San Luis Peak
South Ridge
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Difficulty:
 Class 1 
Risk Factors:Exposure: Low
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Moderate  
Commitment: Low  
 
Trailhead:West Willow Creek
Start:11,500 feet
Summit:14,014 feet
Total Gain:3,400 feet
RT Length:11.25 miles
USGS Quad.:San Luis Peak
County Sheriff:Mineral: 719-658-2600
 Saguache: 719-655-2544
National Forest:Gunnison
Wilderness Area:La Garita
Author:BillMiddlebrook
Last Updated:3/2019

Trailhead

The West Willow Creek Trailhead is nearly 9 miles north of Creede. After taking CO 149 into Creede, turn right onto Main Street and drive north through town to join Loma Ave/Road 503. The 503 road is a well maintained 2wd dirt road, albeit steep and rough in a few sections, and only turns to 4wd when you get within 1.5 miles of the trailhead. Reset your odometer as you pass the last buildings on your right or when the road turns to dirt:


  • Just outside of town you'll pass a mining museum/community building and a large parking area for ATV/OHV trailers.
  • Continue north through a gorge, full of mining remnants.
  • At 2.9 miles the road has a sharp left turn at the Midwest Mine site.
  • At 4.8 miles continue straight on 503 at a large intersection with Bachelor Road (504). Just past the intersection there should be a sign for Equity Mine.
  • At 7.1 miles turn left on 503, as you see the working Equity Mine up to your right. The 2wd road ends at the Equity Mine. This last 1.5 miles on 503 requires 4wd and good clearance.
  • At 8.2 miles the road switchbacks down and crosses a creek. If you somehow made it this far without 4wd, park at the turn before dropping to the creek - there's a pull-off big enough for a few vehicles.
  • At 8.7 miles reach the unmarked trailhead at a sharp left turn. The road continues west but your trail starts at the turn. There's parking for several vehicles and a few tent spots.

Route

From the 4WD parking area, walk a few feet to a sharp corner on the road and start north up the marked trail - #1. Turn northeast, cross a couple of small streams and follow the trail up a hill, heading toward a rocky point - #2. A short distance up the hill, you'll reach a junction - leave the main trail and stay right on an old road - #3. Follow the road/trail northeast out of the trees and toward the rocky point - #4. At 12,350', reach a ridge crest on the right side of the point - #5. The old road ends here. Walk a short distance to your left and locate a faint trail that drops off north off the ridge (#6) and follow it down 100' to intersect the Continental Divide Trail (CDT), also the Colorado Trail.

Turn right to see the remaining route - #7. In short, you'll cross Spring Creek basin, hike over a ridge south of Point 12,562' and cross another basin to reach San Luis' south ridge. Now, continue east on the CDT, drop 250' and enter a dead spruce forest - #8. After exiting the forest, continue southeast across upper Spring Creek basin - #9. Near 12,100' and 1/2 way to the summit, you'll pass a sign for Bondholder Meadows. Turn left and continue toward a saddle on the south ridge of Point 12,562' - #10.

Cross over the saddle and continue east into another basin and toward Unnamed 13,155' - #11. On the east side of the basin, ascends to the saddle between San Luis and Unnamed 13,155' - #12. From the broad, 12,600-foot saddle, leave the CDT and walk left (north) on San Luis' south ridge trail - #13. Hike northeast and east as the trail swings to the east side of the ridge before regaining it, near 13,100' - #14. Follow the well-cairned trail up the ridge and to the summit - #15, #16 and #17.

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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