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Thread: Public Access to Fisher Peak?

  1. #1
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    Public Access to Fisher Peak?

    Hi-
    I wife and I passed thru Trinidad Sunday and a hike up Fisher Peak looked interesting but all access from I-25 was posted except for maybe the THR ranch about 2 miles from Raton Pass (I don't remember exact name) which appeared open for hunting.

    Does anyone know of public access to Fisher Peak?

    Thanx

    Bob Sandefur

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    Unfortunately, Fishers Peak is almost entirely surrounded by privately held land. However, the good news is that the top of the Fishers Peak mesa is the James M. John State Wildlife Area. This area can be accessed by going to Sugarite State Park in New Mexico and continuing to the Lake Dorothey State Wildlife Area in Colorado just north of Sugarite State Park. A trail goes from Lake Dorothey up onto the plateau. It is then a hike of several miles to the summit of Fishers Peak, although great views are available of the Purgatoire River valley if you hike west to the edge of the mesa. Be sure to stop before you fall off the cliff!

    You can find information about the James M. John SWA on the Colorado Division of Wildlife website (http://wildlife.state.co.us). Look under Viewing-State Wildlife Areas.

    Here is a map of the James John SWA from their website:



    I think it would be great if a trail could be developed from Trinidad to the top of Fishers Peak. This would require the consent of a number of private landowners on the north side of Fishers Peak and a major trail development effort. However, I think such a trail would be a great asset to Trinidad. What do the rest of you forum viewers think about this? Is it time to start a "Friends of Fishers Peak" citizen's group?

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    As soon as convenient the wife and I will try Fisher's Peak from Sugerite.

    For those interested

    http://terraserver-usa.com/image.asp...20528&z=13&w=2

    gives a aerial view of the top of the Peak.

    Thanx to chaley for the useful reply

    Bob Sandefur

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    After looking at topo map and seeing the long flat and jeep road I thought a little Mtn Biking on the way to the summit might be fun so I asked Colorado DOW and received the following:

    RE: James M. John SWA Mtn Bike

    HI,

    According to our brochure it must be on foot or horseback only. In that case a motorized or non-motorized vehicles are not allowed.


    Thanks for Writing

    Jeanette Scherbarth

    Denver Office



    -----Original Message-----
    From: [email protected] [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: Tuesday, May 18, 2004 8:50 AM
    To: Wildlife, Info
    Subject: James M. John SWA Mtn Bike



    Ask DOW

    From: bob sandefur
    DOB: 5/13/44
    Senders Email: [email protected]
    Question or Message: we were thinking of climbing Fisher's peak and the only access seems to be through the James M. John SWA. According to the topo map after an initial climb it looks like there might be several miles of pleasant mountain biking. Is this legal as the web page says access is restricted to foot and horseback?
    Thanx
    bobsandefur

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    One more interesting point about Fishers Peak. If you go to this website:

    http://www.ii.uib.no/~petter/mountai...do_finest.html

    you will see that Fishers Peak ranks 98th on the list of prominent peaks in Colorado. This is notable, because Fishers Peak is nowhere near the top 500 Colorado peaks by elevation (Fishers Peak is 9,627 feet high, while no. 500 on the list is 13,180 feet high).

    The measure of "prominence" is a little hard to understand. Say you had climbed to the top of Fishers Peak and then wanted to hike to a higher peak. But you only wanted to descend as little as possible (I can relate to this; when I'm hiking I never like to give up any elevation once I've gained it). Prominence would be the amount of elevation you would have give up before you could climb up to a higher peak.

    In any case, ask anyone from around Trinidad, and they'll agree that Fishers Peak is our most prominent landmark! And now we know that there is a scientific basis for that belief.

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    From Guide to Colorado Mountains revised ninth edition the Colorado Mountain club and Robert M. Ormes Edited by Randy Jacobs 1992 p 212:

    Trinidad/I-25 Access:
    Fishers Peak (9,586') is the highest of the late Tertiary or Quaternary lava flow mesas east of 1-25. Its block top is detached from Fishers Peak Mesa (Raton Mesa) to form an abrupt though flat summit. It is visible from far north, and conspicuous south of Walsenburg. The approach is from 1-25 about 2 miles south of Starkville, 4.5 miles north of Morley, where a jeep road goes southeast up Clear Creek. Go up Clear Creek about 0.5 mile, and take the left fork to Bell Tank. Climb north to the ridge and east to the summit. At the top, where you are confronted by vertical rock, you can find a chimney to break through. It's a good fall climb, with Persian carpet colors to compensate you for having to push the oak brush around. See Starkville and Fishers Peak USGS Quads.

    Based on driving the I-25 access road on 16 May 2004 WITHOUT a topo map this access appears to be posted.

  7. #7
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    Hello Bob!

    I am a native of T'dad and just last summer hiked to Fisher's Peak from the New Mexico lake described in this message; I understand that the hike is 14 miles round-trip, and from experience, does seem to be about that distance. Words of advice: when you arrive at the mesa from the trail head, stay to the left side and proceed north-west. My husband and I did not do this (the mesa top is somewhat deceiving) and had to back-track several miles which deterred us from arriving all the way to the peak. Also, be sure to make noise on your hike--we came across a bear! It is a beautiful, challenging hike. When you arrive at the mesa, it is so quiet and so peaceful. Have fun and stay safe! P.S. I would love to do the hike again; if you and your wife need company, please reply back with your information.

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