Blaine Basin

Date hiked: 07/02/17

Mileage: 6.8 mi

Head Count (how many other hikers I saw): Five Groups

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Right out of the gate, an old logging road shuttles hikers two-hundred feet up the foot of Mount Sneffels to where it meets with Wilson Creek. With the first three-quarters of a mile behind you, the next 1.25 miles gradually ascends the creek’s drainage in a forest of mixed spruce and fir, and pockets of aspen.

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With the snow and rain soaked soils, a wide canvas of wildflowers  colors the undergrowth, despite the gloom of a coming storm.

Where a number of telltale avalanche chutes converge, the views open up, and from here, a set of sturdy logs provides a dry crossing of Wilson Creek.

Heading east, the climb builds, and the continuance of the Dallas trail (via the Wilson Creek Trail) splits off to the left towards Ridgeway. Continue right, and the Blaine Basin trail soon wraps back to the southwest to scale the steep mountainside above Wilson Creek.

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Where the trees thin, keep an eye out for the waterfall cascading from an offshoot of Wilson Creek at the head of the valley.

Meeting back up with the creek, the trail finds access to the basin via its steep drainage. On flat land again, the trail crosses Wilson Creek to where a quarter mile of switchbacks carry you the final three hundred feet to the mine.

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Inside the glacial basin, with Cirque Mountain to the left, and Mount Sneffels to the right. The mine sits atop the scree on the left, below Cirque Mountain. In a state built on mining, it’s no surprise that Blaine Basin, too, finds its roots in the days of the gold rush. 

TRAIL MAP

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DIRECTIONS

(From Ridgway): At the intersection of Highway 550 and Highway 62, head west on Highway 62 (Sherman Street) through the center of Ridgway. Continue on Highway 62 for 4.8 miles, then turn left onto CR-7. After .8 miles, keep right to stay on CR-7. Take another slight right 1.3 miles beyond that, and the road comes to an end at the trailhead 6.8 miles further.

Any car could make it to the trailhead, but it grows rougher towards the end. The parking lot fills up quickly on summer days, so park out of the way alongside the road if you need to. A campsite may be hard to snag on the weekends.

13.7 miles; 33 min

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