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Backpacker Magazine – May 2010

Colorado Trail: Top Peaks

The top peaks for every type of hiker.

by: Kristy Holland, maps by Andrew Matranga

The Colorado Trail. (Andrew Matranga)
The Colorado Trail. (Andrew Matranga)
Vestal and Arrow peaks. (Todd Caudle)
Vestal and Arrow peaks. (Todd Caudle)
San Luis Peak. (Todd Caudle)
San Luis Peak. (Todd Caudle)

Easiest to access (Diamond)
1) San Luis Peak (14,002 feet)
The easternmost Fourteener in the San Juans is one of the least climbed in the state. It’s too far from roads and towns for daytrippers, but CT hikers pass just under its mellow, grassy summit. Veer north on the saddle above Cochetopa Creek to trek 2.5 miles (round-trip) to the top.

2) Peak 6 (12,582 feet)
The four-mile, 2,400-foot climb from Frisco is no gimme, but consider the trifecta awaiting. First, a widescreen view of Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, Dillon, and Quandary Peak. Then return to the saddle to run the 1.3-mile ridge headed north to Peaks 4 and 5 (the highest point on this string at 12,848 feet). 

3) Hermosa Peak (12,520 feet)
House-size boulders may litter Hermosa’s west ridge, but even with this tedious stretch, the climb only takes 1.5 hours from Bolam Pass trailhead. Navigate the boulders, then round the peak’s north side to a saddle at 2.5 miles. From here, it’s a quick quarter-mile to the top, where the sheer face drops to views of the San Juan and Rico Mountains. 

4. Turkshead Peak (7,730 feet)
5. Mt. Yale
(14,199 feet)
6. North Sheep Mountain
(12,418 feet)
7. Windy Peak
(11,886 feet)
8. Baldy Cinco
(13,373 feet)
9. Canby Mountain (13,458 feet)
10. Long Branch Baldy (11,972 feet)

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