San Luis Peak Route Guide | Conquer Colorado’s Easiest 14er
San Luis Peak is a bit of a paradox. While it’s one of the only Class 1 hikes in the San Juans, its also one of the longest and most difficult to reach. Theres a long, rough approach road followed by a 13.5 mile route. Don’t be fooled by the Class rating – take your time for this ascent, preferably my doing it over two days and camping near treeline. Here’s what you need to know in my San Luis Peak Route Guide.
San Luis Peak Route Guide Fast Facts
San Luis Peak Route Guide - Northeast Ridge
My San Luis Peak Route Guide begins at the Stewart Creek trailhead. Start out from the trailhead up a solid trail that goes along and up Stewart Creek. From the start and for a good time you won’t be able to see the summit.
After several miles, make it to the far end of the basin. The headwall to the summit ridge lies far ahead of you. Continue above tree line as you continue towards it and to the right.
Continue over a hump before you turn left and begin climbing switchbacks up the ridge.
The switchbacks up to the ridge-line are steep and rocky. Take your time, but be assured it remains a hike and scrambling is never required. The saddle is a good place to stop and check the weather before you decide whether to continue along the ridge.
Begin first along the left side of the ridge, avoiding the more difficult terrain above you. You’re aiming for a notch in the ridge below the summit where you switch from one side to the other.
Once through the notch, continue along the right side of the ridge as you finish the final crux climb to the summit. Enjoy your accomplishment at the top – San Luis Peak is NO easy hike! I hope you enjoyed my San Luis Peak Route Guide.
My San Luis Peak Route Guide includes this handy map of the route to bring with you. I recommend downloading it on your phone and printing out a backup copy in case anything happens to your electronics along the way.
Don’t head to the trailhead without checking the forecast. Here’s a dependable source to get started with.
Hiking & climbing 14ers is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.
- Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
- Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
- Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
- Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
- Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
- Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.
About the Author: Alex Derr
Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.