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Our 3-day trip began and ended with a short hike down a gravel road.

Our 3-day trip began and ended with a short hike down a gravel road.

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.

The West Fork trail leading up to West Fork Pass is relatively flat until the last 1.5-2 miles.

The West Fork trail leading up to West Fork Pass is relatively flat until the last 1.5-2 miles.

Waterfalls were abundant on this side of the drainage.

Waterfalls were abundant on this side of the drainage.

In the area of talus below this hiker, a steep, loose scree section must be climbed.

In the area of talus below this hiker, a steep, loose scree section must be climbed.

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 views looking back towards the West Fork trail from West Fork Pass were stunning.

The views looking back towards the West Fork trail from West Fork Pass were stunning.

After reaching the pass, we headed down into Wetterhorn Basin, losing about 600 ft of elevation.

After reaching the pass, we headed down into Wetterhorn Basin, losing about 600 ft of elevation.

The wildflowers in this basin were truly magnificent.

The wildflowers in this basin were truly magnificent.

Our campsite, just after a main creek crossing, offered the best views of Wetterhorn Peak imaginable.

Our campsite, just after a main creek crossing, offered the best views of Wetterhorn Peak imaginable.

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.

A dayhike on Saturday took us to Wetterhorn Pass at 12,990 ft.

A dayhike on Saturday took us to Wetterhorn Pass at 12,990 ft.

The views from Wetterhorn Pass, looking south

The views from Wetterhorn Pass, looking south

Sometimes there just aren't enough pictures of wildflowers

Sometimes there just aren’t enough pictures of wildflowers

 

Sunset on our final evening

Sunset on our final evening

Our second backpacking trip together and my 12th total

Our second backpacking trip together and my 12th total

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.

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SHARES
  
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