CO – THE Colorado Trail, Segment 25, San Juan Mountains (09/22)

When I found myself back in Colorado, specifically in the Silverton area doing a little leaf peeping, I couldn’t resist a visit to Molas Pass.

The plan was to complete the full segment from Molas Pass to Bolam Pass or at least to the segment high point.

I arrived at Little Molas Lake Trailhead in the latter afternoon so hiked the mile to Molas Pass.

From Molas Pass looking down at Molas Lake in the distance. This is Segment 26 which I still need to hike as well.

The overnight temperature of 33F INSIDE my car had me reconsidering overnighting 2,000 feet higher. So I nixed that plan and repacked for a day trip. It was Saturday so given how packed the parking area was on Friday I was prepared for it to be busy and wanted an early start. It was still frosty at 8am.

I was excited to find myself quickly above treeline.

It was wonderful to find a spot of color among the brown grasses.

There were patches of aspen turning yellow in the distance.

I can see why this is a favorite section especially when the tundra is filled with blooms and everything is green. I have it on my list for a repeat during the summer.

This would make for a great turnaround spot.

I couldn’t resist continuing onward, hoping for better views of these peaks.

I followed the trail downhill to this point and decided it would make a good turnaround spot as the trail then descended further into the forest. Furthermore about this time I started being passed by groups of cyclists. Since it was a Saturday I felt fortunate I’d completed my hike to this point without seeing or hearing anyone. Once I turned around I probably saw 100 cyclists and 25+ hikers.

The lighting was much improved on my return hike, allowing me to see the details of these darker colored mountains.

I was surprised to see so much snow on Engineer Mountain. I read it’s part of a rock glacier.

These peaks (Grand Turk and Sultan Mountain) remind me of those surrounding nearby Ice Lakes Basin, an area I visited in 2017 (blog link).

This was a 10.5 mile less than 1,000′ elevation gain/loss out and back hike.

Six days later the fall foliage at Molas Pass were progressing nicely.

Seven days later, on October 1st, snow arrived.

Expecting plenty of photo ops, I was soon on the road to see what I could capture. Those will be included in a future post.

Molas Lake Campground is hiker friendly and offers awesome showers.

Colorado Trail Segments Hiked:

As of this post, I’ve hiked about 263 miles toward The Colorado Trail plus 192 bonus miles (repeats/side trails) with over 74,000 feet of elevation gain/loss.


  • The Guthook/Far Out App and Colorado Trail Association Guidebook and Databook are helpful in planning section hikes. The guidebooks details parking and trailhead options along with the elevation profile. Far Out was a great way to plan my turnaround based on mileage and elevation gain/loss. I also used Gaia with the Colorado Trail Nat Geo layer.


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