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Southern Colorado Backpacking Road Trip

Southern Colorado Backpacking Road Trip

Southern Colorado Backpacking Road Trip

To finish of Erik’s trip to Colorado, we finished with a road trip to Southern Colorado to go backpacking, climb a 14er and check out Great Sand Dunes National Park.

We started out by visiting Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs.

Garden of the Gods
Kissing Camels at Garden of the Gods


As we continued heading south, we got some amazing views of the Sangre de Christos mountains.

Sangre de Christo Mountains
Sangre de Christo Flowers

We started at the South Colony Lakes trailhead and headed up to the lower South Colony Lake to set up camp.

Erik hiking up to camp


There were nice flowers along the way

Hiking up to South Colony Lakes
Our first glimpse of the Crestone Needle

The next morning, we started our climb up Humboldt Peak.

Erik above the tree line
Looking down on upper South Colony Lake and the Crestone Needle


Looking Up at the Crestone Needle
Crestone Needle and Crestone Peak
Panorama of Crestone Peak (right) and the Crestone Needle (left)

Because of the low snow this past winter, there wasn’t much snow on the summit ridge, and what was there was easily avoidable. Despite high winds, we made good time, ascending over 1,000 feet per hour. Not bad for Erik’s first 14er! We made it to the summit a little before noon.

I <3 Jen

On the Summit of Humboldt Peak (14,064 ft) with Erik!

We didn’t spend to much time on the summit because the pressure was dropping and the wind was picking up. We quickly headed back down to our camp, packed up, and headed down. We made it 6+ miles from the summit to the car in less than 3.5 hours, which included breaking down and packing out camp. Not bad!

We then headed to Great Sand Dunes National Park- only about 10 miles away from the South Colony Lakes, but a 4 hour drive around the Sangres to get there.

There were some good view along the way
Great Sand Dunes National Park. Crestone Peak and the Creston Needle can be seen high above.

The next day, we did a bit of hiking on the dunes and then headed back to Boulder.

Erik was impressed at the size of the Western US and was excited to learn that the San Luis Valley is the same size as Connecticut, where he has been studying abroad from Sweden.

The San Luis Valley

All in all, it was another great Colorado road trip and adventure!


  1. Sweet trip! I really wish those peaks got more snow. They’d make some awesome skiing.

  2. Definitely! I hear some El Nino years have good snow in the Sangres.

  3. Looks like an awesome trip, and a beautiful area to go backpacking. I hope to make the trip there one day and see it for myself!

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