Courtesy of ListsOfJohn
CO Peak Statistics
Piñon Hills HP
Elevation : 9,476'
CO Peaks Rank : 2627
Counties : Conejos
Quad : Manassa NE
Coords : 37.1396°N, 105.8238°W
Rise : 1,718'
Piñon Hills HP is one of Colorado's most prominent peaks with more than 1,000' of prominence. This gentle peak rises east above the valley floor above the town of Manassa. Not a heavily populated area, there are still large swaths of private land. Fortunately, most of the peaks, including this one, are public. There is one "standard" route on this seldom-climbed peak, an old roadbed that is now only frequented by footfalls, wildlife, and the seldom ATV user.
Dese are good nuts.
Piñon Hills is a long way from many places. From Denver, it is a good 5+ hour drive.
To get there, take Hwy 285 south to Villa Grove (3 hours+/-). From Villa Grove, continue south to 17/285 intersection, and take a left (south) on the straight path of Hwy 17. This takes you to Alamosa. From there, continue south on 17/285 (follow signage) until you get to Romeo, Colorado. Take a left (east) towards Manassa on CR 142. Continue through to 19 Road, turn South, then follow that to M road, turn east, follow that to 21 road. The route we followed picks up a BLM road shown on the map as "Old Lantern Well". While not well shown, the road is close to where it is supposed to be according to the map.
For the first mile or two, any 2WD vehicle with decent clearance and careful driving can navigate to the beginning of the 4WD road. It eventually requires high clearance and 4WD, but at some point, it becomes un-navigable by most vehicles due to the narrow track, large boulders, and sideslope conditons. Sooner or later, plan on walking or riding a bike up the road.
Red Tape & considerations
While there is no "official" red tape, there are things to consider:
Weather: Mid-summer temps can be brutal. There is no water anywhere near this area, so if you have pets or don't bring enough water for you, you better stop and get some.
It is a long drive to get there, which also means it is a long drive home. Even though the town of Manassa is within sight, you are likely to be very isolated and on your own if something goes wrong. Cell phone reception is spotty in this area of the state.
This area is lightly touched by man - please practice Leave No Trace principles. Pack out any extra trash you might encounter.
Since it is a long way home, if weather conditions are questionable, you might want to check Kenosha Pass and Poncha Pass before a) heading down there or b) returning. Road closures are a real bummer when you're trying to get home. Call 511 for road conditons and closures, or check COtrip.org.
Camping & other places to stay
Villa Grove area - For some, this might be a good place to stop and soak, spending the night at a Bed & Breakfast in Villa Grove, or visiting Joyful Journey Hot Springs
, Valley View Hot Springs (a.k.a. Orient Land Trust)
, or visiting and camping at the Great Sand Dunes National Park
. Another interesting stop is the Colorado Gators Alligator Farm
, although they don't have camping or lodging.
There are lots of BLM or N.F. areas to camp as well, all free, but also without any amenities - bring your own water, dig catholes for human waste, etc.
Area Info & Other External Links
Manassa is the historic home of heavy weight champion boxer Jack Dempsey. The town is the home of a museum
dedicated to him.
Road conditions and updates: COtrip.org