Weminuche Wilderness

Colorado USA: (RTCO05)
URL: https://www.hiddentrails.com/tour/co_weminuche_wilderness.aspx

Colorado USA
Travel into one of the most spectacular areas of the Western United States, deep in the Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains. This area was heavily glaciated and the valleys are textbook geologic featuring meandering streams through enormous valleys with hanging waterfalls on the valley walls, great expanses of exposed granite and huge moraines. You camp in a beautiful meadow on the glaciated canyon of the Florida River near the City Reservoir, built in the late 1800's by the city of Durango to store water. Today, it no longer is used by Durango, but instead provides some of the best lake fishing in the San Juans. The fish are not big, but they are lively! Less than a mile downstream, the canyon boxes off and is impassable. You can feel the presence of bear and elk in the air as you wander through this true wilderness. The list of activities to do is endless. Among our favorites is a ride to one of many high mountain ridges, enjoying incredible views, wildflowers, and of course, elk. Chicago Basin is one of the most sought out destinations in the San Juans but one of the most crowded. We ride horses to the rim where we have the most spectacular view of the Basin and the Fourteen thousand foot mountains surrounding it— and you won’t see another person! Trimble Pass is another spot that you will never forget. And if you’re up for it, we can climb to the top of Mount Sheridan for a view that is unmatched.

Another camp we use on our longer trips, is the West Virginia Camp. It is located in the spruce and fir trees at 11,300 ft. This is a true wilderness setting with large cliffs lining the valley that West Virginia Creek winds through. The fishing is fabulous in this native cutthroat stream, a rarity in today’s world of invasive trout species. Virginia Creek is a moderate hike away with predominantly Rainbow Trout in its waterfalls and meanders. The views of Pigeon and Turret Peaks and the rest of the Needle Mountains are breathtaking on the way to these high mountain lakes.


This is a pack trip ride where all nights are spent at a base camp.

You will be staying in walled tents. Cots and pads are provided. Please bring your own sleeping bag! We have separate sleeping tents for each group of a mixed group trip.
Clean latrine tents are located near camps. When the weather is warm enough, a warm shower is available (solar shower).

All meals are included in this trip.

Meals are served in our basecamp dining tent or on the trail when traveling by horseback. Gourmet meals, snacks, soft drinks and purified water are provided (bring your own water bottle).
The cook tent has a woodstove with an oven where we bake biscuits and even pies! We believe that food is as important as the wilderness experience and we know you’ll enjoy our delicious meals.

We do not provide alcohol on any of our trips. We can pack in a beverage of your choice (within reason). Since the effects of alcohol are multiplied at altitude, please use common sense. Under no circumstances will anyone be allowed to ride a horse under the influence of alcohol.

Dietary Restrictions
We can cater to dietary restrictions with prior notice.

This trip includes and can accommodate special dietary requests.


Fitness Requirement
You will enjoy all of our trips most if you are in good physical shape. Plan ahead, train for your trip and get ready to enjoy one of the best trips you can have anywhere. We provide riding instructions and encourage guests to get as involved with the handling of the horses as they wish, within reason.

We breed, raise, and sell Quarter Horses that are ideally suited to the endeavors that are important to working and living in the mountains.  Our bloodlines are true foundation bred performance horses. Because we use these horses in our operations, we pay special attention to disposition in addition to great confirmation in our breeding program. With a herd of 100 horses, we have many to choose from for all riders!

Weight Limit
200lbs if less than 6'0
225lbs if more than 6'0


Sample Itinerary: 5-day Pack Trip - subject to changes

Note: We can create custom pack trips pending date availability. Daily rate depends on the size of the group and is also possible for a single person at a premium.

Day 1 (Monday): Arrival
Arrive at the ranch for 9:00am. After the pack load is set we'll mount our horses and head up the mountain. Immediately you become surrounded by the dense forest of the Weminuche Wilderness. We will take our time and wind up the trail crossing some creeks along the way and even skirting fallen trees. We will stop along the way for lunch along the trail in a spot where the views will take your breath away! As we continue on this remote trail to camp, we end the day descending down a traversing trail, crossing a river and ending up at our fully provisioned camp in the wilderness. You will have a chance to unload your personal gear and then join the group for some snacks before dinner. After dinner we can relax around our own private campfire and then head off to bed under a blanket of stars.
Meals included: Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping

