Hunts Peak
West Slopes
!Climbing mountains is dangerous! Please read the Mountaineering Safety Page and make sure you have a map+compass and can use them effectively. A GPS or cell phone can be very helpful with navigation but you should still be able to use a map+compass in case your device stops working.
 Class 2 
Risk Factors:
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Trailhead:Rock Creek
Start:9,650 feet
Summit:13,071 feet
Total Gain:3,450 feet
RT Length:6.0 miles
Last Updated:1/2015


- From the Salida/Poncha Springs area, drive south on U.S. 285 to the top of Poncha Pass.
- From the pass, continue 4.5 miles and turn left onto an unmarked, dirt road.
- Drive 0.6 mile and stay right (FS Road 980) at a 3-way junction
- Continue 1.0 mile to a junction for FS 980 & FS 982
- Stay left on FS 980
- Drive 0.9 mile to reach a gate. Pass through the gate and close it behind you
- Continue 1.0 mile (still on FS 980) to reach a junction at 9,700', 3.5 miles from highway
- Turn right on FS 982 and drive a short distance to reach an excellent camp spot. Setting up a camp here and hiking the remaining 0.7 mile to the "trailhead" isn't a big deal and will save you having to make the 4WD stream crossing (below)
- Continue 0.7 mile on FS 982 to reach the Rock Creek trailhead (not an official USFS trailhead), just after a stream crossing
- The trail starts behind a gate.


If you parked near North Rock Creek (#1 and #2), turn east and walk 0.7 mile on FS 982 and cross South Rock Creek (#3) to reach the trailhead, at 9,650' - #4. Pass the wooden gate (#5 and #6) and start up an old road and into the Ox Cart burn area - #7. Walk approx. 1.4 miles up the road and make a sharp left, near 10,800' - #8. Still on the road, continue a few hundred yards north (#9) to reach a corner, just below 10,900' - #10.

As the corner, turn right (#11), leave the road and hike east up a ridge on the west side of Hunts - #12 and #13. The entire ridge has been burned, so take your time and look for the most stable terrain. Near 11,800', the trees thin out and you'll reach the boundary of the burn area - #14. Continue southeast along the ridge (#15) and ascend a point (#16) to reach 12,100'.

From the top of the point, you'll have a great view of Hunt's west slopes and the remaining route to the summit - #17. Descend slightly and continue east toward the final pitch. As you ascend, the view back over the burn area and to the west is beautiful - #18. Continue up the easy slope (#19) to reach the seldom-visited summit - #20, #21 and #22.


In 2013, the Ox Cart file burned over 1,000 acres of land on the west side of the Sangres, near 13er Hunts Peak. Much of this route passes through that burn area and ascends terrain which could become unstable because of the burned-out terrain. Please tread lightly and be careful when ascending the ridge to reach Hunts' west slopes.

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Route Photos  Print Options

Photo #1
#1: The road junction at 9,700’.
Photo #2
#2: A great camp spot just near the road junction and North Rock Creek.
Photo #3
#3: Crossing South Rock Creek, just before the trailhead.
Photo #4
#4: Trailhead.
Photo #5
#5: Walk past the barrier to start up the old road.
Photo #6
#6: You’ve been warned.
Photo #7
#7: On the old road. The Ox Cart fire burned over 1,000 acres in 2013.
Photo #8
#8: Sharp left at 10,800’.
Photo #9
#9: Looking back.
Photo #10
#10: Approaching a corner, below 10,900’. At the corner, turn right and start hiking up the ridge.
Photo #11
#11: A prospect hole just off the road.
Photo #12
#12: Burned.
Photo #13
#13: Near 11,300’ and looking back through the burn.
Photo #14
#14: (Dead) tree line.
Photo #15
#15: Near 11,800’. Continue along the ridge.
Photo #16
#16: Ascend to the top of this 12,100-foot point.
Photo #17
#17: From the point, turn left (east) to see the final pitch.
Photo #18
#18: Looking back from approx. 12,400’.
Photo #19
#19: No trail.
Photo #20
#20: Near the summit.
Photo #21
#21: On the summit, looking southeast.
Photo #22
#22: On the summit, looking northwest.

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.
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