The Knife Edge, Weminuche Wilderness Area
The Weminuche Wilderness in southwest Colorado is regarded as one of the wildest places in the state, the CDT remains at or above 11,000 feet for nearly 70 miles through this halcyon landscape. Loop opportunities abound in the Weminuche and almost all of them tie into the CDT. The Knife Edge is a quarter-mile long shelf built into a shale rock cliff on the Continental Divide. With West Trout Creek a half of a mile straight down and the cliff above practically hanging over you the experience is dizzying. The simplest way to access the Knife Edge is from the Williams Creek Trailhead northwest of Pagosa Springs. The CDT will top out at over 12,000 feet and afford you stunning views of the San Juan Mountains which hold thirteen 14,000-foot peaks. Be sure to pack your fly rod so you can cast for Rainbows at Williams and Trout Lakes just off the Trail. Longer stretches on the CDT from this point would require a shuttle but Squaw Pass and the Window should not be missed if you are in the area for longer than a week. Contact: CDTC at 1-720-340-CDTC (2382) or the San Juan National Forest’s Pagosa Springs Ranger District 970-264-2268, or contact San Juan Mountains Association 970-385-1210.
Length: The 25-mile loop uses the Williams Creek Trail, the Palisade Meadows Trail, the Indian Creek Trail, as well as the CDT. Longer stretches on the CDT from this point would require a shuttle but Squaw Pass and the Window should not be missed if you are in the area for longer than a week.
Directions: Take US 160 west out of Pagosa Springs to Forest Road 631. Follow FR 631 north for approximately 20 miles to the Williams Creek Campground. From here it is another 5 miles on Forest Road 640 to the Williams Creek Trailhead.
Maps: USGS 7.5 Quadrangles: Cimarrona Peak, Trails Illustrated- #140 – Weminuche Wilderness.
Other Information: San Juan National Forest – http://www.fs.usda.gov/sanjuan