Alberta Peak near Pagosa Springs, CO

  • Rating: Moderate (1st 1.5 miles is very strenuous)

  • Distance: 6 miles round trip

  • Elevation

    • Trailhead: 10840 feet​

    • Summit: 11840 feet

    • Gain: 1200 feet

  • Trail Map (no trail for the last quarter mile)

  • Trailhead directions: Highway 160 northeast 23.2 miles to Wolf Creek Pass

  • Start EARLY! Check the weather forecast for Wolf Creek Pass.  If there's a chance for thunderstorms, plan on being off the summit by at least 11 AM!

Alberta Peak marks the top of the Continental Divide 23 miles northeast of downtown Pagosa Springs.  The 11,840-foot peak is also the highest point within the Wolf Creek Ski Area and offers spectacular views into the East Fork Valley.  In the summer, the peak is best accessed from the Continental Divide Trail at the top of Wolf Creek Pass. 

 

From the giant Continental Divide sign, the trail proceeds south across a meadow to a bridge over the Treasure Pass Ditch, which happens to be little-known transmountain diversion that redirects 5 cfs of water from the San Juan River watershed to the Rio Grande watershed (it collects water from the backside of the ski area that would normally go the Pacific Ocean and sends it to the Atlantic Ocean instead). 

 

Once you cross the bridge, the trail enters the forest and climbs steeply along the ski area boundary (next to the Kelly Boyce ski run).  The trail is strenuous as it gains 800 feet in the 1st 1.5 miles, at which point you'll reach the Bonanza Lift (a good place to take a break).  The remaining 1.5 miles is much easier and extremely scenic as you climb above treeline and are rewarded with great views of Treasure Mountain and the East Fork Valley.  You'll pass by the Treasure Lift and walk directly on the Continental Divide to the base of Alberta Peak, 100 feet above you.  Leave the trail when the trail begins to contour around the peak, and scramble up the talus slope to the summit.  

      

 
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