Days 2-4 (Tuesday to Thursday): Pack Trip
Wake up each morning to the smell of freshly brewed cowboy coffee and another fulfilling western breakfast. The next few days we will be no rush to get started in the morning and there will be lots of options to choose from. We may opt to take a full day ride deep into the mountains enjoying waterfalls and wild flowers along the way or opt for just a half day ride and enjoy the afternoon doing a different activity. The fishing is 'Brookie Paradise' and only a five minute walk from camp in the waterfalls of the Florida River. High mountain lakes await us in every direction, some with 15" trout lurking in them. Or you may want to try to climb Mount Sheridan right behind camp for a spectacular 360 degree view including the 14,000 ft peaks Eolus, Windom and Sunlight peak. Keep your eyes open for large birds of prey overhead or possibly elk or deer running through the woods. After you have taken all the pictures you want, and spent the day enjoying what seems to be your own private wilderness playground, we'll head back to camp. Enjoy each others company while dinner is being prepared for you and relax around camp taking in the views, smells and sounds of this pristine wilderness. Each night offers a sky full of stars and coyotes often howling in the background.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Overnight camping

Day 5 (Friday): Departure
After breakfast we take one last look at the glorious San Juan Mountain range that surrounds us and pack up our gear so we can head back to civilization. As you wind your way back to where the vehicle awaits there are plenty of last minute opportunities for taking photos. We'll plan on lunch on the trail along with way before we unload and pack up the animals for the journey home. You will arrive back in Durango at the ranch around 6:00pm. Please do not plan departures home tonight unless your flight departs after 8:30 pm.
Meals included: Breakfast & Lunch
Overnight camping

Fishing Program (same route as pack trip)
The fishing at the headwaters of the Florida River includes alpine lakes, high mountain streams and the Weminuche Wilderness in Southwest Colorado. We have outstanding fishing right outside of camp. Be prepared because this is “brookie paradise”, with excitement around every corner. We are experts on fishing the headwaters of the Florida River drainage. This area is one of the premier fishing regions in southwest Colorado, but because of its very remote location you can enjoy the trip and forget about the crowds . We can put you right there in the fishing fury, with a guide standing beside you who knows all of the prime spots, the best ways to fish them and the best fly for that particular hole at the time that you are there.
We are here to help you with what you want and need. If you’re a beginning angler, we can give you a good foundation of the basics which you can carry on with you long after your trip. If you have more experience, we can help you refine techniques and learn some new tricks. If you are an advanced angler, our beta can help you maximize your fishing experience.

From our camps we can fish three different streams with three different types of fish and consequently three different fishing characters. The Florida and most of it’s tributaries are full of brook trout. These are voracious feeders and a day of fishing can result in many fish on the end of your line. West Virginia Creek is a rare, native cutthroat fishery and we are fortunate to be able to stalk these wily critters in such a beautiful wilderness setting. Virginia Creek is dominated by Rainbow Trout and has the largest stream trout in our area.

We also fish the high country lakes of the Florida Basin including the Castilleja Lakes, Lake Marie, City Reservoir, Lilly Lake and Emerald lake. High country lake trouts can be fickle, but when they are hitting, the thrill of hooking one of these fish is truly exhilarating.
All of these trips are truly full service with all of the amenities of our basecamp pack trips with the addition of a dedicated fishing guide.  The ratio of fisherman to guide is a maximum of 3 to 1.  We provide all fishing flies and fishing gear is also available for rent.

Rates and Dates for Weminuche Wilderness

Rates include:

Accommodations, All meals with soft drinks and purified water (bring your own water bottle), Some riding instructions & Guided riding and packing services according to program
Cots and pads are provided.

Packages and Options

  • SeasonYearDescription US$
    20215 day pack trip, AP (high)$2000
  • B
    20215 day pack trip, AP (low)$1750
  • C
    20213 day pack trip, AP (low)$1200
  • D
    20215 day fishing pack trip, AP$2700
  • E
    20213 day pack trip, AP (high)$1500

Tax 1: 3 %

Rates Note:

Small group surcharge $100/person/day

* prices are per person based on double/twin occupancy
Tax: 3 %  

Rates Note:

Small group surcharge $100/person/day

Transfer and Other Charges:

2021 Meet at the ranch for 9:00am on day 1 of the trip.
- to be paid locally

Season Tour Dates  Min / MaxReserve
A 2021 07/26 - 07/30 5d / 4n 5 day pack trip, AP (high) 2 /8 Expired
D 2021 07/26 - 07/30 5d / 4n 5 day fishing pack trip, AP 2 /8 Expired
A 2021 08/09 - 08/13 5d / 4n 5 day pack trip, AP (high) 2 /8 Expired
D 2021 08/09 - 08/13 5d / 4n 5 day fishing pack trip, AP 2 /8 Expired
D 2021 08/16 - 08/20 5d / 4n 5 day fishing pack trip, AP 2 /8 Expired
A 2021 08/16 - 08/20 5d / 4n 5 day pack trip, AP (high) 2 /8 Expired
A 2021 08/23 - 08/27 5d / 4n 5 day pack trip, AP (high) 2 /8 Expired
D 2021 08/23 - 08/27 5d / 4n 5 day fishing pack trip, AP 2 /8 Expired

Dates Note: Custom Full Service Pack Trip available any date -- please inquire for rates

Rates do not include:

Transfers, Gratuities, Fishing license & Alcoholic drinks (bring your own- within reason)
Bring your own sleeping bag!


