|Hiking||8.00 Miles|| 7 Hrs 29 Mns ||1.28 mph|
|3,086 ft AEG|| 1 Hour 15 Mns Break|
||no linked trail guides|
|Headed to Atascosa Peak today.|
Got started 2 hours later than I wanted, up too late the night before.
I found a way to the peak that has zero exposure so if you are afraid of scaling the scary cliff near the end read on!
The first time I went up here I had no trouble going up. Climbing back down was worrisome.
I like this hike because there are so many interesting rock features. Some are hidden away, and people pass right by without knowing. I’ll also give directions to the Atascosa Window.
Another time I’ll work on distance but for now all I have are times between features.
9:21 – On the trail
9:32 – At the gate
10:01 – First overlook
10:07 – First saddle. – rested here for about 5 minutes and stashed a bottle of water.
10:37 – Window – Leave the trail here and Go straight up the hill. It’s steep and slippery in places but knocks off about a half a mile of distance one way.
11:14 – Second Saddle – UP above the window.
11:18 – Beginning of saddle above – I love this part of the hike. No trail. Lots of rock hopping
11:40 – North End of Saddle near the cliff
12:17 – Peak! Nap and lunch – about 3 hours to this point in the day.
1:05 – headed back down. I took my time and explored along the cliffs.
1:29 – square hole – You have to go about 15 out of your way and its hidden pretty good. about 6x10
inches. NO. I didn’t look inside.
1:30 – edged around the Square hole and found a small camp.
AND! A safer way to the top.
1:34 Above the scary cliff again.
2:29 Back on the North end of the saddle
2:48 Back to the South side of the saddle
3:01 Saddle above the window
3:15 In the window.
3:19 Back on the trail
3:35 Washed out part of the trail. The washout is white rock and there is a red strata above it. This wash also leads to two breaks in the cliffs that lead to the South end of Atascosa. The South end is the first thing you see when you get to the gate.
4:01 – back at the overlook
4:31 – back at the gate
4:50 – back at the truck
Total time = 7 hours and 29 minutes.
Someone signed the register and said they “landed” there . Helicopter? I guess there is enough room and its pretty flat with no brush.
About an hour was used up between naps and rests.
Now, The window and the safer way up.
I’ll put a picture of the landmark that shows where the window is. You can’t see it from the trail.
It’s at about the 2 mile mark and here is the first switchback leading to the lookout. There is a tall rock column above this switchback and there is also a faint trail to the right. From this trail is where I first saw the Window.
The switchback takes you into the tree line in about 20 feet. Go another 50 feet and head up the hill. It is easier to scramble above the window in elevation and work your way over and down than to go straight up at the hairpin.
The path from the trailhead to here is in better shape that last year. All of the downed trees across the trail are gone. You could wear shorts all the way to the lookout and not get scratched.
Taking a short cut up the hill beside the window is a different story.
If you head up the hill along the cliff that the window is in, you will pass a couple of pretty good sized cave/alcoves.
You can tell when you are near the saddle because there are a lot of dead trees. It looks like lightening has worked it over pretty good. There are a couple of places that you have to use a stick to get back the cats claw. Its minimal.
From this saddle you can see the beginning of the BIG saddle that takes you across to the Peak.
I did a lot exploring this time. It was cool and breezy so I knew My water supply was adequate.
The easier safer way up…
If you stand below the cliff you will see some greenery to the left.
Follow the trees. There is no exposure, and the rock is grippy. Shade!
Keep looking to the right and start heading up when you see the ridgeline.
It’s the same distance up from here as it would be up the cliff and
You will come out right by the cairn at the top of the cliff. – Before the cairn was put up, I had trouble finding my way down.
There are cairns that lead to the top be heading around to the East. I followed them this time.
Usually, I just make a beeline to the peak.
I found this way up on the way down. The last time I was up there I wanted to check it out but there were bees. (the “B” word thing again) This time I came down the cliff and then decided to explore the area. Went to the top the new way and came back down the same.
Took the path back to the truck and was feeling it the last half hour.
Atascosa tank was empty. There have been times it was full and the trail was like a small stream.
A very good way to spend a Saturday. Didn’t see anyone the whole day.