Rio Grande County High Point Trip Report

Bennett Peak (13,203 ft)

Date: July 2002
Author: John Garner

As noted in John Michler's and Dave Covill's book, you can approach this one from the north or south, with the south being a 4WD road. Important: right now, BOTH approaches are 4WD. I went in from the south and left from the north, and I actually had more trouble on the north side. The last mile to Blowout Pass should not be tried by any 2WD vehicle due to mud, and even the mile and a half before that (just above the turnoff from the main forest road) is very slick, and I slid around quite a lot. If you don't have a 4WD, consider stopping and parking at the turnoff from the main road (where there is a sign saying "Blowout Pass"). This is at mile 27.5 from US 160. This would add 5 miles RT and about a thousand feet of gain to the hike.

If you have 4WD, the south approach is shorter and easier. From Alamosa, go south on US 285 for three miles, then west on CO 370 for about 15 miles to CO 15. Turn south for 2 miles; then turn right (west) on CR 250. CR 250 turns into FR 250, and goes up into the mountains. At 21 miles from CO 15, pass the small community of Jasper. About half a mile past Jasper, turn right on a forest road signed for Blowout Pass (I forgot the road number). Follow this rough 4WD road for 5 miles to Blowout Pass.

The Hike: Entirely on ATV trails. Go east from Blowout Pass on FT 700. At about 0.75 mile in a saddle between Bennett Mountain and Sheep Mountain, turn left on FT 850, and follow it for 1.5 miles to the top. I had good weather, but a register entry from the day before complained of sleet and wind chill under 30 degrees.

My GPS measurements (verified both ways) 4.6 miles round trip, net elevation gain 1400 feet; total elevation gain 1500 feet.

Notes: A lightly visited area, but many cows and evidence of ATVs. I'm not fond of either. John and Dave said there had been only five visitors since 1986; many more recently. Not exactly Broadway, but 25 or so this far in 2002, and as many in 2001. Saw Jobe Wymore's name, and Ron Tagliapietra's as well. Here's a question: since when do ATV-ers sign peak registers? Lots of entries, all noting whatever machine it was they rode up.