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The hike to Mt. Sopris summit is beautiful and best attempted at a relaxing pace of two days. A great location for overnight primitive camping is Thomas Lakes at the base of the summit trail.

If you plan to climb Sopris, allow 2 days. The first day, hike to the lakes, set up camp in a designated site and explore, fish, or just enjoy the scenery. On the second day, get up early and begin climbing in order to finish the hike before the afternoon thunder storms. The easiest route is up the east ridge. From the upper lake, walk to the base of the steep slope to the southeast part of the lake. Ascend this slope on the new hiking trail to the ridge and continue up across the high, sparsely timbered slope to the southern ridge. Follow this ridge up the mountain. You will come upon one stretch of fairly steep, loose rock, but should have no problem if you use care. Soon you will be on the main ridge to the summit. Enjoy the view. You may want to cross the 1/2 mile saddle to West Sopris Peak, which is the same elevation as the East Peak. Both peaks offer a superb view of the Crystal River Valley and Avalanche Creek. Keep in mind if you plan to do the entire trip in two days you will hike back to your car the same day you climb the mountain. This trail is in the wilderness, so keep dogs on leashes at all times. Impassable by horseback.

Directions: From Carbondale, From Carbondale travel south on Hwy. 133 for 1.4 miles to the Prince Creek Road and take the left turn. Follow the road for 6 miles to a fork. Take the right fork and drive 2 miles to the trailhead of Thomas Lakes. The first three miles of this trail are easy.

Elevation: 8,700 feet

Ending Elevation: 12,953 feet

Elevation Gain: 4,253 feet

Distance: 7.0 miles

Usage: Heavy

Difficulty: Strenuous

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White River National Forest, Colorado

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.