Table Mountain rises in the Wminuche Wilderness of the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. Its summit is made of a large grassy hump with 468 ft of prominence making Table Mountain Colorado’s 869th highest ranked peak. A rocky area to the east of the summit, may be confused with the true summit.
Maps show a trail called Kitty Creek starting at Shaw Lake near Route 160 going up to join Highline Trail very near the summit of Table Mountain. When I climbed Table Mountain in July of 2016, it appeared that a fire had ravaged the area a few years prior to my visit. At the trailhead on Shaw Lake, I found no sign of the trail. Farther up, remnants of a trail could be seen here and there. With no other landmarks visible, I found myself dependent on my GPS. Unless the trail is built again(check with forest service), you should consider it non-existent.
South face of the broad summit of Table Mountain from Mount Hope
From Wolf Creek Pass on Route 160, drive a few miles east and turn left onto Route 410 to Big Meadows Reservoir. Under ordinary conditions, this is a well graded dirt road passable by any car. After a few miles you will see a split on the road with left going to Big Meadows Campground. Go right (on Road 430) and shortly after take right and continue less than 5 miles I suppose to reach Shaw Lake parking area (see map below).
All distances are per my GPS
|Shaw Lake Trailhead||9880 ft||zero miles
|Abandoned Jeep Road||11150 ft||2.30 miles
|Summit||12688 ft||2.60 miles
|Total One Way||-||4.90 miles
Kitty Creek Trailhead was supposed to be on the left side of the road on the southwestern edge of Shaw Lake. As mentioned above, when I visited the area, a fire had ravaged the slopes. Where the trail was supposed to start, I only saw burnt trees with a dense growth of small aspen trees which required much bushwhacking. My GPS showed where the trail used to go. After a while, bushwhacking became easier.
|Burnt forest |
I then crossed an abandoned Jeep road and continued up the slopes going where the GPS told me to go. Fallen trees created many obstacles slowing me down.
|Burnt forest |
At around 11800 ft the forest of big burnt trees ended and a nice grassy slope appeared making the going much easier.
Farther up, dead dwarfed trees appeared creating a nice foreground for the spectacular view of the distant peaks.
Going higher, the false rocky summit appeared. I began hiking toward the false summit thinking it was the true summit.
(L) True summit, (R) False summit
Closer up, had to find my way up the rocky slopes.
|False summit |
Once I reached the top of the rocky area, I realized that the true summit was a grassy area a few minutes west. Views from the summit.
|Montezuma, Long Trek & Summit Peaks |
|South River Peak |
|The distant Rio Grande Pyramid
|Looking northwest |
Zoomed view of elks to the west of the summit.
Elk near the summit
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When to Climb
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