Due to COVID-19 Corona virus pandemic and certain travel restrictions we are applying some temporary policy changes to some of our tours.

For Weminuche Wilderness Pack Trip (RTCO05):

We are now open and have implemented procedures that allow us to operate in a manner that minimizes the risk to our guests, our employees and ourselves.

Here are some of our new procedures:
1- All waivers must be completed online prior to arriving at the ranch (no exceptions). 
2- All riders (and accompanying guests to the ranch) must wear a mask at all times.
3- Please adhere to social distancing (6 ft minimum) while at the ranch or anytime you are participating in an otho activity.
4- Please stay in your car when you arrive at the ranch. One of our employees will greet you upon arrival with instructions.
5- We will take your temperature and ask covid-19 related symptom questions for all occupants while you remain in your car.
6- Rubber gloves are encouraged while at the ranch
7- We will not physically assist you in mounting/dismounting of your horse. If you cannot mount and dismount by yourself, you will not be allowed to ride.
8- We will sanitize all contact services between each activity.
9- We will screen all employees each day for temperature and symptoms.
10- There may be additional risk minimization procedures in place dependent on what activity you are participating in.

Thanks for cooperating with us on implementing these procedures and being patient with us during these interesting times.

For more information please visit our COVID-19 Updates page at https://www.hiddentrails.com/article/covid19update.aspx

Other Info
Meeting: Durango
Airport: Durango
Transfer: --

                                            Silverton area














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Source: NOAA

Durango boasts over 300 days of sunshine per year! Add that to Durango’s high altitude (6,512 feet) and notoriously unpredictable weather, and you could get a sunburn in the middle of winter or a snowstorm in June (it happens!). Durango enjoys an ideal 4 season climate.

Winters here are usually cold and sunny. Durango's snowfall averages about 71" a year.

Spring brings warmer weather and rain (annual precipitation of 19" per year).

Summer temperatures seldom reach more than the high 80s and rivers and reservoirs stay relatively full in summer, due to deep snow accumulation in the surrounding mountains. June through September typically have warm days with highs in the 70s and 80s F. June usually has sunny afternoons while July and August often have afternoon thunderstorms. The possibility of light snow always exists in the higher elevations, even in July and August. Expect cool nights with lows in the 30s to 50s F.

Fall days are usually cool and dry, and very comfortable, however weather is often unpredictable at this time of the year. Daytime temperatures in the fall can range from 20s-60s F with nights in the 0-30 degrees Fahrenheit range. Rain and snow are always possible. 

Special note – altitude sickness
All of our adventures take place between 9,000-14,000 ft. Drink lots of fluids as hydration is one of the best defenses to altitude sickness. Stay away from alcohol and caffeine to minimize dehydration.

What To Bring:
We recommend that all clients purchase a Colorado Search and Rescue (CORSAR) card BEFORE coming on a trip. The purpose of this card is to assist in the costs associated with a backcountry evacuation should the situation arise (hopefully not!). If you purchase a hunting or fishing license, it is included. You can purchase these in Durango wherever hunting and fishing licenses are sold, or you can purchase one online with the following link:

Put your gear in a soft duffel. Please limit your gear to 40 lb.

Personal Gear
- Waterproof duffel bag (or line with garbage bag)
- Small first aid kit
- Flashlight & batteries (headlamp recommended)
- Matches in waterproof container or lighter
- Sleeping bag rated to thirty degrees (or colder) in a waterproof stuffsack (or garbage bag)
- Thermarest (or equivalent) sleeping pad (can be provided)
- Riding Boots (waterproof is best)
- Waterproof boots or overboots (VERY IMPORTANT)

3-4 changes of clothing- suggestions
- Long underwear
- Jeans
- Bandanas/handkerchiefs
- Synthetic (fleece) or wool pants
- Synthetic or wool shirts
- Socks - synthetic or wool preferable
- Underwear
- Toiletries - towel, washcloth, soap, toothbrush, etc.
- Sleeping wear
- Personal medications

Optional Gear
- Binoculars
- Camera and film
- Leather hiking boots
- Compass
- Book and/or journal
- Notebook
- Insect repellent
- Fishing Rod & Tackle (If fishing, you will need a license)
- Tent  (You will be setting up/taking down your tent daily. We will gladly provide one, but if you have your own favorite, feel free to bring it)

To Be Carried When Horseback Riding
- A small day pack can be carried on your horse (saddle bags will be provided as well)
- Lipbalm
- Sunscreen
- Sunglasses
- Toilet paper in ziplock bag
- Water bottle
- Synthetic (fleece) jacket
- Rain gear (Gore-Tex) - parka and pants
- Down vest, sweater or other warm layer
- Riding Gloves
- Warm Gloves (waterproof is best)
- Knife
- Waterproof w/Wide brim Hat (VERY IMPORTANT) (For sun and rain)
- Warm hat