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The trail switches back and forth steeply many times to climb to the flat top ridges of High Mesa and Big Park. The travel time by horse is about 2 days.

The Alpine Trail is the primary access to High Mesa and Big Park. Both areas have excellent elk habitat, with long open flat meadows surrounded by dense Engelmann spruce and sub alpine fir forests.

Summer use is light with heavier use during fall big game seasons. Travel time is an easy two day ride. There is a good water supply in Little Cimarrona and Big Park and good horse feed throughout. There is also good camping in High Mesa, Little Cimarrona and Big Park areas.

During the early to mid 1900's, pack horses were the mode of travel for the Forest Service in the Cimarrona area. Originally the Alpine Trail connected the Jackson Guard Station to the Alpine Guard Station. This was one of the primary travel routes through this part of the District. Remnants of the old phone line connecting the stations may be seen attached to trees along the trail.

Today the Alpine Trail is used mostly for hunting access and recreation. The trail continues to also be important for Forest Service administration of range allotments and general administration purposes.

Motorized vehicles are permitted on the Alpine Trail. Care must be used on the steeper switch backs, however.

Elevation: 9,207 feet

Ending Elevation: 9,600 feet

Elevation Gain: 393 feet

Distance: 17 miles

Usage: Light

Difficulty: Moderate

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Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests, 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.