OverviewHesperus Mountain is located in the scenic La Plata Mountains of southwest Colorado. It's one of the four sacred peaks to the Navajo people, the others being Blanca Peak in Colorado, Mount Taylor in New Mexico, and Humphreys Peak in Arizona. The somewhat isolated La Platas are the most southwesterly of all the Colorado mountain ranges. Located far from the major population centers along the Front Range, and containing no Century Peaks, the La Platas don’t see nearly as many climbers as the other more famous ranges in the state. Hesperus Mountain is located in the San Juan National Forest.
For years it was thought that Hesperus Mountain, with a listed elevation of 13,232’, was the highpoint of the La Plata Mountains. However, in recent years that contention has come into question. Anyone who has climbed Hesperus Mountain has almost certainly noticed the jagged Lavender Peak rising to what appears to be an almost equal elevation a half mile to the east. The most current USGS topo map does not list an elevation for Lavender Peak. The highest contour line for Lavender is 13,160’, making the highest possible elevation for Lavender 13,199’. This is still well below the listed elevation of Hesperus Mountain. However, several people have taken levels up to the summits of both mountains, and claimed that Lavender is a few feet higher. However, until more definitive measurements are taken, no one will know for sure. View 1. View 2. View 3.
Getting ThereFrom the small town of Mancos on US 160, drive north on Colorado 184 for one mile. Turn right onto County Road 42. This is also known as Forest Road 561. Drive north about ten miles to the Transfer Campground. Continue north about two miles to the Aspen Guard Station, then turn right onto Forest Road 350. Drive east on Forest Road 350 about six miles, then turn right onto Forest Road 346. The roads to this point are good, but Forest Road 346 is rough. Drive one mile to Twin Lakes, then continue another half mile past Twin Lakes to reach the Sharkstooth Trailhead.
Mountain ConditionsContact the Mancos-Dolores Ranger District in Dolores at 970-882-7296 for the latest conditions.
Forest Service Map: San Juan National Forest.
Topo Map: La Plata.
CampingMancos State Park and the Transfer Forest Service Campground are located just off of Forest Road 561. You can also camp at the trailhead, but there are no facilities there.
- Lavender-Hesperus Controversy Information
- A view of Hesperus Mountain
- Mancos State Park
- San Juan National Forest