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West Elk Wilderness, Gunnison National Forest, CO (Jul 30th - Aug 5th 2017)

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Designated as Wilderness in 1964, the West Elk Wilderness area encompasses a total of 176,516 acres of pristine wild land. The vast and untamed nature of this region offers solitude and peace for all who enter. Towering ridges have crumbled into awe-inspiring topographic features, nearly always described with the word 'castle' due to their spectacular and precarious nature.

Our service project will be to build a rock turnpike in a washed out section of Throughline Trail. This project is imperative to keeping the trail open and minimizing trail spread/damage. Each winter the trail holds standing water and forces hikers trying to keep their feet dry to the outer-edges of the trail, creating more of an impact on the surrounding ecosystem. As the areas surrounding the trail get trampled, the trail widens, creating braided trails which widen each year. A Rock turnpike will elevate the trail above the wet ground and allow hikers to remain on one path and prevent further damage. Within years, the surrounding trampled area will be able to rebound to its previous condition as the turnpike helps hikers leave as little trace as possible.

Join us on our project to the the "wildflower capital of Colorado" as we maintain a critical trail in this rugged and majestic area of the Rockies.

This project is rated as a strenuous project.

Check out photos from last years nearby Raggeds Wilderness service project in our gallery.

We highly recommend that those coming from low elevation (anything below about 5,000 feet) plan an extra couple days in the area before the trip to acclimate to the elevation for your own safety. Altitude sickness is a concern when traveling from low elevation to high elevation and getting acclimatized before the trip is one of the easiest ways to prevent it. If you have had problems with altitude before, be sure to check with your doctor before coming. If you need ideas on things to do/see before the trip contact your leaders.


Jul 30th - Aug 5th 2017

Service Project

Trail maintenance, hauling rocks, turnpike construction

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Free Days

Day hikes to area peaks & lake, relaxing, photography, wildflower viewing!


Car/tent camping

Project Difficulty

Strenuous : Hiking, bending, lifting, digging, sawing. High elevation.


Equipment List