“One of the most remote and easiest Colorado 14ers.”
— Tyler Prince
Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
San Luis Peak is over 30 miles by dirt road off CO Hwy 50 near Gunnison. While an easy hike, simply getting to the trailhead is a bit of a challenge. This is an excellent choice for those who want an easier 14er to hike but don't want to deal with the crowds typical of the Front Range. Even on a summer weekend, you're unlikely to see more than ten other people!
Need to Know
While an easy 14er, San Luis Peak is still an alpine environment, and a long way from civilization! Bring good footwear and clothing, along with plenty of water, and expect 8 hrs round trip for the average hiker. Oh, and your cell phone won't do you any good out here.
From Gunnison, drive east on US Hwy 50 for a short period of time. Head south on CO 114...and brace yourself for 47 miles of mostly dirt road driving. Drive 20 miles and turn right on the NN-14 road. Drive 6.8 miles and turn right onto the 15-GG road. This road wraps around a lake; stay left. From the start of 15-GG, drive 15.7 miles until you reach a junction. Continue straight on Forest Service Rd 794, following signs for the Stewart Creek
Trailhead. Drive 4.3 miles to a signed trailhead. The small parking lot was closed in 2014; now you must park along the road. Don't worry - you're in the middle of nowhere and there should be plenty of room. As an alternative, the Eddiesville Trailhead is a quarter mile down the road and has a brand new latrine, if that's your thing. Just make sure you start up the right trail!
Head west on a clear trail along Stewart Creek
. The grade remains low and there are very few rocks or roots for about 4 miles. After 4 miles, the trees begin to thin as you enter a clearing at 12,000 ft. There are multiple drainages in this area, some of which you may have to traverse depending on the condition of the trail. At 12,300 ft turn left (SW) and head through some willows, coming to a wider creek.
From here, the grade begins to increase. Cross the creek and continue up a steeper slope, still on good trail, until you reach a small saddle. From here, bear west, leaving the Stewart Creek
Trail and heading up the San Luis Peak Trail
at around 12,800 ft. At 13,000 ft the trail becomes a talus field, still wide and with consistent fist-sized rocks. Continue on the left side of a rocky ridge, cresting around 13,700 ft. From here, follow a clear trail up some switchbacks to an obvious summit with a USGS marker. Depending on the time of year, you may be the only person within a 30 mile radius.
Flora & Fauna
From wildflowers, aspens, and conifers down low, to willows, pikas, and marmots up high, there's plenty to see here.
History & Background
Unsurprisingly, this remote summit has little history and is but a blip on the radar for all but ardent 14er summit collectors. With the Colorado Trail just a little over a mile south of the summit, the peak is likely passed by dozens of through-hikers and mountain bikers who give it little thought.