San Luis Peak
standard Northeast Ridge
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Difficulty:
 Class 1 
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D4 / R2 / III  
Risk Factors:Exposure: Low
Rockfall Potential: Low  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Low  
 
Trailhead:Stewart Creek
Start:10,500 feet
Summit:14,014 feet
Total Gain:3,600 feet
RT Length:13.50 miles
USGS Quad.:San Luis Peak
County Sheriff:Saguache: 719-655-2544
National Forest:Gunnison
Wilderness Area:La Garita
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Last Updated:8/2020

Trailhead

NOTE: Before reaching the trailhead, the dirt road crosses Pauline and Nutras Creeks. There are smooth, cement slabs to make the crossings easier but you will still need a good-clearance vehicle.

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 Colorado 114 which is 3.5 miles west of Parlin and just east Gunnison. It is approximately 47 miles to the trailhead from this intersection.
  • Turn south onto Colorado 114.
  • Drive 20 miles and turn right onto the NN14 road.
  • Now on dirt, 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 4 miles to reach a junction and bear right onto the 14DD road (FR 794).
  • 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. There is parking for a few cars next to the trailhead and additional parking 1/4 mile down the road at the Eddiesville trailhead, which now has an outhouse.

Route

From the trailhead ( 38.02465° N, -106.84124° W), follow the excellent trail as it parallels Stewart Creek and enters the forest - #1. After 2 miles on the trail, pass the faint remnants of an old log cabin on your left. Pass beaver ponds and many dead spruce trees as you gradually climb higher into upper Stewart creek - #2. Near 3 miles, the trail weaves through willows and may be a bit difficult to follow in spring or if there any trees have recently fallen. Near 4.25 miles and 12,000', the terrain opens up as you approach tree line - #3. Continue southwest toward the upper basin.

Near 12,300', turn south and drop to a creek - #4. Cross it and continue through more willows to the base of the broad slope ( 37.99528° N, -106.91658° W) below the Organ Mountain-San Luis saddle. From creek to the saddle, it's approximately 0.8 mile and 800 feet of elevation gain. Staying on the excellent trail, switchback up the slope (#5, #6 and #7) to reach saddle ( 37.99129° N, -106.91936° W), at 13,100' - #8.

Hike west across the saddle and onto the south side of a large point on San Luis' northeast ridge - #9. Traverse west toward the ridge crest - #10 and #11. Near 13,750', gain the northeast ridge ( 37.98911° N, -106.93085° W) and cross to the west side - #12. Follow the trail back to the ridge crest (#13) and gain the summit ( 37.986897° N, -106.931389° W) - #14, and #15.

Notes

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.

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