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Whipple Trail #419 to Whipple Mtn, CO
mini location map2020-09-23
11 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Whipple Trail #419 to Whipple Mtn, CO 
Whipple Trail #419 to Whipple Mtn, CO
Hiking avatar Sep 23 2020
Hiking2.63 Miles 1,303 AEG
Hiking2.63 Miles   5 Hrs      0.82 mph
1,303 ft AEG   1 Hour   48 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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This was a short hike on Whipple Trail #419 from its trailhead on the Last Dollar Road. It is not one of the more popular trails in the area - I didn't see another hiker on the trail. It is in good shape and leads up to a saddle at the Sneffels Wilderness boundary where it starts to drop down into a deep canyon. However, at the wilderness sign you take a right and follow an unmaintained foot path through a thick forest up to the top of Whipple Mountain.

I chose this hike primarily because it was near my campsite on Last Dollar Pass and I was ready for some solitude after hiking the more popular Lizard Head Trail a couple days before. The highlight of the hike are the views from the top of the mountain of the Mount Sneffels Wilderness and the San Miguel River valley. Unfortunately a smoky haze had blown in from the wildfires in California and Oregon but the dehazing feature in Photoshop saved some of the photos.

My campsite on the short 4x4 track off of the Last Dollar Road at its summit provided a spectacular view of the winding route that road takes up to the pass, the San Miguel River valley and the mountains beyond which include Wilson Peak and Lizard Head. The hillsides below were covered with a huge forest of Aspen that were starting to get streaks of Fall color. I might have been tempted to stay there another night but a pesky rodent got into my FJ Cruiser and kept me awake much of the night as he/she noisily scampered from one end of the car to the other. Just when the scampering noise died down, loud gnawing noises started so I kicked every surface within reach that would make a loud noise, started up the engine and honked the horn for a couple minutes. That stopped the noise and I slept peacefully the next few hours until daylight. Inspection the next morning revealed the critter had gnawed a hole in a foil pack of powdered milk in a duffel bag of canned food next to my feet. That duffel bag had received several direct hits from my frantic kicking during the night which must have scared off the pest because he never showed up again for the remainder of the trip.

After the hike I drove north on the Last Dollar Road to its connection with Highway 62. It's a very scenic route but mostly gravel all the way. The steep section from the Telluride Airport up to the summit has some rough sections requiring medium to high clearance and possibly 4-wheel drive. The road was rutted from getting muddy during periods of heavy rain and I suspect even a vehicle with 4 wheel drive would have trouble getting up that road under those conditions.
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