Peak(s):  San Luis Peak  -  14,014 feet
Post Date:  10/10/2012
Date Climbed:   10/06/2012
Posted By:  DaveSwink

 A pleasant fall walk to San Luis Peak  

Although my thoughts have been turning to winter, the beautiful fall weather offered a chance to explore another 14er without resorting to snowshoes/skis yet, so I recruited mattb528 to hike/run San Luis Peak in the San Juans.


We spent the night at Gunnison and set out for the trailhead on Saturday morning. The drive from Gunnison was surprisingly long but mostly on good dirt roads that can be navigated by any 2WD with careful driving. Our hike began up the scenic Stewart Creek drainage.

San Luis trailhead

The trail gently inclined beside Stewart Creek, which was dammed by a series of scenic beaver dams.

Stewart Creek beaver dam

Beaver dam

Eventually, the trail crossed Stewart Creek, with some early season ice showing in shaded areas.

Icy Stewart Creek


After a few miles of easy hiking, we saw the slope to mount the ridge to the summit. The switchback trail which ascends the left slope in the picture, was the only steep hiking in the day. There was a bit of snow on the trail but it was easily navigated without extra traction.

Slope to the summit ridge

Dave headed up the trail

The summit (on the left) and the rest of the route was displayed after we topped the slope. We met another 14er climber, AlabamaTLC on his way down. We would be chatting with him later back at the trailhead. (nice to meet you!)

Summit ridge

The remainder of the hike went quickly, with a pause to cover up from the increasing winds. The summit was sheltered from the wind and provided us with great views including Uncompahgre & Wetterhorn in the distance. The survey marker on San Luis is on a loose block that resembles a concrete cinder block. That was a new sight for me.

Summit block

Uncompahgre & Wetterhorn

We enjoyed an easy trail run on the gentle descent.

Matt showing some crazy trail running speed

After another tour of the many beaver dams, we chatted up AlabamaTLC and then retired to Gunnison for dinner. What a great hike to wrap up the fall!

More beaver dams

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

01/24/2013 17:58
The weather was awesome. A bit of wind on the ridge, but otherwise we just could not have asked for more. Thanks for the comment!


Just in time!
10/11/2012 00:26
Awesome, I will be down in the area this weekend was thinking about SL but was about to change its bak on the agenda!


Have a good time
01/24/2013 17:58
Glad the TR was helpful. San Luis was very enjoyable for us, I hope your hike is fun too.


Nice job!
10/11/2012 12:32
Great TR and photos!


Thank you
01/24/2013 17:58
Appreciate you looking!

Ridge runner

Beaver dams
10/11/2012 14:50
Some of the beaver dams out there are quite the engineering feat. I remember seeing some along Cochetopa Creek that were terraced and being so fascinated by them. Great report and pictures!


10/11/2012 15:28
This exact run was on my bucket list all summer!!

Glad you were able to get it unlike me! Good training for Pikes eh?


Trail running
01/24/2013 17:58
Thanks Caroline, and ridge runner!

Firey Bear, the trail up San Luis was a fun, mild incline for running (better with a lighter pack). You gotta try a run with Matt. He was killin' me, but the scenery allowed me to ignore him and enjoy myself.


Enjoyed chatting with you and Matt...
10/12/2012 02:42
Dave, nice job on the trip report and great pictures. If it had not been for that wind, the day would have been perfect!! Regardless, the 5 of us that were out there that day enjoyed every last second. Thanks for the mention within the report. It was very kind of you. I still cannot believe how FAST you and Matt got up to the summit, from the top of the slope/first saddle, and down to the trailhead, arriving only 10 minutes behind me. I should have taken a picture of you and Matt at the trailhead, upon your return...what a sight. Again, nice job and I hope to run across you and Matt again.


Great trip report!
10/12/2012 03:36
Awesome day, awesome mountain!

Grant 22000

One of the Five
10/12/2012 20:01
I was the guy in orange coat with gold and black dogs (Grace and Molly). Met you just above timberline; I was with MichaelJ. Thanks for sharing the good pics.


01/24/2013 17:58
Grant, it was a pleasure running into you and meeting your well-behaved, sweet dogs. What a great day in the mountains we shared!

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