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
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!)
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.
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