San Luis Peak is about 10 miles by dirt road north off of CO Hwy 149 near Creede. While an easy outing once you're on trail, simply getting to the trailhead is a bit of a challenge. This is an excellent choice for those who want an easier 14er to summit, 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!
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 outing. Oh, and your cell phone won't do you any good out here, so make sure that someone knows where you're going and when you'll be back.
Start your journey by heading up the dirt road from the mine parking lot or if you have 4WD and good clearance, you can drive to a campsite at the end of the dirt road to skip about 1.75 mi of 4WD road travel.
From the upper parking area, head up the first (steep) section to meet the Colorado Trail (CT)
on the Continental Divide. This section is short but steep, so grit your teeth and get through it. It's well worth it.
Finding the connection to the Colorado Trail (CT)
can be challenging as the connector trail is lightly used. The Colorado Trail (CT)
is obvious though. Once you hit it, turn right (east). You should be able to see San Luis Peak in the distance across a wide open bowl.
Follow the Colorado Trail (CT)
down and around the big bowl until you reach a saddle at the base of the climb to the summit. Here you get off of the Colorado Trail (CT)
and onto the Southern Ridge Trail
, which is rocky but very manageable and short.
Reach the summit, snap a few photos, and take some time at the summit to admire the views that you earned! Once you've had your fill at the top, turn around and head back!
For a little extra mileage, you can descend the north side on the San Luis Peak Trail
, which will connect back to the Colorado Trail (CT)
farther to the east. Make sure to make a right turn at the Colorado Trail (CT)
to get going back in the direction that you came.
You'll see many alpine natives such as pika and marmot, and you may even have the chance to spot some alpine wildflowers if you're in the area at the right time of year.