Colorado 14ers: Redcloud Peak and Sunshine Peak

Tackle the iron-stained slopes of two secluded summits to photograph pristine views of the rugged San Juan Mountains.
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Tackle the iron-stained slopes of two secluded summits to photograph pristine views of the rugged San Juan Mountains.

-Mapped by Caitlin May

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 9.3

Waypoints

Trail to Sunshine Peak

Location: 37.9390296936035, -107.421142578125

©Caitlin May

Redcloud summit

Location: 37.9227638244629, -107.425537109375

©Caitlin May

Summit views from Redcloud Peak

Location: 37.9409523010254, -107.421760559082

©Caitlin May

Looking north down the slopes of Redcloud Peak

Location: 37.9408836364746, -107.421760559082

©Caitlin May

Views of Uncompahgre Peak

Location: 37.945068359375, -107.41756439209

©Caitlin May

Trail to Redcloud Peak

Location: 37.9481658935547, -107.414741516113

©Caitlin May

Creek crossing

Location: 37.9406929016113, -107.454475402832

©Caitlin May

SUN001

Location: 37.9370002746582, -107.46044921875

From trailhead, begin hiking NE on pine-covered trail. Sign trail register in .1 mi.

SUN002

Location: 37.9409332275391, -107.454414367676

Cross one of several crystalline creeks flowing into Silver Creek

SUN003

Location: 37.9460334777832, -107.443534851074

Morning sun illuminates the San Juans in a golden glow; turn around for awe-inspiring view of Handies Peak

SUN004

Location: 37.9483489990234, -107.440582275391

Continue along iron-stained scree trail skirting the crystalline waters of Silver Creek

SUN005

Location: 37.9509811401367, -107.434967041016

Continue past last scraggly trees lining creek valley

SUN006

Location: 37.951831817627, -107.429481506348

Pass wash on E side of trail inching toward a majestic basin ahead, cradled by Redcloud Peak on R and a knife-edged ridgeline on N edge

SUN007

Location: 37.954532623291, -107.422302246094

Continue through high alpine valley, savoring the flat traverse. If hiking mid-summer, pull out a wildflower guide to put names to the plethora of vibrant flowers in this fertile basin

SUN008

Location: 37.9530982971191, -107.41968536377

Pass small, neon green pond. Continue circumnavigating NW slope of Redcloud

SUN009

Location: 37.9508666992188, -107.416549682617

Veer L @ sign

SUN010

Location: 37.9460487365723, -107.414680480957

After several long switchbacks, arrive gasping @ viewpoint then turn R to ascend ridge edging toward peak

SUN011

Location: 37.9442329406738, -107.418601989746

First full view of cayeanne-sprinkled slopes leading to summit; gaze WNW for stellar views of Wetterhorn, Matterhorn and Uncompahgre Peaks. In .2 mi., slope eases after last switchback

SUN012

Location: 37.9425811767578, -107.422149658203

Arrive at false summit, remaining path clearly visible

SUN013

Location: 37.9409217834473, -107.421760559082

Redcloud Peak (14,034 ft.): Re-fuel and hydrate for round 2, then descend along well-trodden S ridge toward Sunshine Peak

SUN014

Location: 37.9285316467285, -107.423736572266

Reach cusp of saddle; proceed toward Sunshine navigating around small boulders and loose scree. NOTE: Though tempting, do NOT descend via W scree field here

SUN015

Location: 37.9228172302246, -107.42552947998

Sunshine Peak (14,001 ft.): Same great views surround from Colorado's shortest 14er. Retrace steps to trailhead