An Excellent Hiking Choice in the Sangre de Cristo Range Trinchera Peak (13,517 feet) might seem like "just another peak" in the Sangre de Cristo Range. However,
this mountain is a good choice for those desiring a hike of a ranked 13er with plenty of scenery and wonderful summit views. There were two
daunting Class III sections on the ridge near the summit, but otherwise it was an easy hike on a
4WD road followed by mostly grassy tundra.
Directions: The mountain is accessible from the Blue Lake area.
From the village of Cuchara, travel south on Highway 12 and make a right on FR 422.
Take this dirt road (with some washboard areas, but perfectly OK for any vehicle) about 6-8 miles to the Blue Lake area.
Then continue for another 0.5 miles and turn left on FR 436.
There is a free parking area ahead and this is probably the best place to begin your hike.
At this point, a sign reads 3.5 miles to Trinchera Peak, although we measured it at four miles. If you have a
4WD vehicle with high clearance,
you can continue above timberline (which comes at ~2-mile mark) and all the way to the ridge if you wish.
A sunset in Trinidad, Colorado. Trinchera Peak is on the right.
July 9, 2016 - The sign indicating you've arrived on the route to Trinchera Peak. Apparently, this is also known as the
North Fork Trail.
Also, you'll cross into a "no fee area" at this point. No worries about parking or camping fees as required at Blue Lake or Bear Lake.
It's about two miles in forest and then the views getting interesting at timberline.
Trinchera Peak showed herself to us hikers. :)
A four-wheel-drive road continues in switchbacks. Even if you don't intend to reach the summit, this
section is so pretty to hike and explore.
The images show me and my buddy Thomas Lunt. The last times a picture of him was posted on this website was when we hiked
Mount Harvard and
Mt. Warren and Rogers Peak four years ago. Good times. :)
The road ends at the ridge and then it's a steep ascent. Here's one shot looking back at the road.
West Spanish Peak is the pointed mountain in the distance. I had the joy of
hiking to its summit last week. :)
I stopped a lot to rest. Thomas captured this photo of me
sucking air and not looking happy! :p)
We were getting closer! The summit (left) was in view. On the right are two spots requiring
Class III moves with exposure. Thomas did just fine -- he said it was "nothing" compared to the Sawtooth at
Mount Bierstadt -- but I was more nervous than usual.
In the end, we did just fine.
While climbing that steep ridge, there were many reasons to rest and take in the scenery.
This is a shot facing north. Blanca Peak, Mount Lindsey and its neighboring mountains are in the distance.
Plenty of wildflowers among the grass.
Trinchera Peak Summit
There were five sizeable cairns at the top. We had a perfect sunny morning and the mountain to ourselves.
The summit views.
TOP: Facing northeast, there was a patch of snow.
Mestas Mountain, Greenhorn Mountain, the town of La Veta and more could be seen.