Music Pass to Sand Creek Lakes – Backpacking/Fishing

Music Pass

Music Pass, Looking West

Perception . . . . kind of an interesting thing. I’ve been backpacking into Colorado’s Sangre de Cristo mountains since 1993 and that first trip was over Music Pass. In all these years my perception has been that it’s pretty dry down there. When I mentioned this to long-time backpacking buddy and former co-worker Jeff, he looked at me funny and said, “Are you kidding? It always rains here.”.  As I thought about the many trips, and most of them with my three sons, I’d have to admit, yes, it does rain  quite a bit down there. Well . . . why the perception, or more properly incorrect perception? I think it’s because most of the outbound hikes are in the middle of a hot summer day and the trail is dry and dusty. So, that must be the lasting impression. In any case the Sangre’s are my favorite backpacking destination, rain or no rain, or no memory of rain. I just love it.

Head south from Westcliffe, Colorado on State Highway 69, then turn off onto the road to South Colony Lakes. When you get to the tee in the road, turn left onto Music Pass Road. The road is decent for a while, but then it turns into a four-wheel-drive road, though definitely passable with your average 4×4.

We got to the parking area around 8:15PM and camped nearby. In the morning, we got an early start and headed up the trail. The Sky Terrain shaded-relief topo Map shows the distance to the Upper Sand Creek Lake at 3.8 miles. That’s where I’ve always gone in the past. This time we decided to give the lower lake a try and at 3.1 miles we figured that would be a nice change. Unfortunately, I slowed Jeff and Troy down a bit. Last month, I twisted my knee playing street hockey and it’s been sore ever since. Going up doesn’t seem to be a problem but coming down is a little painful. Anyway, it was about an hour to Music Pass.

One thing different about the hike to Sand Creek Lakes is that there’s more up and down than other hikes in the Sangre’s. First you hike up to the pass, then down to Sand Creek, then back up to the Lakes.

We arrived at the lower lake and it was beautiful. We set camp and headed to the lake around 10:30AM. The fish were rising everywhere. You could see them swimming just a few feet from shore. At one point approximately 20 Rocky, Mountain Bighorn Sheep, ewes and small lambs came running by. It seems every time I’m back in this area I see sheep. Must be good habitat.

Lower Sand Creek Lake, Looking Towards Tijeras Peak

Lower Sand Creek Lake, Looking Towards Tijeras Peak

Fishing was great, having landed an even dozen by 4PM. However, most of them were small (6″) to medium (8″-10″), so, I released all of them to grow a little bigger.

Small Trout at Lower Sand Creek Lake

Small Trout at Lower Sand Creek Lake

Well, the day was very nice, and we ate dinner around 5PM, but then at 6:30PM it began to rain. Not heavy, in fact, a light rain. It rained until after I went to bed around 10PM. Pretty ironic, given my perception mentioned earlier.

Sunday morning brought plenty of sunshine and I fished a little more catching and releasing two more fish and snapped a few photos of some interesting clouds over Tijeras Peak.

We broke camp at 11:45AM and reached the parking area at 1:45PM. Two hours with a bum knee . . . not bad.

Thanks for visiting my blog.

Tijeras Peak Clouds

Tijeras Peak Clouds

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