(WINTER) HOLD ON! If you don't have much high-elevation, winter climbing experience, be careful in your planning and take a partner. Even the "easy" 14ers (Quandary, Sherman, Grays & Torreys) can be deadly in winter.
The directions shown here assume you are coming from the north. If you are coming from the San Luis Valley area, drive north on Colorado 114 to Dome Lakes, turn left onto the 15GG road and follow the directions from Dome Lake, below:
- Take U.S. 50 to the junction of Colorado 114 just east of Gunnison. It is approximately 47 miles to the trailhead from this intersection.
- Turn south onto Colorado 114.
- Drive about 20 miles and turn right onto the NN14 road.
- Drive 6.8 miles to Dome Lakes and turn right onto the 15GG dirt road (also known as FR 794 when you reach National Forest).
- Drive around the lake where stay left at a small junction.
- On 15GG, drive just over 4 miles to reach a junction and bear right onto the 14DD road.
- Continue 12 miles on 14DD to reach a signed junction.
- Follow the sign for the Stewart Creek trailhead by continuing straight on FR 794.
- Drive 4.3 miles to the trailhead.
- Additional parking is available 1/4 mile down the road at the Eddiesville trailhead, which now has an outhouse.
Photo #1 and Photo #2 show the view of Stewart Creek from the trailhead. Follow the excellent trail as it parallels Stewart Creek and enters the forest. After 2 miles on the trail, pass an old log building. After 3 miles, cross to the south side of Stewart Creek and later back to the north side. After 4 miles and near 12,000', leave the trees and reach a large clearing - Photo #3. Continue southwest and west on the trail as it approaches the upper basin - Photo #4, Photo #5 and Photo #6.
Near 12,300', turn southwest and cut through a large patch of willows to reach the creek. Cross it and continue southeast through more willows and begin climbing the broad slope below the Organ Mountain-San Luis saddle - Photo #6. From creek to the saddle, it's approximately 0.75 mile and 800' of elevation gain on mellow terrain - Photo #7, Photo #8 and Photo #9. Swing left near 12,800', ascend a couple of switchbacks and continue southwest to the 13,100-foot saddle - Photo #10 and Photo #11.
Hike west across the saddle and continue onto the left (south) side of a large point on San Luis' northeast ridge - Photo #11 and Photo #12. Traverse west toward the crest of the ridge - Photo #13, Photo #14 and Photo #15. Near 13,750', gain the northeast ridge and cross to the west side - Photo #16 and Photo #17. Follow the trail as it climbs through broken rock, regains the ridge (Photo #18) and climbs to the summit - Photo #19, Photo #20 and Photo #21.
IMPORTANT: This route enters the La Garita Wilderness area. Wilderness areas have special regulations and restrictions for party size, dispersed camping, campfires, etc. Also, dog owners should read the wilderness information carefully because some wilderness areas prohibit dogs to be off-leash and/or limit how close dogs can be to lakes and streams. If you have questions about the Wilderness area, please contact a U.S. Forest Service office for the National Forest(s) listed above.