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Hesperus Mountain - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting

Hesperus Mountain, Colorado 81326, USA

1 Day Treks
Mountain Peaks

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About Hesperus Mountain

Hesperus Mountain is the highest peak in Montezuma County. The mountain is located in the San Juan National Forest, and its summit offers stunning views of the surrounding area. Hesperus Mountain is popular with hikers and campers, and there are several trails that lead to the top. The summit can also be reached by car, and there is a small parking lot at the trailhead. Visitors to Hesperus Mountain are sure to be impressed by its beauty, and the hike to the top is well worth the effort.

Things to Do at Hesperus Mountain

This beautiful mountain is perfect for hiking, picnicking, and enjoying the great outdoors. There are several trails to choose from, so you can find one that's perfect for your skill level. Be sure to bring your camera - the views from the top of the mountain are simply stunning. If you're feeling adventurous, you can even camp overnight at one of the primitive campsites.  If you're looking for a more adrenaline-pumping experience, you can try your hand at rock climbing or mountain biking. And during the winter months, Hesperus Mountain is a popular destination for skiing and snowboarding.

History of Hesperus Mountain

Hesperus Mountain is a peak in Montezuma County, Colorado. It is the county's highest point, at an elevation of 13,366 feet. The mountain was named by miners in the 1800s after the mythological figure Hesperus, the personification of the evening star. Hesperus Mountain is part of the La Plata Mountains range, which is itself a subrange of the larger San Juan Mountains. The mountain is located about 10 miles southwest of the city of Durango, in the San Juan National Forest.

Hesperus Mountain has a long and rich history. Native Americans have been living in the area for centuries, and there are numerous archaeological sites on and around the mountain. The first Europeans to visit the area were Spanish explorers, who came in the early 1600s. The mountain was later mapped by surveyors working for the U.S. government in 1874. In 1918, a fire lookout tower was built on Hesperus Mountain, which was used for many years to spot wildfires in the area. Today, Hesperus Mountain is a popular destination for hikers and climbers.

Best Time to Visit Hesperus Mountain

The best time to visit Hesperus Mountain is in the springtime, when the wildflowers are in bloom. From mid-April to early May, the mountain is blanketed in a colorful display of flowers, making it a truly breathtaking sight. 

Tips for Visiting Hesperus Mountain

  1. Check the weather before you go and dress appropriately. The mountain can be much colder than the valley below, even in summer.
  2. Use sunscreen and insect repellent. The sun is strong at high altitudes, and mosquitoes can be a problem in the summer months.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings and stay on marked trails. The mountain is home to many animals, including bears, so it's important to be cautious.
  4. Don't try to hike to the summit in one day. The hike is strenuous and should be done over two or three days.
  5. Camp at one of the established campsites. There are several sites located along the trail, but they fill up quickly during peak season.
  6. Don't underestimate the altitude change - Hesperus Mountain sits at over 11,000 feet, so be prepared for some challenges if you're not used to high altitudes.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Hesperus Mountain

  1. Hesperus is notable as the Navajo People's Sacred Mountain of the North, Dibé Ntsaa, which marks the northern boundary of the Dinetah, their traditional homeland.
  2. Though not of particularly high elevation for the region, Hesperus Mountain is visually quite prominent, as it is near the southern edge of the San Juan Mountains and rises over 7,000 ft above the area.
  3. The mountain was first climbed by a party led by Albert Benjamin Franklin Ellingwood in 1916.
  4. The mountain was named after the Greek god Hesperus, who was the personification of the evening star.


How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Hesperus Mountain

We would recommend allowing at least two days to explore Hesperus Mountain. This will give you plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and make your way back down the mountain without rushing.

How to Reach Hesperus Mountain

From Hesperus, the easiest way to reach the mountain is to take County Road 311 north for about 2 miles. Then, turn left onto County Road 314 and follow it for another 3 miles. At this point, you will see a sign for the Hesperus Mountain Trailhead. The trailhead is located on the left side of the road, and there is a large parking area. 

Entrance Fee of Hesperus Mountain

There is no entrance fee to enter this mountain. 

Opening Hours of Hesperus Mountain

The mountain is open to the public for hiking and camping from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. 

Attractions Near Hesperus Mountain

Camp Bird Mine
Camp Bird Mine4.72km from Hesperus Mountain

The Camp Bird Mine was a gold and silver mine located in Ouray County. It was one of the most productive mines in the San Juans, and at its peak, it employed over 400 workers. The mine operated for over 20 years, until it was finally closed in 1991. During its time, the Camp Bird Mine produced over $50 million worth of gold and silver. Today, the mine is a popular tourist attraction, and visitors can take a tour of the tunnels and see the equipment that was used to extract the precious metals.

Kennebec Trailhead
Kennebec Trailhead6.88km from Hesperus Mountain

This magnificent trail cuts straight up through the Kennebec Valley, curving back and forth with the mighty river while overlooking woods and mountains. It runs from Embden to Bingham and makes for very comfortable travel. The surface of the trail is crushed gravel, and it's ideal for bikers, walkers, skiers, snowmobilers - just about anyone.

La Plata Canyon
La Plata Canyon7.67km from Hesperus Mountain

La Plata Canyon is located west of Durango in the San Juan National Forest area of southwest Colorado. Rugged mountains and snow-melt waterfalls await visitors to this verdant, river-cut canyon.Although this trail is not singletrack, it offers nice views and wildflowers the further up you go, making the climb worth it. This trail is approximately 9.25 miles in length from the main parking area and gains over 2,800 feet.

Hesperus Ski Area
Hesperus Ski Area16.49km from Hesperus Mountain

Hesperus Ski Area is 8,880 feet above sea level. 80% of the skiable terrain is lighted for night skiing. It has 13 runs, of which 30% are beginner difficulty, 20% are intermediate and 50% are of expert difficulty. It also features one rope tow and one double chair lift. There is also a full service snack bar, ski and snowboard rentals, ski and snowboard lessons and a tubing hill.

Mancos State Park
Mancos State Park16.7km from Hesperus Mountain

Mancos State Park is a nature lover and hiker's paradise. The park is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life, as well as stunning geological formations. Visitors can explore miles of hiking trails, fish in the reservoir, or camp under the stars. In addition, the park offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year. The park also features a Visitor Center with exhibits on the natural history of the area.

Hermosa Creek Trail
Hermosa Creek Trail20.56km from Hesperus Mountain

The Hermosa Creek Trail is one of the best and most popular trails in the Durango area. There are several route options including an out and back on the singletrack portion of Hermosa Creek Trail. The main trail is very obvious. You will see several trail junctions along the way, but the main Hermosa Creek Trail is always the most well-worn route.

Where is Hesperus Mountain

Discover More Attractions in Montezuma County, Where Hesperus Mountain Is Located

Montezuma County
Montezuma County
13 attractions

Montezuma County in southwestern Colorado is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the state. From the snow-capped peaks of the San Juan Mountains to the red rocks of Mesa Verde National Park, there is no shortage of natural beauty to explore. Not to mention, the county is also home to a wealth of history and culture. A visit to Montezuma County is sure to be an unforgettable experience.