The BF, Adelle, and I took a 3-day trip to Wetterhorn Basin recently. The short 3-hour drive to the trailhead makes this Cimmarron drainage a nice area to head to for weekend or 3-day trips. The trip began with a hike up the West Fork of the Cimmarron to West Fork Pass (about 4-4.5 miles from where we parked). From there we hiked down into Wetterhorn Basin for a total hike of about 5.8 miles.
On the way down, my REI Ridgeline backpack survived a 50-foot tumble down a steep section of gnarly talus. Not only did it survive, so did everything in it.
The BF and I put our tent just to the right of the edge of this photo. Adelle had an equally impressive view from her tent. In the mornings we could actually see people standing on top of Wetterhorn Peak. Since this particular trail is the “alternate” route to bag Wetterhorn, we didn’t see too many peak baggers; there were a few who summitted from this side, though.
To get here from Grand Junction, Colorado, drive south towards Ridgway and turn left onto the Owl Creek Pass road. Just past Owl Creek Pass, turn right onto the West Fork road. Drive as far as you can. If you have a truck, or even a higher clearance Subaru, you will be able to make it almost all the way down the gravel road. Hike across the creek and into the West Fork Basin. Where the trail becomes indistinct look for cairns and head up towards an obvious pass area. Be prepared for a very loose, exposed section of scree and talus. It’s fairly intimidating and scary for about 3 minutes. Head up and over West Fork Pass; follow the signs on the way down for Wetterhorn Basin. Just after crossing the creek and heading up the opposite bank, where the trail seems to disappear, is your campsite. The trail actually continues to the left, through the meadow towards Wetterhorn Pass. Look for posts and cairns along the way.