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Trip Details

Date Friday  7/16/2021
End Date Monday  7/19/2021
Group Denver
Event Title BPX Backpack, Half-moon Pass/Wheeler Geologic Area, La Garita Wilderness, 4-5 day Loop
Start Time 10:30 AM
Status Complete
Leader Mercedes Aponte
Member Price Free
Available Participants 1
Type Trip
Trip Type Backpack
Classification Moderate 
Trail Mileage 25
Elevation Gain 4,200
Driving Distance 426


Meet at the South Fork Sauguache Trail Head at 10:30a.m. 

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Description: A truly unique and varied hike through scenic open country, alpine basins, over a high pass and down to the fantastic Wheeler Geologic Area.  Next, hike over a large scenic mesa above tree line and down into a deep canyon.


Day 1. Hike on the South Fork Saguache Trail (#781). Pass the Whale Creek Trail and continue on the South Fork Saguache Trail to the Unknown Creek Trail (#886). Hike on the Unknown Creek Trail to the Half-moon Pass Trail (#912). Hike on the Half Moon Pass Trail to the Half-moon Creek Trail (#914) and turn right on that trail. Camp along this trail next to Twin Peaks Creek. This loop gives you great views of Twin Peak above. (6 miles/1400’).

Day 2. An early morning out and back day hike is possible to Machin Lake west on the Machin Basin Trail (#784). Otherwise turn left (east) on the Machin Basin Trail towards Half-moon Pass. The Machin Basin Trail intersects with the Half-moon Pass Trail (#912) just below the pass.  Summit the pass and descend on the Wheeler Trail (#790) to the Wheeler Geologic Area. Camping near the cabin shelter is not legal and there may not be water in the creek so decent to TH and camping may be required.. Explore the Wheeler Geologic area. (5.1 miles/ 1000’).

Day 3. Leave the WGA very early to get over Palmer Mesa before afternoon storms. Climb back up the Wheeler Trail towards Half-moon Pass. Just below the pass turn right (east) on the La Garita Stock Driveway (#787) Ascend to and cross Palmer Mesa. After 6 miles, turn south on the Whale Creek Trail (#780) and descend into the Whale Creek Canyon. It is possible to camp near where the trail first arrives at Whale Creek (7 miles to camp /1800’).

Day 4. Hike down Whale Creek Trail to the trailhead. (4.1 miles/0’).

General Requirements: The route may be difficult to follow at times especially on Palmer Mesa where there is no trail, just widely spaced markers. GPS is critical.  It is also critical to leave WGA very early (before sunrise) to get over the mesa before storms. There is an amazing, detailed and thorough website for this trip with maps and GPS data at:  



BPX is a community of backpackers who respect, trust, help each other, and honor our commitments. By registering for this trip, you are committing to going on the trip and will cancel only for a true emergency. And if absolutely necessary, you agree to cancel as early as possible so another member may take your place on the trip.



COVID-19 and Colorado Mountain Club Programming


Sorry it is past the registration deadline for this event.