Rito Alto Peak
South Ridge
 Class 2 
Trailhead:Hermit Pass Road
Start:11,000 feet
Summit:13,794 feet
Total Gain:2,900 feet
RT Length:9.0 miles
Weather:NOAA Forecast
Conditions:12 reports
Cell Signal:2 reports
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From the intersection of Colorado Highways 96 and 69 in Westcliffe, drive south on CO 69 for 0.3 mile and turn right (west) onto Hermit Road (County Road 160). Drive 6.0 miles to a fork in the road. Stay left on Hermit Road which quickly becomes rough 2WD. Approx. 1.25 miles after the fork, the road turns to 4WD. Reach the Rainbow Trail 2 miles up from the fork and the Hermit Pass Trail (goes to Hermit Lake, on left) at approx. 6 miles. The road is very rough now and continues an additional 3 miles to reach Hermit Pass (a total of approx. 9 miles from the low, 2WD fork in the road). Below 11,400', there are lots of pull-offs and dispersed camp spots along the road.


The Hermit Road requires 4WD above 9,100' and requires some slow driving with good-clearance. There are several large pull-offs and camp spots along the road, including an excellent spot on the left, near 10,960'.

From your parking spot, hike up the Hermit Road. Pass the trail to Hermit Lake (left) near 11,400' and exit the trees near 11,900'. Zig zag north up a broad slope to reach an overlook with beautiful views of Horseshoe Lake and Eureka Mountain - 1. Continue on the road ( 2) for another mile to reach Hermit Pass, near 13,000' - 3.

Rito Alto's south ridge is up to your right (northwest) - 4 and 5. From the pass, leave the road and begin hiking up the south ridge - 6. You won't find much of a trail on the remaining route there isn't much route-finding - stay on or near the ridge crest - 7, 8, 9 and 10. Above 13,600' you'll reach the summit ridge ( 11 and 12) where you can see the true summit, approx. 0.1 mile to the north. Taken from the summit, 13 looks back along the south ridge.


#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13

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