Distance: ~18 miles
Elevation Gain: ~8000’13ers. We decided on the northern Sangre de Cristo Mountains since we knew the snow would be minimal there and was also not too far from Denver. We met in Lone Tree, Colorado at 4:30 am and drove to the Venable/Comanche TH just outside of Westcliffe, Colorado. We started hiking a little after 7 am and both agreed an earlier start would have been desirable, since it was so hot, but waking up at 3 am was early enough for me.
The good trail leads all the way to the Comanche Peak-Spring Mountain saddle, where we left our packs for the quick jaunt up Comanche Peak. We returned to our packs, then continued onto Spring Mountain. Then we descended south off of Spring Mountain to regain the trail, then followed the trail to the Venable Peak-Spring Mountain saddle and continued cross country to the summit of Venable. Next, we descended north to Venable Pass and picked up an old trail that contoured quite nicely towards 12873. We dropped our packs at the saddle above Venable Lakes and made the quick hike to the summit of 12873. We returned to our packs and descended down to the Venable Lakes on easy terrain. Steve went for a swim while I continued down to the TH.
We drove back to Westcliffe where we refueled the vehicle and ourselves, then drove up County Road 253 to its end. We hiked up Bull Domingo Hills Highpoint from here. The heat was intense on this hike. Next, we drove to the intersection of County Roads 251 and 255. We hiked to the summit of Round Mountain from here. Luckily, the cloud cover grew and the winds picked up, which provided us some relief from the high 80 degree temperatures. We drove back into Westcliffe to grab dinner, then drove up a road only shown on some maps nearly to the summit of Beckwith Mountain. This was a cool summit with blocky rocks. Finally, we drove up County Road 29 to where an old road is shown on the map. We were unable to locate the road from here, so we parked at a windmill and hiked to the summit, finding the old road en route.
Comanche Peak from the trail. Photo: Steve Knapp
Comanche Peak from the saddle. Photo: Steve Knapp
Venable Peak from Spring Mountain. Photo: Steve Knapp
12873 from Spring Mountain. Photo: Steve Knapp
Venable, Comanche, Spring & 12873 Map
Bull Domingo Hills Highpoint Map
Round Mountain Map
Beckwith Mountain Map
Democratic Mountain Map