Cumberland Mountain climb captivates

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Cumberland Mountain climb captivates

Muldoon Mine ruins spectacular
Hikers walk on the Sliderock Trail toward the east ridge of Cumberland, the climbing route seen image-left.
Hikers investigate the still-standing Muldoon Mine boarding house.
Standing on Peak 12,101, KT and Arthur Howard look across voluminous, yawning space to the San Juan Mountains.
By the time Colorado Trail thru-hikers traveling from Denver to Durango cross the access road, they have walked 465 miles with 21 remaining. Ascend the Colorado Trail on gentle switchbacks. Just before reaching Kennebec Pass, walk south to the Muldoon Mine. Climb the east ridge of Cumberland Mountain. Descend the northwest ridge toward the Kennebec Pass Trailhead. Turn east and at Kennebec Pass, go north to Peak 12,101. Return to the pass and finish on the incoming trail.

Cumberland Mountain climb captivates

Hikers walk on the Sliderock Trail toward the east ridge of Cumberland, the climbing route seen image-left.
Hikers investigate the still-standing Muldoon Mine boarding house.
Standing on Peak 12,101, KT and Arthur Howard look across voluminous, yawning space to the San Juan Mountains.
By the time Colorado Trail thru-hikers traveling from Denver to Durango cross the access road, they have walked 465 miles with 21 remaining. Ascend the Colorado Trail on gentle switchbacks. Just before reaching Kennebec Pass, walk south to the Muldoon Mine. Climb the east ridge of Cumberland Mountain. Descend the northwest ridge toward the Kennebec Pass Trailhead. Turn east and at Kennebec Pass, go north to Peak 12,101. Return to the pass and finish on the incoming trail.
Trail basics

Travel: Vehicles with good clearance and sturdy tires should reach the trailhead. At Main Avenue and 25th Street in Durango, zero-out your trip meter and drive west. 25th Street transitions to Junction Creek Road and then to La Plata County Road 204. Pass the Colorado Trail/Junction Creek Trailhead at 3½ miles where pavement turns to dirt and the road becomes Forest Service Road 171. Wind up the gravel road, passing the Animas Overlook at 10.6 miles and continue along the western flank of Barnes Mountain. The road narrows and grows increasingly rocky. At 14 miles, the road is a shelf with aspen protecting the huge drop. The view of Silver and Lewis Mountains is superlative. Stay on the main road as tracks branch. At 15.4 miles, go through a little pass to the north side of the ridge. A wild view of a string of San Juan Mountain peaks opens at 19.2 miles. At 21.4 miles the road splits. Go left on Forest Service Road 171N. Watch for a small sign for the Colorado Trail at the right side of the road at 22.2 miles. There is plenty of good parking. No facilities. Allow 1 hour, 15 minutes from Durango.


Distance and Elevation Gain: 6.4 miles; 2,550 feet of climbing for both peaks; 5 miles with 2,200 feet of gain for Cumberland alone.


Time: 4 to 5½ hours.


Difficulty: Colorado Trail, social trail, off-trail; easy navigation; no exposure.


Maps: La Plata, Monument Hill, Colorado 7.5 Quads

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