We were a bit skeptical about a hike to Red Mountain #3 the day following our long hike up the Bear Creek Trail, but not wanting to miss out on a day with no thunderstorms predicted we jumped at the chance for a short two mile hike up the mountain. Mark and Bobbie don’t normally consider such a short hike worthy of the drive to get there, but they said this one was worth it for the scenery. And were they ever right.
Hard to find a trail in these parts where there isn’t an old mine.
There are three Red Mountains in the San Juans near Red Mountain Pass: #1, 2 and 3. Not very inventive names, but mineral deposits have created slopes so colorful that names aren’t really needed. Fortunately you can drive a short distance on a dirt road off Hwy 550 to a closed gate and are permitted to hike up the road to the top of the highest Red Mountain, #3, starting at an elevation of 11,400’ and hiking to the summit at 12,890’.
The road/trail was steep and rocky and the wind was strong and cold. I powered up as fast as I could just to stay warm, but could barely feel my fingers around the hiking poles. Everyone else hiked at their own pace, and found a little shelter at the summit to eat a snack before heading back down.
Jim, who was even colder than I was, looked like Nanook of the North with his hood up when he finally made it to the top.
We had a big group, Jim and I, Mark and Bobbie, Debbie, Kim, M&Bs neighbors David and Donna and their two very nice teenagers Ally and Austin.
Our resting place.
Looking out over this.
From the other side we could see the Million Dollar Highway far below.
Mark defied gravity to get a closer shot of these rock formations.
While Jim just used the telephoto lens.
The “Blood Clot Brothers” Mark and Jim heading down. It warmed up quite a bit as we got lower and out of the wind.
We spent a lot of time photographing the impressive wildflowers on the way back.
It was another gorgeous day in the San Juan Mountains.