Colorado off-trail ideas?

futurafree

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I just returned from some off-trail adventures in the Beartooths and wondered if anyone had ideas for similar non-technical off-trail trips I could do solo after a short float on the San Juan River in SE Utah at the end of August. I assume the San Juan Mountains are the best area nearby?

I'll also probably do the Capitol Creek Circuit in central CO, so any ideas within a reasonable drive before I head back to Texas would be much appreciated. I just don't want to drive all the way back up to WY and MT, and I consider the Gila and most desert trips too hot at this time.
 

futurafree

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I'm not familiar. Is this the Park Range around Mt. Zirkel just south of the WY border?
 

Wanderlust073

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I'm not familiar. Is this the Park Range around Mt. Zirkel just south of the WY border?
Zirkel Wilderness I assume. A lot of it is closed due to the fire so read up first.

San Juans probably your best bet for anything with a wild remote feeling.
 

futurafree

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Ah, thanks guys. I see the Zirkel Wilderness and it looks promising. My other main area of consideration so far is South San Juan Wilderness near Conejos Peak.
 

scoags

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Ah, thanks guys. I see the Zirkel Wilderness and it looks promising. My other main area of consideration so far is South San Juan Wilderness near Conejos Peak.
The high country around there (Conejos) is nice and off trail stuff is doable. But below treeline the down timber is heavy to very heavy in the major drainages. Great Wilderness area though. Up on the divide lots of open walking of course.
 

futurafree

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The high country around there (Conejos) is nice and off trail stuff is doable. But below treeline the down timber is heavy to very heavy in the major drainages. Great Wilderness area though. Up on the divide lots of open walking of course.
Thanks, scoags. Do you know of any specific trails listed on the USGS topo's that are no longer maintained? Or completely vanished? Long gone trails above treeline could be a good start or jumping off point.
 

scoags

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Sure thing. the North Fork Cutoff trail coming down from the CDT no longer exists so far as I could tell. The North Fork trail itself had quite a bit of blowdown, and in the upper meadows it is not always well defined. The South Fork also had lots and lots of blowdown, but its more popular and might be better maintained. The CDT is in pretty good shape of course, and most of the other trails up high were in good shape as well. I didn't see the Valle Victoria/Ruybald area, but it could be rough up there in weather. Another place I didn't have time to get to was Lake Anne, I think you could get up there from the Middle Fork. We found going up Adams fork to be very enjoyable as well, and you gradually get up high with good options to go north or south.

obligatory, this place usually gets a ton of weather in August.

for some more info check out the TR from this area I posted a while back.

 

futurafree

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Apr 1, 2021
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Sure thing. the North Fork Cutoff trail coming down from the CDT no longer exists so far as I could tell. The North Fork trail itself had quite a bit of blowdown, and in the upper meadows it is not always well defined. The South Fork also had lots and lots of blowdown, but its more popular and might be better maintained. The CDT is in pretty good shape of course, and most of the other trails up high were in good shape as well. I didn't see the Valle Victoria/Ruybald area, but it could be rough up there in weather. Another place I didn't have time to get to was Lake Anne, I think you could get up there from the Middle Fork. We found going up Adams fork to be very enjoyable as well, and you gradually get up high with good options to go north or south.

obligatory, this place usually gets a ton of weather in August.

for some more info check out the TR from this area I posted a while back.

Great info, thanks. The forest service hasn't even received the list of maintained trails from their crews and had very little info overall. And yes, your trip report may have been what initially drew me to that area. Too bad the pic links are broken.
I didn't realize August was worse than July for southern Colorado, but I just looked up the climate data. After getting caught above treeline last July in the Weiminuche, I told myself I'd never hike in CO in July again. Oh well, I'll probably go to the South San Juans in August anyway because I can't stop myself.
 
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