Huerfanito – 13,083

RT Length: 9.66 miles

Elevation Gain: 3008’

I moved my truck.  Just a little bit.  I noticed as I was sitting around during the day there was a rather large tree poised to fall directly on my truck if the wind blew too hard, which it was currently doing.  I moved it about 50 feet away, but still in the same area. 

I slept much better that night.  I woke up and was on the trail at 4:30am, following the road south to the Lily Lake Trailhead. 

The road was clearer than it was 2 days ago, which I thought was suspicious, because I’d been in the area and hadn’t heard any chainsaws.  The road was cleared almost right up to the trailhead, but the path was tiny.  It looked like it was made just for ATVs, so imagine my surprise when I made it to the trailhead and saw a 4Runner and several trucks parked there (sporting Colorado pinstripes, of course).

I headed south on the Lily Lake Trail

I signed the trail register and was on my way

While the road in was almost completely free of deadfall, the trail was not.  There were still several large, downed trees lining the trail.

The trail was still easy to follow, with a few minor creek crossings.

After hiking for 1.85 miles, I came to a junction and continued south, going around this downed tree to find the trail

I came to the Huerfano River Crossing, and cursed myself for not bringing my creek crossing shoes.  Luckily, the water only went up to my knees. 

I crossed the river and followed the trail to the right.

The trail picked up again at the other side, and I had no problem following it south…

Until I had a problem following it south.  This is where the fun route finding begins.  Right where these trees cross the trail, turn left and go up the little waterfall trickling down.  I was at 10720’ of elevation

There was a trail here, and I was able to pick it up at times, but there are also tons of social trails. The area hasn’t had much use since the Lindsey closure, and it’s apparent. It would be a good idea to have a GPX file for this area.

It helps if you follow the boulder field southeast, and keep the stream to your right

Eventually the trail will cross the creek

This trail will bring you to the upper basin

Here’s the route to took to the summit of Huerfanito from the upper basin. I took the dotted route up, the solid route down.  If I had to do this again, I’d take the solid route up and back.

I left the trail at 11995’, and headed south.  When I reached the bottom of the slope I put on my microspikes and headed straight up, following the line of snow.  The scree here was rotten, definitely 2+

Here are pictures of the route up.  This is definitely choose your own adventure, and I’m sure the conditions change from year to year, so stay safe and have fun!

Once at the saddle, I turned and headed left

There are a lot of places that look like the summit, but this is the summit block

I rounded the summit block to the south and headed east.  This was class 2 to the summit

I summited Huerfanito at 7:45am. There was no place to set the camera, so I took a selfie with my phone.


While there was a cairn there, I spent a lot of time making sure I was at the true summit of Huerfanito, since I had a lot of conflicting information.  I went back and forth on the ridge, took pictures from every angle, and was certain I was on the true summit.

Now to head back down.  I retraced my steps back to the small saddle

From the saddle I had a great view of my route in, which I would follow back

I scree-surfed down the scree.  The route I took on the way down had scree that made for the best scree-surfing I’ve ever done.  I was back down to the tundra in no time.

At the bottom I took off my microspikes, and headed north to find the trail.

I then followed the trail back to the river crossing

I crossed the river, once again taking off my shoes, and then followed the trail back to the trailhead

I signed out of the register, and followed the 4WD road back to my truck

I made it back to my truck at 10:15am, making this a 9.66 mile hike with 3008’ of elevation gain in 5 hours, 45 minutes.

On to the next trailhead!

Author: Laura M Clark

Mom, Solo Colorado 14er Finisher, Outdoor Enthusiast, Traveler, and Girl Scout Leader with an MBA in International Business and Marketing. I value adventure, growth, courage, wisdom, integrity, accountability, and family. I enjoy yoga, wine, whiskey, traveling, reading, and the outdoors. I strive to be the person who inspires and motivates myself and others to succeed.

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