Philmont Trek Route #8

By Donald W. Miles <> Mon, 13 Apr 1998 11:06:10 +0000

Bill Griffin wrote re- Trek 8 description:

>Copper Park: Continue up the creek, don't go up Baldy Skyline Ridge, and you
>will finally arrive at French Henry Camp after a lengthy hike with a steady
>climb in elevation. ... <<

I'm sure Bill knows this route better than me, but just an additional note:

Our crew did Trek 8 the first week of August 1997 and thought the "lengthy hike with a steady climb in elevation" from French Henry to Copper Park was the most-strenuous testing of our entire trek. Our Ranger called that section "The Wall", and with good reason: it's about a mile with about a 1000-ft. change in elevation on a rocky, stairway-to-heaven trail. The only way the "geezers" in our crew (three guys 38, 45 and 48, in very good condition) got up that monster was to stop every 10 paces for a minute to wheeze. Even the boys flopped face-down in exhaustion in the beautiful, wildflower-filled meadow at the top at Copper Park.

By the way, Bill's right: Copper Park (unstaffed) is like a park, just a beautiful stand of tall trees with great soft campsites and clean water from a spigot. I will risk quibbling a little with Bill: we thought the climb up Baldy from the east side from Copper Park was not a bad climb at all (even for wimpy Easterners like us) and only takes a couple of hours (only take one or two packs with everyone's water, first aid kit, and raingear/fleece). We didn't find the talus field dangerous, just needed to be very careful -- hey, there's worse on our PA Appalachian Trail. And follow Bill's advice make sure you're down by 1 pm to miss the storms. Baldy's no place to be in a storm.

I'd also add that the hike down Dean Canyon from Head of Dean to New Dean is through one of the prettiest, wildflower-filled, Rocky Mt. - quiet valleys you'll ever see. Take your time and enjoy the gorgeous walk !

Bill's right: the last hike from Harlan to the bus-stop is pretty strenuous, but also through some great country. Don't miss the Philmont buffalo herd, if it's grazing on that hill (Nash Gulch) just before you get to the bus-stop at Webster Reservoir turnaround (if you have time, check over the top of the hill: the herd may be on the other side). You'll also probably see the herd on your bus ride back to basecamp.

See also: