From Carbondale take HWY 133 south for about 1.4 miles. the turn left on Prince Creek Rd. go another 6 miles to the fork in the road. Turn right at the fork and go another two miles the TH is about a quarter mile before dinkle lake. There is ample parking. The trail is usually accessible Memorial Day through September.
From the parking lot take the trailhead to Thomas lakes and Mt. Sopris summit. The TH is elevation is about 8,650. Once you reach the campground at the first Thomas Lake sign off in the book and collect your permit. This would be a good time to stock up on water as it is a very dry hike and no other water sources are available after the lakes
Instead of continuing on the standard trail straight ahead Walk around the lake, you will be boulder hopping until you start the ascent going south-southwest. Once you come out of the trees it is a pretty good scramble the whole way up. Just stay on the ridge their are great views of the bowl between the summits. This route will take you to the east summit and is a great alternative to the heavily trafficked standard route. It is more difficult and dangerous from rockslides in summer and avalanches in winter.
Sturdy boots and rain gear in summer, and snowshoes or crampons in winter.
Beware of falling rocks in summer, and in winter be careful of avalanches.