South Colony Basin and the surrounding 14,000-foot peaks offer a broad range of recreational opportunities, including camping, hiking, backpacking, mountaineering, fishing and hunting. This diversity of activities, combined with the natural beauty of the basin and the rough but passable access provided by the road, has made South Colony Basin the most popular destination in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Trailhead register data indicate 3,500 to 4,500 persons (7,000 to 9,000 visitor days) visit the small (1500 acre) upper basin at the head of the South Colony drainage during the summer season.
Since 1996, the Forest Service has worked in partnership with Rocky Mountain Field Institute, Colorado Fourteeners Initiative, Colorado Outward Bound, and other educational and environmental service organizations to reconstruct trails and climbing routes within the basin, stabilize eroding alpine slopes (caused by user-created trails), inventory and restore undesirable campsites and social trails. To date, nearly $1,000,000 (of mostly non-federal funds) and 40,000 volunteer hours have been spent restoring long-term recreational impacts, rebuilding the lower road, constructing trailhead facilities and creating sustainable summit trails in South Colony Basin.
At a Glance
||Some of the Basin is located in the Sangre de Christo Wilderness.
USGS Topo Map
Crestone Peak, CO
Beck Mtn, CO
Take highway 69 south out of Westcliffe for 4.5 miles to County Road 119(Colfax Lane). Turn right on to CR 119 and follow it till it ends then turn right, this is the South Colony Road. There is trailhead parking on the right after about one mile. The road beyond this point requires 4wd and high clearance, but continues for another 2.5 miles to the South Colony Trailhead.