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Colorado 14ers: San Luis Peak

Quiet meadows, lonesome tundra slopes, and elk highlight this crowd-free summit tucked in La Garita Wilderness.

Rating

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

To Trailhead

From Gunnison, take US 50 E to CO 114 S. Turn R onto CO 114. In 20 mi., bear R onto NN-14. Go 6.7 mi. to Dome Lakes and turn R @ T onto 15-GG (becomes FR 794). In .5 mi., turn L @ Y to stay on 15-GG. Go 15 mi. to signed intersection and continue straight on FR 794 (follow the sign for Stewart Creek Trailhead). Go 4.2 mi. and turn sharp R into small trailhead parking area.

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