La Plata Peak - Northwest Ridge14ers, Colorado, mountain, and trails
La Plata is situated to the South side of CO SH 82, and SWW of Twin Lakes. Twin Lakes is a good base camp to do a variety of things in South Lake county: hot springs farther South along 24, various peaks, and trails around the lakes. Forget exactly which cabin rental went through 5 years ago, but we landed some sweet digs in the hills on the North side of town. I digress.
I showed up to the trailhead a bit after 8am, and managed to steal a parking spot in the designated parking area from someone as they drove away. One could park farther down the access road that was packed from people camping. Did not want to risk losing a mirror.
Mentally prepare yourself for 3 false summits. Do be sure to pack a change of shirts and windbreaker (as I always do); probably 20-30F degree difference on peak versus at the trailhead. Cold sweat is not fun.
- 8:15am start from the La Plata Gulch Trailhead
- 9:05am clear treeline
- 10:40am summit La Plata
- 11:10am leave summit
- 1:10pm return to car
Be sure to stay to the right on the return, otherwise you will do part of the Southwest Ridge route like I did.
Once back below treeline, in the valley, the pine forest to the East of the trail offers cover for finding a friendly tree, but beware of mosquitoes while bearing yourself.