Colorado Trail Day 15: Collegiate Peak East Route

Daily Neet Beat
Well we got a late start today. If you want to get an early start, don’t stay at Bed and Breakfasts with great hosts. Scrambled eggs, ham, potatoes and homemade muffins. Yum! When you are headed back on the trail it feels like it is your last meal. I gobble it down. No need to worry about calories. It is a very different mindset than I usually have at home.
Looking back at Twin Lakes

Today we are hiking around Twin Lake and starting the Collegiate Peak East route. There is also a west route which is higher in elevation and supposed to be prettier but we are concerned about early conditions with snow and the moonsoon setting up at high elevation. Besides, our next resupply is at Mount Princeton Hot Springs which is on the east route. We didn’t want to miss a good soak in the hot springs.

With Steve Burton at the junction of the Collegiate East Route of the Colorado Trail

We start off hiking with Steve Burton from Texas. He hiked the Colorado Trail last year and came back to hike some more this year in the Collegiate Peaks with a friend. He stayed at the Ores&Mine Bed and Breakfast and is hiking around the lake today to a historic hotel site from the 1800s called Interlaken. We hike with Steve to the junction of the East Collegiate Route and then part ways. Steve loves to fly fish and is headed to the northwest from here.

A Weidemeyer’s Admiral butterfly
A Great Spangled Fritillary

Today has a lot of elevation gain, mostly going up glacial moraines.  The geology continues to amaze – in this area, the lateral moraines are huge coming off the mountains and we go up and over a few. A lateral moraine is formed by glaciers along the sides of it. The rocks have been ground down and rounded by the glacier. The ridge is what is left behind.

Rounded boulders on a lateral moraine formed by glaciers likely around 18,000 years ago
Headed down the glacial moraine into the Clear Creek drainage

These moraines are as old as 18,000 years and are picture perfect examples. We head down one of the moraines into Clear Creek Valley and it is very hot and dry. After climbing up the next glacial moraine, we find a great camp on Waverly Ridge. The lighting on the Collegiate Peaks is great as the sun sets and moon rises bright and red. It is a great evening to be out here.

Looking out across the Collegiate Peak Wilderness
A red moon sends us to bed

Just the Facts


Total Miles: 15.6
Cumulative Miles: 195.6
Trail Segments: 11 and 12
Camp Elevation: 11653 feet, on ridge off Waverly Mountain in Collegiate Peak Wilderness 
Elevation Gain:  3766 feet
Elevation Loss:  feet
Weather: Sunny in the morning, clouding up in the afternoon

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