Spanish Creek Trailhead


Range: Sangre de Cristo

Winter Access

Status Updates 
Posted By: thurs
Info: No issue getting a permit from CMZC. Parking lot was almost full though (not due to climbers though). We were the only people up there for a few days.

No issues with the creek crossings. One is a little janky. Otherwise the trail is pretty easy to follow up to 11,250ft or so.

Btw if you recently built a half-assed fire ring above treeline next to a huge boulder and left your burnt tins and some TP around, we destroyed the fire ring, scattered the ashes, and packed out your trash. Do better.
Posted By: dlintz
Info: We backpacked up Spanish Creek on 7/23/21 with hopes of a good weather window for the Prow. The next morning, we opted not to attempt due to wind and fog. We did summit Columbia with steep scrambling on the east side of Columbia’s south ridge and then tagged Kit Carson. Descending the west side of Cole’s Couloir was quick.

Upon breaking camp and heading down Spanish Creek, we endured several hours of rain and hail. After crossing the highest of several log bridges, quickly rising waters forced a hasty, brutal bushwhack over the ridge to the south. From partway up the slope, we watched the next log bridge get swept away. We then descended the adjacent drainage back to the Monastery.

I have to assume all of the log creek crossings are gone at this point. Despite that, the trail up is fairly well cairned but very overgrown. Mosquitoes were incredibly bad. Bring the bug spray.
Posted By: textrivers
Info: CMZC worked with Access Fund and now uses an automated permit system, couldnt be easier, see here for more info:

Please respect their land and help maintain access for future users!

Trail itself is overgrown and faint at times, bring a headlamp if starting early.
Posted By: blazintoes
Info: Got permission to park on site. First 1/2 mile is packed. Beyond that is rough where snowshoes can be helpful to disperse snow and save energy but the deadfall is pretty bad so navigating through with multiple gear transitions wastes a lot of time and effort. Made it to the Prow viewing but with sunny skies baking the snow, attempting the south gully seemed fruitless. Maybe this next round of snow will be helpful?
Posted By: stoopdude
Info: There’s not a lot of recent or useful on this TH so I just wanted to add.

I emailed to request permission to access this trail, and they replied in the affirmative within a matter of hours. They let me park on their property and sent me a map to navigate thru their property. There was absolutely zero hassle to this other than sending a 2 line email.

It also appears that there is the alternate "sneaky" route that people use, parking in a pull-off on Camino Baca Grande right where Spanish creek crosses the road. It is probably a half mile from this parking area to where the Zen Center route joins up with it.

All this to say, it appears you can do this with or without permission, but I decided to ask and it was really easy!

This trail is steep and faint with lots of deadfall and overgrowth, but well-cairned in the most confusing areas. Trail fades to nothing around treeline.
Posted By: Monster5
Info: Dry up to 11k. Patchy thin above. Incredibly dry across the range. No flotation necessary from the west.
Posted By: spadflyer12
Info: Permission to access this trail can be obtained by contacting Sophie at the Crestone Mountain Zen Center: I and several others have had luck obtaining permission to access the TH through their property. They will likely request that you park at their parking lot, not build any fires on their property, and respect the creek as it is their only water sourece.
Posted By: wmfolk
Info: This public trail crosses private property before entering National forest lands. The private property owners place a very high value on quiet and their private property rights. There are no facilities on this trail and camping or building a fire are prohibited. Deviating from the trail is trespassing on private property.
Posted By: wmfolk
Info: Public Hearing Oct. 20, 2008 at the Saguache County Courthouse at 0900 hrs. to prove prescriptive historic public access to Spanish Creek trail from the Baca Grande subdivision.
Posted By: Unknown
Info: This trail; as well as the Cottonwood Creek trail; will remain closed to public access during the 2008 climbing season due to private property at the trailhead. The property owner has asked not to be contacted to grant access. There are some ongoing discussions about access to these two trails convened by Saguache County government. CMc is a participant. However, the discussion process is in a very early stage.

Steve Bonowski
June 16, 2008
Posted By: vermonster
Info: The first mile of the trail can be lost quite easily with the encroachment of VERY thorny bushes.

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