From the parking spot
, start heading northeast along Fish Creek. After a minute or so, you'll pass by a dilapidated sign
. Initially, I found a faint path, but that soon disappeared. The terrain seemed pretty flat down here, but you are gaining elevation. Fish Creek is similar to a swamp in areas, and I was soon soaking wet. You’ll have to cross Fish Creek and other smaller streams several times. The vegetation
is thick in places, and the route finding isn’t all that easy. I had to cross a lot of downfall. Keep climbing up Fish Creek, and you will eventually end up on the west side of it. At about 10,600’, you’ll reach the bottom of a steep grass slope
. Now you’ll finally start gaining some serious elevation.
Climb up the grassy slope, and continue climbing up through the forest. At about 11,000’, you’ll break out of the trees at the base of a rock scree slope. Climb up the scree slope
. Continue climbing up the scree and grass slopes on the west side of Fish Creek. The slope steepens in one area, but the climbing isn’t very difficult. Your goal is to reach the broad saddle between Dolores and Middle Peaks. As you get higher, the grade moderates, and the climbing gets easier. As you approach the broad saddle
, you will see that there are actually two separate, smaller saddles separated by Point 12,770’
. For Dolores Peak, head to the right of Point 12,770’. If you want to climb Middle Peak Peak, you would need to head to the left of the point. Climb up to the 12,560’ saddle between Dolores Peak and Point 12,770’.
Once at the saddle
, turn right and start heading up the scree slope
towards Dolores Peak. The slope is steep, but not very difficult. Make the final push to the summit
, where you can enjoy the scenic views of southwest Colorado.
Hiking Distance: About 6 miles round trip.
Elevation Gain: 3,300'.