Mount Maestas: Activities, Wildlife, and Conservation


Mount Mestas, standing at an elevation of 11,574 feet, is a prominent peak in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of southern Colorado. This majestic mountain offers a diverse range of outdoor activities and breathtaking natural beauty, attracting adventurers and nature enthusiasts from around the region.


  • Mount Mestas is a popular destination for hiking, camping, and climbing
  • The mountain boasts unique geological features and diverse flora and fauna
  • Visitors can engage with the local community and support conservation efforts by volunteering for a day of service with an organization or donating to the cause.

Exploring the Terrain of Mount Mestas

The Geographical Landscape

Mount Mestas is part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, a rugged and scenic range that spans from southern Colorado to northern New Mexico. The mountain’s terrain is characterized by steep slopes, rocky outcroppings, and dense forests of aspen and evergreen trees.

Flora and Fauna

The mountain is home to a variety of native plant species, including wildflowers that bloom in the spring and summer months. Wildlife enthusiasts may spot mule deer, elk, black bears, and various bird species in the area.

Outdoor Activities at Mount Mestas

Hiking Trails

Mount Mestas offers several hiking trails suitable for different skill levels. Some popular trails include:

  • The Mestas Trail: a moderate 4-mile round trip hike to the summit
  • The Bear Lake Trail: a challenging 8-mile loop with stunning views of the surrounding peaks

Camping Sites

Campers can find several campgrounds near Mount Mestas, such as:

  • Circle of Wagons RV Park: located in the nearby town of La Veta, offers hook-up sites, cabins, and tent sites
  • Bear Lake Campground: situated about 20 miles from La Veta, providing a more secluded camping experience

Remember to follow local regulations and practice Leave No Trace principles when camping.

Wildlife Observation

Mount Mestas and its surrounding areas provide excellent opportunities for wildlife observation. The best times for spotting animals are typically early morning or late evening. Bring binoculars and maintain a safe distance from wildlife.

Climbing Mount Mestas

Preparing for the Climb

Before attempting to climb Mount Mestas, ensure you have the necessary gear, including:

  • Sturdy hiking boots
  • Warm clothing layers
  • Plenty of water and snacks
  • Navigation tools (map, compass, or GPS)2

The best climbing seasons are typically summer and early fall, but always check weather conditions before setting out.

Climbing Routes

The most popular climbing route on Mount Mestas is the standard route, which follows the Mestas Trail to the summit. This route is considered a Class 2 climb, requiring some scrambling over rocks and boulders.

Climbing Communities

Aspiring climbers can connect with local climbing groups or hire experienced guides to learn proper techniques and safety protocols. The Colorado Mountain Club is a great resource for finding climbing partners and events in the area.

Preserving the Natural Beauty

Conservation Efforts

Visitors to Mount Mestas can contribute to conservation efforts by:

  • Staying on designated trails to minimize erosion and protect fragile plant life
  • Packing out all trash and waste
  • Supporting local organizations dedicated to preserving the mountain's ecosystem by volunteering for a day of service or donating

Leave No Trace Principles

By following the seven Leave No Trace principles, visitors can help maintain the natural beauty of Mount Mestas for future generations. These principles include:

  • Plan ahead and prepare
  • Travel and camp on durable surfaces
  • Dispose of waste properly
  • Leave what you find
  • Minimize campfire impacts
  • Respect wildlife
  • Be considerate of other visitors

Engaging with the Local Community

Cultural and Historical Significance

The area around Mount Mestas has a rich cultural and historical heritage. Visitors can explore nearby towns like La Veta, which hosts annual events such as the Spanish Peaks Music Festival and Art in the Park.

Supporting Local Businesses

When visiting Mount Mestas, consider supporting local businesses in the surrounding communities. La Veta offers a variety of unique shops, galleries, and restaurants showcasing the region’s character and charm.


What is the best time of year to visit Mount Mestas for outdoor activities?

The best time to visit Mount Mestas for outdoor activities is typically from late spring to early fall when weather conditions are most favorable for hiking and climbing.

Are there any permits required for camping or climbing on Mount Mestas?

While permits are not currently required for camping or climbing on Mount Mestas, it’s essential to check with local authorities for any regulation updates or changes.

What are the most recommended trails for first-time hikers?

First-time hikers may enjoy the Mestas Trail, a moderate 4-mile round-trip hike to the summit of Mount Mestas. The trail offers scenic views and a manageable difficulty level for beginners.

How can climbers ensure they are following safety protocols on Mount Mestas?

Climbers should always follow basic safety guidelines, such as:

  • Checking weather conditions before setting out
  • Informing others of their planned route and expected return time
  • Carrying essential gear and supplies
  • Climbing with a partner or group

Joining local climbing organizations or hiring experienced guides can also help climbers learn proper safety techniques.

What initiatives are in place to preserve the natural environment of Mount Mestas?

Local conservation organizations and land management agencies work to preserve the natural environment of Mount Mestas through various initiatives, such as:

  • Trail maintenance and restoration projects
  • Educational programs promoting responsible outdoor practices
  • Research and monitoring of the mountain's ecosystem

Visitors can support these efforts by following Leave No Trace principles and participating in volunteer opportunities when available.

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About the author

Simone Weisman

My deep appreciation for nature and active living strongly aligns with the vibrant outdoor culture of Colorado. My enjoyment of yoga, hiking, and exploring scenic trails provides me with a unique perspective that I bring to This personal passion enriches my ability to connect with and inspire our audience, whether they’re local residents or visitors seeking to explore all that Colorado has to offer.