Mt. Maxwell

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

Mt. Maxwell
From left to right: Mts. Mariquita, Maxwell and Cuatro, North Lake in the foreground.
Mt. Maxwell

Mt. Maxwell is on the boundary between the San Isabel National Forest on its' eastern slopes and private land on its' western and southern slopes. It also marks the southwestern corner of the San Isabel National Forest. (Originally, it was the northwestern corner of the Maxwell Land Grant.)

The photo on the left was taken above treeline on Mt. Maxwell's shoulder. The view is looking southeast down the canyon of the North Fork of the Purgatoire River. On the horizon is Fisher's Peak and Raton Mesa.

The ridge leading south from Trinchera Peak to Mt. Maxwell doesn't look too bad but I haven't walked it yet. There is lots of exposure, depending on which side of the exposed fault line you choose to walk on. The photo below shows that ridge, from the top of Trinchera Peak looking south.

Mt. Mariquita, the next peak to the south along the high ridge, is entirely on private land. The western side of the top ridge of the Sangres here is cliffbands and steep talus.

The ridge of the Sangres from Trinchera Peak to Quatro Peak

The photos below were taken one day while I was getting some exercise on Mt. Maxwell. There's a jeep trail that leads uphill from just below the Purgatoire Campground. The road is quite drivable (except the last quarter mile) but has a lot of switchbacks. And it's way up the mountain before you start to get some real views. The road dies at treeline. There's no trail beyond there but as you go up the hill, the available alternate paths quickly disappear. You are forced closer and closer to the center of the shoulder until you reach the boulderfield. Very few choices here. Lots of exposure, good cliff bands everywhere and a big mound of rocks. And, oh yeah, there's a couple of false summits to help you out along the way. The true summit is finally marked with a large hunk of pipe stuck out of the ground in the center of a rock cairn. I'm assuming that also marks the end of the National Forest and the beginning of private land to the west and south. The western side of the mountain drops off in cliff bands and what looks to be rotten rock and steep talus.

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Mt. Mariquita
Mt. Mariquita
a bit further up
A little further up the hill
even further up
Even further up the hill
the trail
The trail
the first false summit
Closer to the first false summit
the first false summit
The first false summit
the ridge to the summit
The ridge to the top
the ridge to Mariquita
The ridge to Mariquita
Cuatro Peak
Mt. Cuatro
the second false summit
The second false summit
up and up and up
The mountain just went up, up, up...
down and down and down
And the mountain went down, down, down...
Culebra Peak
Culebra beyond Mariquita
Spanish Peaks
The Spanish Peaks
Mt. Maxwell summit
At the summit
Mount Maxwell area topo mapCuatro PeakPotato Patch CampgroundMariquita PeakTrinchera Peak
Mount Maxwell area map logo
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Map courtesy of National Geographic Topo!
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