Snowshoeing: West Fork of the Cimarron

From Ridgway, the Cimarrons look like a single ridge but what is visible from town is really the two ridges that surround the West Fork of the Cimarron. This basin is astoundingly beautiful and isn’t that hard to get to, provided that in the winter you have access to a snowmobile. The basin is accessed from Owl Creek Pass which is groomed from the Forest Service boundary on the west side (Ridgway) down to Silver Jack Reservoir and parking on the east side.

When a plan was hatched to go snowshoeing in the basin a small problem was presented: there were three people and one snowmobile. Turns out, that if one person is willing to brave some bruises and an awkward ride (ahem, that person was…me), crazier things have happened.

As silly as the ride to the basin was, just being in the basin was the highlight of the day. Initially, we’d hoped to head up Courthouse Mountain but with an unsettled snowpack, we decided to spend our time in the shadow of Dunsinane, Precipice Peak, Redcliff, Coxcomb, and an unnamed 12er.

Snowshoeing, West Fork Basin

Not only were our views of the peaks immediately surrounding us awesome, but so were the views north towards the Elks and Mount Lamborn.

Views to the Elks and Lamborn

As we climbed higher into the basin the views just got better and better. The sky was an amazing amazing blue and the temperatures were perfect for ambling around the snow.

West Fork Basin

Cimarron Basin

Carefully, we made our way through the trees to the western rim of the basin between Courthouse and UN 12725. I always love getting up above Ridgway; while the Sneffels Range and the Cimarrons are very visible it’s really easy to forget that Utah’s La Sal and Abajo Mountains aren’t very far away. Even the Henry Mountains are visible south of Hanksville, Utah.

Beth

Ridgway

Ridgway

After enjoying the view, we descended back into the basin and headed back to the snowmobile. It’s been a long time since I’ve done almost five miles on snowshoes and my legs were feeling it! It didn’t help that my snowshoes are designed for snowshoe running and are a bit small for the task of tromping around in powdery stuff but the day was so glorious I didn’t care one bit.

Cimarrons

3 thoughts on “Snowshoeing: West Fork of the Cimarron”

  1. Beth, you are such a rockstar at the winter game! I could learn a thing or two from you, that’s for sure. Snowshoeing is on my list this year but 1) there’s no more snow left right now and 2) I need to find somewhere to rent snowshoes. Ha! Beautiful photos. Hope your bruises heal quickly. 🙂

    1. I was such a BUMP ON A LOG last winter and it was really just terrible. I’m so much happier with this level of winter activity!

  2. This looks amazing! I’ve been so bad about getting outside (even though this winter has been SO mild) and I really hope to improve that in the coming weeks!

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