Peak(s):  San Luis Peak  -  14,014 feet
Date Posted:  08/12/2009
Date Climbed:   08/08/2009
Author:  Barrett Cooper

 San Luis Crowds  

I have often wondered about hikes where the drive to get there is longer than the hike. As a general rule most of my trips do not go that way, but having done most of the closer peaks to home (Colorado Springs) i was left with a hard choice. I have been up several 14ers this year but had not been to a new one yet. So I could either repeat again on one of the closer ones or try a new 14er in an mad dash. My time limitations were I had to work on Friday, and be back on Saturday for dinner with the kids. And having climbed Bierstadt with half of Colorado I was ready for something more remote. San Luis it is.

Climbing with Pat again on this one as he is good with any schedule I throw his way, we set out after work on Friday. Just under 5 hours later we pulled into the Stewart Creek Trailhead. The road in was excellent and even the dirt road was 50mph most of the way in my Ford Fusion. Throwing up the tent we had time enough to scarf down a subway and hit the sack.

Up at 6am we noticed the parking lot was super crowded. Going to be a busy day on San Luis. Counting everyone on the way up and the way back we got to 16 people on San Luis that day.... total. I don't know if I can take those crowds after climbing along the front range so much recently.

Beta on the trip:
4:50 was the drive time to the trailhead from Colorado Springs.
On the trailhead description we had one addendum. Our GPS and the Gazetteer put you on 14-dd to get into 794. No matter what happens or what you think you know, stay on the road in the best shape as you get back towards the trailhead, and it will be the correct one. I swear before the 794 signage we were on 14-dd despite the roadsigns.
Hiking time was 6:45 with some nice stops along the way.
GPS put us at almost exactly 12 miles round trip (12.13miles)
The first 3 miles up Stewart Creek are fast and fairly flat in comparison to most 14er hikes.
Yes, I made it back for dinner on Saturday.

Pictures from the trip
Looking up Stewart Creek from the trailhead

The end of the valley and the creek, the most work on the hike for me was getting up to the pass on the left side of the picture.

Looking down the valley from the pass

First Peak at San Luis on the far left

Pat and I on top got there right as 3 others were leaving. Sat up there alone for 20 minutes or so.

Two hikers coming up form the Colorado trail (I circled them because my camera is old)

Flower on the trail. Get there fast, all the flowers above 13k were dead or almost gone.

Back to the crowded lot

The man sticking it to us back in 1874... toll road my rear end.

Final question for anyone who got this far. Neither of us saw or heard a pika or marmot anywhere the entire day. And we noticed it on the top so we were looking and listening on the way down. First time on a 14er that has happened to me and it seamed weird. Was it bad luck or are they not as common in the area?

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

 Comments or Questions

08/13/2009 05:44
I am really going to have to consider doing this peak next year. It looks so scenic and seems like crowds are fairly small. Enjoyed the report. Plus it seems like you can go at a better pace than most other hikes.

spontaneous weekends

08/13/2009 18:44
I saw a lot of marmots on Handies Peak nearby 6 years ago. I hiked the Stewart Creek trail (without summiting, turned back above the pass) two months ago and don‘t recall any marmots. Saw a couple of beavers which is no surprise. I hadn‘t seen many at all in the Sawatch for years until this year on Missouri where there was so many it made me think about population control!

   Using your forum id/password. Not registered? Click Here

Caution: The information contained in this report may not be accurate and should not be the only resource used in preparation for your climb. Failure to have the necessary experience, physical conditioning, supplies or equipment can result in injury or death. and the author(s) of this report provide no warranties, either express or implied, that the information provided is accurate or reliable. By using the information provided, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless and the report author(s) with respect to any claims and demands against them, including any attorney fees and expenses. Please read the Safety and Disclaimer pages for more information.

© 2017®, 14ers Inc.