July 2, 2011
More great hiking with my sister and the crew. My nephew Morgan wanted to real mountain hike while he was visiting. I think this fulfilled his wish!
Trailhead: This trailhead is about one hour from our house. From Mancos go toward Dolores on Hwy 184. Just outside of Mancos (practically in town really) turn on road 42 which becomes forest service road 561. Follow the signs to Transfer Camp Ground and from there on to Sharkstooth Trail Head. There is a sign that points out the last mile of the road. This last mlie is pretty bumpy and rough. You need a vehicle with some clearance for the road. My Subaru did fine, but don’t try it with anything low to the ground.
Terrain: This is a mountain trail. It is well marked and easy to follow. The majority of the trail is wooded. The last 1/2 mile or so is above timber line.
Accessibility: This trail is only open to hikers.
Length: About 2 miles to the saddle.
Difficulty: We hiked with two 10 year olds, 2 six year old and a puppy and didn’t have much of a problem. Everyone made it to the edge of tree line and half the group made it up to the saddle. There are several a water crossings that at mid summer were no problem at all. It took us about 1 hour and 40 minutes to get to the tree line. Then it is a short 20 minute hike above the trees up a slope of switchbacks to get to the saddle. From here there are other trails and this is where the climb up Centennial Peak begins.
Highlights: This is an absolutely beautiful hike. The creek means there are loads of wildflowers. About 30 minutes in you begin to get stunning views of Hesperus Peak. It is right in your face. About one hour up the trail there is a spur to a side trail with interpretive signs about miming in the area. There are also remnants of old mining buildings. This short trail meets back up with the main trail were you can continue on. The views above the tree line are of the mountain peaks and looking out to the west over New Mexico and Utah. Once you make it to the saddle you can see out to the east toward Durango. For beautiful hiking and getting above the trees quickly, this can’t be beat.