Colfax County High Point Trip Report

Little Costilla Peak (12,584 ft)

Date: September 22, 2002
Author: Ken Jones

This can be approached from either east or west.

From the east, pick up the Cerrososo Canyon road from US 64 about 4 miles northeast of Cimarron. This road is well-signed as the access to the Valle Vidal unit of the Carson National Forest. Follow the road to the forest (about 20 miles) where it becomes Forest Service route 1950. Stay on this route for a total of about 41 miles from US 64. About 1/2 mile after you pass a corral on the left at the "top" of the road (this is the county line), watch for the crossing of Grassy Creek (very little water in September) and park by the side of the road.

From the west, you can reach the same point by leaving New Mexico route 522 in the town of Costilla, and heading east on NM 196. This eventually leads to FS route 1950. Note that you will need to turn right at a junction a couple of miles into the National Forest in order to stay on FS 1950. Follow it up to Grassy Creek.

From the parking area (10,000 feet), stay on the left (west) side of the creek and pass through a screen of trees. Proceed uphill, through a meadow, nearly due north. There are a couple of screens of trees across the meadow, breaking it into sections. At the top of the meadow at around 10,400 to 10,500 feet you can find an unmaintained barbed-wire fence. There is a gap in the fence at an angle in the northeast corner of the meadow. Pass through the gap and follow the ridge and/or the fence near the ridge crest. The fence peters out above tree line. The ridge leads to the summit cairn.

You may find the fence to be a handy navigational aid on the way back down, especially where the ridge becomes less distinct between 11,600 and 11,400 feet.

There are (often steep) use trails much of the way.

Trip statistics: 6.5 miles round trip with 2,600 feet of elevation gain.