Durango, Colorado hike to Castle Rock in photos

FAVORITE TOWN. I can say truthfully that everyone I know who has visited Durango in summer, or Fall, say they love the town and the area.

In the Fall, the famous old steam train puffs up to Silverton, and in October riders are dazzled by the Fall colors of the golden aspens.

You can also see glorious views if you drive up to Silverton. Molas Pass is 11,000 feet and recently we sat on the edge of Molas Lake and drank in the view and the tranquility.

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Molas lake nestled below the snow-flecked mountains of the Weminuche Wilderness.




Little Molas Lake, not far away, is a fairyland.


But our purpose was to climb Castle Rock, an intimidating climb when viewed from the trailhead.

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Castle Rock, about a half-hour north of Durango, on highway 550 (not far from the old Purgatory Ski Lift). Castle Rock is 10,500 ft, so it was like climbing the La Luz trail to the top of Sandia Peak in Albuquerque.

“Are you sure we can get up there,” asked Kim, my step-daughter. Her daughter Kelby was along too — she had never visited this region before.
“I’m sure you two can,” I said, “but I dunno about me.”
Kelby is 27 and as fit and agile as a mountain goat – no problem there.

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The well-defined trail cuts through an aspen forest initially. To me, it’s a liberating feeling to don a backpack carrying lunch and water bottles, and to realize its useless to worry about the trials of life, at least for one whole day.



A favorite picture of mine – the Needle Mountains from halfway up the trail. These are 14,000 footers.


I needed to rest before the last portion of the climb, which was the steepest. Here we met a young gal, hiking by herself, no more than 25 and visibly pregnant. She said she was two weeks from giving birth, and had climbed all the way to the top of Castle Rock!



We were so happy we made it to the top! 10,500 feet!


Relaxed and breathing easy, the hike was no worries for the flatlander from Dallas. Lake Electra down below.

Top of Castle Rock Durango Colorado


At the top of Castle Rock the views were spectacular. Love the Christmas tree.


After descending, we stopped at Cascade Creek to cool our feet and listen to the music of a bubbling, churning waterfall.

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We detoured next morning to visit the Cliff Palace ruins at Mesa Verde National Park. Stunning architecture built about 800 years ago by the Ancient Ones, then abandoned – probably due to a prolonged drought that lasted 30-50 years.

For more of my hiking adventures check out Red Rocking in New Mexico

BLOG TOPICS: I write content (in-depth) blogs about a mix of topics: Inspiration and Hope, and Science and Energy, and Health and Hiking.

The Gray Nomad ….. May these photos offer cheer while we wrestle with the disastrous effects of Covid-19.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
[Book of Romans, chapter 15.]

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Karen Larre
Karen Larre
3 years ago

Hi Ian. Spectacular photos. Looks like you all had a most wonderful time! Thanks for sharing.

Bob Moulton
Bob Moulton
3 years ago

Great pictures Ian. When I was a kid, I loved to read about the Durango Kid in my comic books. I always envisaged that he rode around a cactus-dotted desert landscape. Looks nothing like my imaginations. I can’t even remember the name of his horse! Freezing cold mornings and nights here in Melrose, South Australia at the moment.

John Cameron
John Cameron
3 years ago

A wonderful example of an activity during this new era of isolation. I will add this to my bucket list. Thanks much!

Ellen (ADC)
Ellen (ADC)
3 years ago

Congratulations on the climb! The pictures are beautiful. It inspires me to make the trek.

3 years ago

This was an exhilarating read – what a view from the top – awe inspiring!!! Thankyou!! Patricia Jacka .. Clare SA where it is currently fresh and bracing!!

3 years ago

Thanks Ian, Brings back memories. Great pictures and blog post.

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