Redcloud and Sunshine
ElevationAscent: 4,297' 1,310 m
Descent: -4,296' -1,309 m
High: 13,974' 4,259 m
Low: 10,438' 3,182 m
GradeAvg Grade: 14% (8°)
Max Grade: 43% (23°)
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“A 14er double with stunning San Juan views.”— Tyler Prince
On the right of the road is a clear trail toward Redcloud Peak. Hike up an excellent, gradual trail from about 10,500 ft. Walk through the trees before coming to a basin drainage around 11,100 ft. Drop down and walk just left of a large creek, mostly staying on a clear trail but occasionally crossing some talus. At 12,000 ft, walk up a couple steep switchbacks before coming into a wide basin. Once in the basin, continue up prime singletrack until about 12,400, where the trail starts to switchback up steeper slopes to the saddle at 13,000 ft.
Head to the right of the saddle. The trail gets steeper, but switchbacks along rocky trail keep it from getting unpleasant. Reach a false summit at 13,000 ft. The actual summit is up to the left and a mere 5-10 mins away. The geology here changes from gray to red rock, giving Redcloud its name. Hike up the red dirt to the summit.
From here, drop down the opposite side of Redcloud. Follow an obvious low class 2 trail, right along the ridge, toward the 13,500 ft saddle with Sunshine Peak. From here, the trail stays just to the right of the ridge. Continue back up toward Sunshine, cresting a flat area at 13,700 ft before the grade starts back up. There aren't any false summits on this one - just gun it back to 14K!
Once on top, turn around and do it all backwards. While some hikers will see that they just made a giant "U" track and be tempted to descend right into the drainage, this is a poor decision. The west side of Sunshine is steep and composed of loose scree. It will be safer, faster, and more fun just to retrace your tracks.
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Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, History & Background
Land Manager: BLM Colorado - Gunnison Gorge NRA