Dear HCCA Hike enthusiasts,

Spring…at long last. And soon to follow, High Country Conservation Advocates’ 22nd year of Don Baker Legacy Hikes. 2014 also marks the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act, and we will be celebrating with most hikes focusing on Wilderness Areas. Since HCCA was instrumental in creating several of these areas, we have real cause to celebrate!

Here is this season’s Wednesday hike schedule:

June 25 – Old Kebler Wagon Road (E, 6 mi.)

July 2 – Beckwith Pass from Lost Lake, West Elk Wilderness (M, 6 mi., bring water shoes)

July 9 – Mill Creek, West Elk Wilderness (E, 5 mi., bring water shoes)

July 16 – Horse Ranch Park into Raggeds Wilderness (E-M, 6 mi.)

July 23 – South Lottis Creek, Fossil Ridge Wilderness (E, 8 mi., bring water shoes)

July 30 – Copper Creek, Maroon Bells Wilderness (M, 8 mi., bring water shoes, group limit 10*)

August 6 – West Brush Creek (E-M, 7 mi., bring water shoes)

August 13 – North Pole Basin, near Wilderness, and recently protected (M, 8 mi.)

August 20 – Baxter Basin, proposed Raggeds Wilderness addition (M-D, 6 mi., bring water shoes)

August 27 – Oh-Be-Joyful, Raggeds Wilderness (M-D, 8-10 mi., bring water shoes)

Please remember that (E) “easy” and (M) “moderate” are relative terms, and at altitude and in mountainous, rugged terrain, challenges exist, and could be (D) “difficult” for some. All hikes require suitable capability and acclimation, as well as water, hat, raingear, sunscreen, lunch, hiking boots and sense of adventure. All distances are round-trip and approximate. See our website for hike descriptions. Registered hikers meet at the Crested Butte Visitors Center parking lot at 8 AM and carpool to trailheads. Please bring vehicles—some destinations depend on suitable clearance.

We will continue to abide by Forest Service regulations and environmental ethics, limiting our group size to a maximum of 15 people (*or fewer in certain Wilderness Areas) each week. Please, no pets. We encourage you to register early and bring your friends to introduce to these majestic mountains and to High Country Conservation Advocates.

Our online reservation system makes hike registration easy. To reserve space for the next week’s hike, visit our new and improved website,, after 5 PM on the Wednesday prior to the hike you’d like to join. (If you have no internet access, or need to cancel, you may call me at 349-5886.)

These hikes are our way of connecting with you in settings we all treasure. Your participation makes them a success, as well as aiding the success of our programs – Public Lands, Water and Save Red Lady! As we move closer toward achieving final resolution to our decades-long battle to Save Red Lady (and the Gunnison Country) from a molybdenum mine, all your energy and support are vital to our success. We enjoy sharing knowledge and getting to know you on the trail.

See you soon!

Sue Navy

Your membership and support is critical to HCCA’s work. If you would like to help sustain High Country Conservation Advocates into the future, please consider making us part of your legacy with a planned gift.

2014 Hike Descriptions


June 25: Old Kebler Wagon Road

This is an easy early season hike on a historic wagon road grade, going up the Coal Creek valley. Southern exposure should bring out the flowers in this year of heavy snows.

July 2: Beckwith Pass from Lost Lake

Panoramic views of Raggeds Wilderness peaks as the trail meanders through the trees and meadows toward Beckwith Pass in West Elk Wilderness.

July 9: Mill Creek

An easy walk past remarkable rock walls and spires, into the West Elk Wilderness.

July 16: Horse Ranch Park into Raggeds Wilderness

A morning visit to this area often brings deer sightings, sometimes beaver. Beautiful wetland ponds lead to views of Marcellina Mountain with the towering Ruby and Owen as backdrops.

July 23: South Lottis Creek

Beginning up Taylor Canyon, South Lottis Ck. takes us into the Fossil Ridge Wilderness Area toward Henry Lake. A walk in the forest along a rushing mountain creek.

July 30: Copper Creek

Just past Gothic Townsite, Copper Creek cuts its way through the Maroon Bells Wilderness. Striking views abound as the trail heads toward Copper Lake.

August 6 – West Brush Creek

In place of our planned Castle Creek hike (no access this year), we’ll visit West Brush Creek in one of our most beautiful valleys. This creekside hike takes us gently toward Teocalli Mountain, whose shoulder provides a beautiful spot for lunch, with views into the Maroon Bells Wilderness.

August 13: North Pole Basin

At long last, North Pole Basin is open to the public, thanks to the Crested Butte Land Trust and Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. This will be HCCA’s first hike here in many years, and it will be worth it. Although private, there are views of Wilderness areas throughout this inspiring hike.

Aug. 20: Baxter Basin

Just below Daisy Pass, this basin once saw heavy mining activity, but now is being proposed for Wilderness designation. See waterfalls galore as we hike up an old mining road.

Aug. 27: Oh-Be-Joyful

Our hike founder, Don Baker, loved to hike Oh-Be-Joyful at the end of each season. We keep with tradition, and hike up this beautiful valley in the Raggeds Wilderness to a lovely lunch spot with spectacular views. A perfect end to our 22nd season of HCCA Hikes!