and decided to explore around camp to let our dog, Maria, rest her paws longer.
We filtered some creek water with our LifeStraw Water Filtration System from nearby and boiled it single propane burner to cook another Mountain House Meal. We also filled up our water bottles for the day while we planned out our hiking path.
While eating our Southwestern Breakfast Scramble, we looked over the map and decided climbing the nearby mountains might be a little more difficult than we initially thought. With our packs and a pretty sore pup, climbing over rock scrambles and gaining thousands of feet of elevation didn’t sound like what we wanted.
We knew we were hiking in the hottest part of the day, but there would be plenty of water for our dog, and we thought that we would eventually hike down into the tree line on the other side of the pass. What we really didn't know, though, was just how absolutely spectacular Wetterhorn Basin and the trail leading to it would be.
We were blown away by the scenery and the persistent wind on this side of the mountain pass. We spent all afternoon wandering down into Wetterhorn Basin looking at all the flowers, trekking through the water, and trying to take in all the wonders we had found.
Eventually, after hours in the sun, we decided to make our way back up toward the pass and our campsite. It took us roughly an hour or so to get from our overlook of Wetterhorn Creek, over the pass, and down to our spot.
We caught another stunning sunset from our campsite and made a nice picnic of cheese and crackers while we watched it. We put away our food bags again before crawling into the tent happy as a clam and tired as a dog (maybe not as tired as our dog).
The next morning, we were awake fairly as the sun hit our tent. The night before’s early bedtime had let us both rest well, so we decided to use our energy to hike out and head home. Before we knew it, we were packing up all of our gear and breaking down the tent. We were sad to be leaving such a serene place but happy to be home after three weeks away.
It was a bittersweet feeling to be leaving the wilderness, but we had seen and done so much in the previous few days that we were perfectly content heading home. We both agreed this had been our favorite place in Colorado thus far. The wildflowers framed with the magnificent mountain backdrops made the picture perfect place even more beautiful.
Talkin' 'bout Tacos:
I'm Taylor, aka Tacos! I am sharing my journeys and experiences from across the world hoping to inspire travel and adventure in all who read!