Saturday, June 2, 2012

LaPlata City and Boren Creek Trail in LaPlata Canyon

LaPlata Canyon is between Durango in the east and Mancos on the west in the San Juan National Forest area in southwest Colorado. The north leading turnoff of Highway 160 is near the Hesperus Ski Area.

About 8 miles north along LaPlata Canyon Road is the historic LaPlata City site. There are two interpretive signs here describing the history of this mining community along the banks of the LaPlata River in the 1870s and 1880s. 

I started hiking from the LaPlata City site and walked about 0:15 minutes north along LaPlata Canyon Road to the west leading Forest Road marked 061 on the north side of Boren Creek. The walk along the canyon road passes several private property sites. There isn't any special trailhead parking here. The Boren Creek Trail leads about 2 miles and climbs steeply from 9200 feet to about 11,200 feet.

About 0:20 minutes of walking up the gravelly road there is a small side creek crossing and a small waterfall visible on the left. The forest here is thick Douglas Fir and Engelmann Spruce with Aspens. There are creek views along most of the trail. 

As the trail climbs three of the peaks of the LaPlata Mountains come into view. To the left or south is Burwell Peak at 12,664 feet.

To the right of Burwell Peak is Spiller Peak at 13,123 feet. In early June there is a good flow of water sliding down between Burwell and Spiller feeding the Boren Creek. Following a light snow year and warm spring, there were only a few patches of snow visible in shady parts of the forest and no snow on the trail.

I think the peak furthest north is Babcock Peak at 13,149 feet. There are four switchbacks on the Boren Creek Trail. I made it past the last one but not quite to the end of the trail. Near the top, there was more wind and the temperature was cool enough that I had to add a layer.

There were only a few wildflowers along the trail and I didn’t see any large wildlife. My upward hike took 2:30 hours and the return took 1:30 hours for a total hike of 4:00 hours for about 5.5 miles. It was 75 F degrees at the bottom of LaPlata Canyon and felt at least 10 degrees cooler higher up. I carried and drank 3 liters of water.

532497_120 x 90 Starting Salary $42k. Group 1 528614_Cool Camo Russell Outdoors

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