|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Plain-Jane San Luis Peak wouldn’t make anyone’s Colorado Top 100 if it didn’t (barely) poke over 14,000 feet. The only Fourteener in the 129,626-acre La Garita Wilderness, San Luis is off the radar of all but ardent collectors and thru-hikers on the Colorado Trail, which passes roughly 1 mile south of the summit. The marathon of dirt-road navigation required to reach the Stewart Creek trailhead further winnows the crowds. All of which means San Luis’s lonesome, sprawling slopes are tailor-made for reverie.
Experienced hikers should heed Thoreau (“I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude”) and climb this one alone. The 6-mile trail eases past meadows and aspen groves and over gentle tundra slopes, where hikers frequently encounter bands of elk or bighorn sheep munching on short grass; it’s a carefree ramble where—for once—you don’t have to watch every step like it might be your last. Alone with the piercing high-alpine sky, you’ll think big thoughts and dream sweet dreams, and marvel that such an unassuming mountain could deliver so much satisfaction.
-Text by Dougald MacDonald