Bushnell Peak/Twin Sisters Peak
3-6 Jul 2003 - by T Colorado
We (Michael and I and our friend Don) were off for 4 days over the 4th of July and yearned to escape the heat of the city and the crowds of the trails. Thus, these two remote low 13'ers in the northern Sangre de Cristo's seemed the ideal location. In addition to the challenge of a steep and long backpack, there were two high lakes to test our fish-catching abilities. We departed town on Wednesday and drove to a turnoff just before the Hayden Creek Campground (there is no parking for hikers/climbers in the campground). It took us almost 8 hours to backpack in the steep 5 miles to a remote campsite just below the upper Bushnell Lake. Please note that the trail is well-established to the lower Bushnell Lake and then spotty, at best, above that point. Sometimes you have a game trail to follow ... sometimes not. Be sure to stay to the right of the large waterfall above the lower Bushnell Lake. We spent the 4th of July fishing the upper (and larger) Bushnell Lake (good fishing here). On Saturday, we left our camp at 11,200' and climbed back up to the upper lake. To climb the peaks from the upper lake, ascend the grassy/sandy slopes to your north heading towards a white rock tower on the ridge. Follow the ridge west (some fun scrambling here ... in fact, the ridge is more challenging than either ascent). Once at the high point (approx. 12,730'), descend to your right (north) and follow the ridge to the top of Twin Sisters Peak. Return from whence you came and head south on the ridge to the top of Bushnell Peak. Neither summit had a register. The views of the Crestones and the Blanca massif were spectacular. A word to the wise ... the route finding (with a large heavy pack on your back) between the lower Bushnell and upper Bushnell lakes will challenge inexperienced individuals. Happy trails!
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