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A 14er double with stunning San Juan views.

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Out and Back

13,974' 4,259 m


10,438' 3,182 m


4,297' 1,310 m


4,296' 1,309 m



Avg Grade (8°)


Max Grade (23°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

The access road is closed far below the trailhead throughout winter.

The land manager requests dogs be leashed. You are likely to see dogs, and unlikely to see leashes.


Just a 30 min drive from Lake City, this fairly remote hike provides great views and a welcome escape from more eastern 14ers. Lake City itself, overrun throughout the summer by Jeep-driving Texan tourists, is a great place to spend a weekend.

Need to Know

This is a long hike, mostly in the sun. Bring plenty of sun protection and be ready to spend a lot of time above 14,000 ft. Fast hikers can expect a 5 hr trip, while slower ones should be ready to spend 12 hrs on the trail.


From Lake City, drive 2 miles south on CO 149. Turn right onto the alpine loop scenic byway, AKA county road 30. Pass by a lake before the road turns to dirt. Most 2WD cars will be fine although some clearance may be necessary up high. Continue on excellent dirt road. In about 8 miles, the road will pass above a ghost town, at which point it will become a shelf road with 1,000 ft drop off the left side. Drive carefully! In a few miles, the road will become less exposed. After about 18 miles of dirt total, you'll come to the Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch Trailhead, where there is ample parking, a bathroom, and fire pit. Park here to access Redcloud Peak and Sunshine Peak. To access Handies Peak, drive about 2 more miles up the road to American Basin or take the alternate route from this trailhead.

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 13,800 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.

Flora & Fauna

Passing through a lush forest at the bottom, you're likely to stumble across deer blocking the trail. Once in the basin, the wildflowers are stunning. There are plenty of marmots and pika here, too.


Shared By:

Tyler Prince with improvements by John Flanigan

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 9 votes


  3.9 from 9 votes
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in Colorado


13 Views Last Month
4,663 Since Mar 18, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult



Switchbacks to the summit of Red Cloud.
May 4, 2024 near Lake City, CO
Just leaving Red Cloud on the trail towards Sunshine.
May 4, 2024 near Lake City, CO
Looking north from the saddle between Red Cloud and Sunshine.
Feb 13, 2024 near Lake City, CO
Approaching the Sunshine summit.
Feb 13, 2024 near Lake City, CO
Unique Redcloud dirt near the summit of Redcloud Peak
Mar 19, 2015 near Lake City, CO
Redcloud Peak seen from the saddle. The summit is on the left, with the false summit to the right.
Mar 19, 2015 near Lake City, CO


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


May 27, 2022
Timothy Hine
Didn't make it to the peak. Trail was too damaged and I ran out of energy trying to find ways around.
Sep 26, 2020
Rick Procopio
12.8mi — 7h 26m
Aug 27, 2020
Atsuko Ohtake
9h 20m
Jun 29, 2020
Floyd Hartley
11.4mi — 7h 23m
Aug 31, 2019
Emily Leland KH
Oct 14, 2017
Nick LaToof
Jul 4, 2017
Cullen Moore
Jul 11, 2015
Ethan Gehl

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