Wetterhorn Basin

Distance: 5.8 - 9.0 miles (round trip)

Uncompahgre Wilderness Area, Uncompahgre National Forest, near Ouray in Southwest Colorado

Looking south from the trailhead toward Coxcomb and Redcliff peaks

Looking south from the trailhead toward Coxcomb and Redcliff peaks


This trail wanders through wildflower-filled meadows and then climbs a gorgeous alpine basin to West Fork Pass. From the pass the trail drops into scenic Wetterhorn Basin with great views of Wetterhorn Peak (14,015-ft.).
See Trail Detail/Full Description

  • Distance: 5.8 miles (round trip) to West Fork Pass
    9.0 miles (round trip) to Wetterhorn Basin
  • Elevation: 10,760-ft. at Trailhead
    12,517-ft. at West Fork Pass
    11,850-ft. at Wetterhorn Basin
  • Elevation Gain: 1,757-ft. to West Fork Pass
    -667-ft. to Wetterhorn Basin
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • More Hikes in:
    Ouray / Southwest Colorado

Why Hike Wetterhorn Basin

Heading south on Highway 550 near Ridgway a panorama of the alluring summits and jagged ridges of the Uncompahgre Wilderness fill the eastern skyline, enticing hikers to explore. Several trails penetrate this wilderness from the north, traveling up pretty valleys to scenic passes with dramatic mountain views.

In my opinion the Wetterhorn Basin trail is the finest hike entering the area from the north. The trail gently ascends the beautiful West Fork Cimarron River valley, wandering through scenic meadows beneath Fortress (13-241-ft.), Redcliff (13,642-ft.) and Coxcomb (13,654-ft.) peaks to the head of the valley. Here it climbs a gorgeous alpine basin to West Fork Pass (12,517-ft.).

Just beyond the pass viewpoints showcase stunning Wetterhorn Peak (14,015-ft.) and the emerald green meadows of Wetterhorn Basin. A great lunch spot on the ridge just below the pass offers panoramic views of the basin, the peaks towering above Cow Creek drainage to the southwest and the Sneffels range to the west. Alternatively, hike into the basin to the base of Wetterhorn Peak for a more intimate view.

Elevation Profile

Elevation Profile of West Fork Pass and Wetterhorn Basin

Best Hiking in Southwest Colorado around Ouray, Telluride and Silverton

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Trail Resources

Trail Detail/Full Description / Trail Photo Gallery / Trail Map

Basecamp(s) Information:

Region Information:
Southwest Colorado

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