At the end of August we enjoyed a 6 day back packing route, traversing between the high passes of the Grenadier and Needle Mountains in the Weminuche Wilderness area.
The route we followed was first described to us by a friend as the Weminuche Dream Trip. Another friend, also with expertise and knowledge of the area, went over the maps with us, marked out the high passes we would be aiming for and confirmed that it would be dreamy.
To start, we boarded the afternoon Durango/Silverton Narrow Gauge Train in Silverton and were dropped at the Elk Park Trail Head along the Animas River. After a few hours hiking up the trail, including navigating through some extensive avalanche debris from last winters historic snow fall, we made camp in the valley bottom.
In the morning, after being visited by two Moose, we left the main trail and headed up on use trails into Vestal Basin and beyond. We camped near lakes and glacial tarns in a new basin each night. Our route traversed the upper reaches of multiple drainage’s falling to the East and West. We followed use trails and often no trail as we navigated our way between the five 13,000′ passes we had previously mapped out.
We only saw two other people in the next 5 days. A very friendly couple that we met near our camp at the end of day 4. Insects were a bit of a factor. Not a problem while moving, but best to hang out in the tent once stopped for the day.
On our final day we got down to the Needleton Bridge/Train stop early enough to catch the morning train back to Silverton. A super great trip!