Kit Carson and Challenger
ElevationAscent: 5,550' 1,692 m
Descent: -5,550' -1,692 m
High: 14,050' 4,282 m
Low: 8,950' 2,728 m
GradeAvg Grade: 15% (8°)
Max Grade: 127% (52°)
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“A stunning approach along an alpine lake followed by world class scrambling on two 14ers.”— Tyler Prince
Camp here for a day trip, and be sure to start early. Like 3-4 AM early. Start up Willow Lake Trail and follow to the top of the lake. If splitting this hike up, there's excellent camping just below Willow Lake. From the top of the cliffs above Willow Lake, continue to Kit Carson North Ridge, hiking along the willows until you find the start of the awesome scrambling.
Summit Kit Carson Peak and start down the connector to Challenger Point (Kit Carson Trail). While on this trail you may choose to climb Columbia Point, adding about 1 hr round trip, although this isn't included as part of this featured hike.
Summit Challenger Point and descend Challenger Point Trail back to the top of Willow Lake. You really should be back at the Lake before storms hit - it's fairly safe below treeline on the way back down.
Kit Carson's namesake is more controversial: Kit Carson was a US Civil War General and pioneer known for his extreme cruelty toward a number of American Indian tribes.
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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible
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Land Manager: USFS - Rio Grande National Forest Office