North Crestone

Sangre de Cristo, Colorado, North Crestone, sunset, June

After I left the Great Sand Dunes in the morning on Tuesday, on a whim I headed to nearby Crestone and went backpacking up the North Crestone Trail in the Sangre de Cristo Range. Unlike the San Juans, which are still smothered in snow, the Sangres are almost totally dry already. Although I was planning on camping up at North Crestone Lake, when I finally arrived there [six fairly grueling miles later] I was disappointed to find no suitable spot to camp near the lake. Besides, it was very windy up there… too windy. So I retreated back to the next meadow down where I spotted a nice established camp spot in the forest next to the creek. Exhausted from my lack of sleep the night before in the Dunes, I took a nap, shot the sunset, lit a small campfire for a while, then fell fast asleep in my tent for nearly 12 hours!

The valley where I camped was not particularly photogenic, imo, and the boring blue sky was not inspiring either. After wandering around for a while the most interesting thing that caught my eye was a bunch of dead trees up on the mountainside. So I hiked up there and shot the setting sun beaming through the bare tree skeletons. Certainly not my best photo ever but I like it and I was proud of myself for putting in the effort to find one intriguing scene to shoot when normally I probably would have just not even bothered.

Sangre de Cristo, Colorado, aspens, North Crestone, June

The lower/middle portion of North Crestone Creek is special because the valley is chock-full of aspens. This would be a spectacular hike to do in the fall when the trees are golden yellow!

6 thoughts on “North Crestone

  1. I overnighted up there last summer, and definitely had visions of fall. Seemed like it would be a challenging area to find a really good perspective though, probably need some substantial bushwhacking.

  2. Your top photograph is an excellent image and even the second one is proof of what my father pioneer landscape photographer Philip Hyde used to say, “There is always something worth photographing if you look beneath the surface.” It does look like an even better location in the Fall. I always thought the San Luis Valley was beautiful looking out over it around sundown, especially when there are good clouds.

    1. Hi David, thanks for your comment! I’m glad you like that first shot. It definitely took some persistence and open-mindedness to find anything worth shooting that evening.

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