Trip Reports: Weminuche Wilderness Trek, Colorado - September 2007

Over a span of 7 days in late August/early September, I hiked alone through a high route in the Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juans. The mountains here are perhaps the most rugged and remote in all of Colorado. My lengthy backpacking itinerary allowed me to take a somewhat leisurely pace with my heavy load, and to savor the awesome and pristine landscapes which are ever present in this truly wilderness mountain range.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, photo

My ride into the mountains: the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Originally built in 1881 to haul silver and gold ore from Silverton, the train nowadays hauls tourists.

Needles Range Sunrise, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Needles Sunrise

Morning alpenglow reflection of the Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains - August

Mountain goat, Turret Needles, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Mountain Goat

A mountain goat climbs in front of the Turret Needles, San Juan Mountains

Mountain goat, Needle Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Mountain Goat

Mountain goat poses for me on a high pass in the Needle Mountains. I took a bunch of photos of this friendly local before continuing on my way.

Lightning bolt, Needle Mountains, Colorado, photo

Lightning Strikes

A lighting bolt strikes a mountainside during a hail storm in the Needle Mountains.

Alpine raspberries, photo

Alpine Raspberries

Alpine rasberries. Mmmmm.... delicious!

Mount Eolus, reflection, Needle Mountains, Colorado, photo

Needles Dawn Reflection

Dawn reflection of Mount Eolus in a high lake in the Needle Mountains, San Juan Mountains - September

Rocky Reflection, San Juans, Colorado, photo

Rocky Reflection

unnamed lake high in the San Juans

Meadow, Needle Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Needles Meadow

Fall colors starting to show in this high meadow in the Needle Mountains, Weminuche Wilderness - early September.

Grenadier Range, Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, photo

Grenadier Grass

Sunrise light shines on the Grenadier Range, San Juan Mountains - September

lake, reflection, Grenadier Range, Colorado, photo

Grenadier Sky Rocks

A pristine high lake with a shore so smooth that the waterline is almost invisible. The peaks of the Grenadier Range are reflecting in the distance. San Juan Mountains - September.

Vestal Peak, Weminuche Wilderness, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, photo

Rainy Grenadiers

Vestal Peak towers above these beaver ponds on a rainy evening in September. Grenadier Range, San Juan Mountains.

forest, steam, Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado, photo

Steamy Morning

Steam rises off the rain and dew soaked forest on a sunny morning.

Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, photo

Right on schedule, our ride arrives to bring us back to civilization. The guy on the far left walked out of the woods just as the train pulled up, seemingly completely unaware of the situation, and happily boarded the train for a surprise ride to Silverton.