Classic Hikes: La Garita Wilderness


GPS: 38°01'N 107°18'W

La Garita Wilderness in southwest Colorado is something of a state secret, known only to peak-baggers climbing 14,019-foot (4,273-meter) San Luis Peak and the few thru-hikers who attempt the Colorado and Continental Divide Trails each year. (They share the same corridor for 29 miles [47 kilometers] through the wilderness.) "It's gorgeous country‚ everything from low-elevation grasslands to high-alpine tundra‚ but there's nobody out there," says Chris Szczech, co-owner of Colorado Mountain Expeditions, which leads supported treks into the wilderness on behalf of the Colorado Trail Foundation. A traverse of the wilderness from Eddiesville to Spring Creek Pass on the Colorado Trail takes hikers on a sustained alpine ridge walk with enormous views north to the Elk Range and south to the San Juans.

Vitals: Colorado Mountain Expeditions; $925;

Originally published in the April 2008 edition of National Geographic Adventure