Vasquez Peak


Trail Stats & Info

RT length 3.5 miles
Elevation gain 2,147 feet
Difficulty moderate-difficult    
Lowest elevation 10,800 feet
Highest elevation 12,947 feet
Trail type out and back
Trails Illustrated Map™ # 103
Restrooms @ TH? no
Vasquez Peak


Vasquez Peak

From I-70, take exit 232 or US 40. Follow US 40 through Empire to the Big Bend Picnic area. Turn left towards Big Bend Picnic area. Follow this road until you see the sign for Jones Pass/Henderson Mine where you will be turning right at CO Rd. 202 or Henderson Mine Rd./Jones Pass Rd. Follow this road and bear right at the Henderson Mine turnoff. Follow this dirt road all the way up through a forest of trees for about 1.5 miles until it opens up to a parking lot. Park here and the trail (old road) starts east of the parking lot. There are no signs marking this trail. To access the trail, go around the wooden gates/fences at the far right.



Vasquez Peak

This trail was a bit of an anomaly as we started the hike. If you’re interested in hiking up a peak with no trail, then this hike is for you. First, there are no marked trail signs or any sign for that matter. We parked down the road and hiked up to the parking lot and came up to some cars, campers, and tents. Initially, we hiked in the wrong direction going to the left, following the dirt road, but quickly realized that we were going the wrong way. So, we headed back down to the parking lot and saw a very faint old road that came off the parking lot from the east. We had to walk all the way to the end of the fence on the right to access this old road. This faint old road last for about a quarter to a third of a mile, then abruptly ends. From here, basically you head straight up the hill. There is absolutely no trail from here and you pretty much make your own route. We headed straight up until we reached a boulder field. After some Class 2 scrambling up the boulders, we headed up north or to the left. We traversed across the boulder field and saw a trail ahead of us to the right/east of us. I believe this is part of the Continental Divide trail as it was clearly maintained and we were able to follow if for some time. There was still some snow during this time of year so we were intermittently hiking on snow every couple hundred of feet.

Vasquez Peak Summit

From here you can see Vasquez Peak and the saddle just south of the peak. We had gone up the west slope, which was very steep and descended down towards the saddle and down the gulch. After completing the hike, we now see that it would have been easier to ascend up the gulch and just below the saddle to the peak. Nevertheless, we made it to the summit and the views were amazing. Storms were rolling in quick, so we took a few photos and headed back down as quickly as we could. Snow was lightly falling as we headed up, but as we were coming down the snow fall was getting heavier. By the time we reached the boulder field, it was a blizzard! There was very low visibility and the ground was covered in 1-2 inches of snow. This made it much more difficult to navigate back down to the parking lot. Fortunately, we had our GPS which we were able to back track our steps. It just goes to show how important it is to be prepared and carry cold weather clothing/gear at all times when hiking at high elevations in the Rocky Mountains, even if it’s in the summer. (video below has no audio)

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About Jake & Mar

Jake and Maria have spent a good chunk of their time hiking and exploring all that the Colorado wilderness has to offer. Their ambition is to seek out all the hidden treasures of the Rocky Mountains from pristine alpine lakes, to tall dense Aspen forests, to high mountain summits. They both bring their own unique talents and abilities to, whether it's the organizational skills and consistent ambition to take on new terrain, or the desire to creatively record and document the experience. They are truly passionate about their site and the outdoors. "We thank you for visiting and wish you safe and fun adventures!"