Colorado 14ers: La Plata Peak

Trek up sparsely-covered slopes and a broad talus ridge in the Sawatch Range to an overlook with endless alpine vistas.
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Trek up sparsely-covered slopes and a broad talus ridge in the Sawatch Range to an overlook with endless alpine vistas.

-Mapped by Timm Paxson

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 5.8

Waypoints

Views near the trailhead

Location: 38.9937133789062, -106.471366882324

©Timm Paxson

Views from the trail

Location: 39.0028457641602, -106.480224609375

The trail climbs into this valley, which is southwest of La Plata.
©Timm Paxson

Rocky ridges

Location: 39.0084991455078, -106.481246948242

The trail eventually climbs to the lowest part of the ridge in the middle of the photo.
©Timm Paxson

Saddle views

Location: 39.0136795043945, -106.487716674805

From the saddle looking south. In the distance you can see Huron Peak and the Three Apostles.
©Timm Paxson

Final summit push

Location: 39.0249214172363, -106.47974395752

©Timm Paxson

Southwest views of La Plata's broad ridge

Location: 39.0173606872559, -106.484451293945

©Timm Paxson

Ellingwood Ridge

Location: 39.0294876098633, -106.472999572754

Views to the east of the Ellingwood Ridge as it joins the summit of La Plata.
©Timm Paxson

La Plata's summit views

Location: 39.0294189453125, -106.472999572754

Crystal Lake can be seen to the southeast.
©Timm Paxson

Tundra views

Location: 39.0097274780273, -106.481994628906

Jagged ridges can be seen from the tundra meadow below La Plata's southwest face.
©Timm Paxson

Northern summit views

Location: 39.0294876098633, -106.472999572754

Mounts Elbert and Massive rise to the north. Ellingwood Ridge is visible in the foreground running from center to right.
©Timm Paxson

Valley views

Location: 39.0142250061035, -106.487991333008

Looking south down into the small valley from the top of the saddle.
©Timm Paxson

PLA001

Location: 38.9939193725586, -106.471435546875

From 4WD parking area, head N toward the trailhead

PLA002

Location: 38.9945220947266, -106.471290588379

From the trailhead, follow trail as it curves to the NW across evergreen-covered slopes; in 200 ft., cross a stream

PLA003

Location: 38.9971542358398, -106.475410461426

Continue NW ascent from the North Fork of the Clear Creek into a smaller valley nestled under steep, rocky slopes; a stream trickles down on L

PLA004

Location: 39.0029067993164, -106.480186462402

Climb N into the upper valley; dirt trail leads you through open, grassy slopes spotted with boulders

PLA005

Location: 39.0102577209473, -106.482627868652

Stream crossing; continue NW

PLA006

Location: 39.0117530822754, -106.483856201172

Steady legs for steep climb to the NW over rocky slopes

PLA007

Location: 39.0142517089844, -106.487922668457

Turn R on La Plata's broad SW ridge; begin climb through alpine tundra

PLA008

Location: 39.017765045166, -106.483833312988

Pass 13,000 ft. and continue NE

PLA009

Location: 39.0215873718262, -106.481590270996

Head N

PLA010

Location: 39.0266075134277, -106.478820800781

Pass 14,000 ft.; cairns mark the route for final summit push over loose rock to the summit

PLA011

Location: 39.0293655395508, -106.473693847656

Head E from false summit

PLA012

Location: 39.029468536377, -106.472953796387

La Plata Peak (14,336 ft.): Take in views of the Sawatch Range from Colorado's 5th highest peak; Missouri Mtn., Mt. Belford and Mt. Oxford rise to the SE; Twin Lakes Reservoir lies to the NE; retrace route