Hesperus, guardian mountain

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Hesperus, guardian mountain

Hesperus the ‘heartbeat’ of the La Plata Range
The banded and resplendent north face of Hesperus Mountain as seen from Lavender Peak.
Thomas Holt Ward scrambles up a mildly exposed cliff band.
Two hikers leave Hesperus Mountain, observing the cavernous space to the west.
Debra Van Winegarden down-climbs the summit ridge.

Hesperus, guardian mountain

The banded and resplendent north face of Hesperus Mountain as seen from Lavender Peak.
Thomas Holt Ward scrambles up a mildly exposed cliff band.
Two hikers leave Hesperus Mountain, observing the cavernous space to the west.
Debra Van Winegarden down-climbs the summit ridge.
Trail Basics

Travel: From the US 550/160 intersection in Durango, drive west on U.S. 160 for 27 miles to the signal in Mancos. Zero-out your trip meter. Turn right/north on C.O. 184 toward Dolores. In 0.3 mile, at the sign for Mancos State Park, turn right on Montezuma CR 42 which transitions to dirt at 1.5 miles. At 5.5 miles, the road becomes FSR 561, West Mancos Road. Pass the Transfer Campground at 10 miles and turn right at mile 12.3 on FSR 350, Spruce Mill Road. It remains smooth and graded until mile 18.8. Take the right spur signed for the Twin Lakes, Sharkstooth Trailheads. The next 1.5 miles require 4WD and good tires. The track is rocky with potholes. The West Mancos Trailhead is 20.3 miles from the U.S. 160 and CO 184 intersection in Mancos. Allow 1.5 hours from Durango.
Distance and Elevation Gain: 4.8 miles, 2,685 feet
Time: 4 to 6 hours
Difficulty: Trail, off-trail; navigation challenging; Class 3 scrambling with mild exposure
Map: La Plata, Colorado 7.5 Quad

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