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My Public Lands Roadtrip: Penitente Canyon in BLM Colorado | by mypubliclands
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My Public Lands Roadtrip: Penitente Canyon in BLM Colorado

The cliffs and boulders of Penitente Canyon in the San Luis Valley are composed of Fish Canyon Tuff, a unique volcanic rock formed when the La Garita supervolcano erupted about 27.8 million years ago. The eruption - the world’s largest known volcanic event - spewed out 1,000 cubic miles of pumice and ash. If the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption had filled a teacup, then the La Garita volcanic event would have filled a 35-gallon trash can!


Avid rock climbers can test their endurance on the area’s unusual rock walls and hoodoos formed from La Garita’s eruption, which offer nearly 300 world-class technical climbing routes. The recreation area also houses an extensive trail system for hiking, mountain biking and horseback riding - with spots for dispersed and developed camping.


Photo by Renee Garfias, Visual Information Specialist, BLM Colorado

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Taken on April 23, 2008