San Luis Peak Trailhead: West Willow Creek Trailhead

Activities: hiking, backpacking

Closest City / Town: Creede, Colorado

Driving Directions:

  • Take Forest Road 503 north out of Creede for approximately 9 miles.
  • Forest Road 503 ends at the West Willow Creek Trailhead (aka Equity Mine Trailhead).

Hiking Distance: 14.6 miles (roundtrip)

Description: Hiking in the San Juan Mountains will always take your breath away.  San Luis Peak (14,014′) is an easy hike (notwithstanding the distance), with views to boot.  The route described here follows the Colorado Trail the majority of the way to the summit.

Because of its extreme isolation from any major city or town, very few people venture into this neck of the woods.  San Luis Peak is most likely the least climbed fourteener in Colorado.  The climb is extremely gradual and well worth the time and effort that it takes to get to the summit.

From the Equity Mine Trailhead, follow the 4×4 road up to a second parking area.  Continue north on the trail until you hit a three way junction.  From the junction, head east (right) on the Colorado Trail.  The trail junction is located in a saddle.  This is the first of three saddles that you will encounter along your climb.  Eventually, you will wind up the South Ridge of San Luis Peak to the summit.

There are numerous camping opportunities along the trail – all are near or above timberline.  Be sure to check the weather report before heading out onto this trail because much of it is exposed and above timberline.

Worth Noting: Creede is a quirky little town.  It has a nice outdoor/backpacking store, and generally the town is worth checking out.

Suggested Materials: 
  • Gerry Roach, Colorado’s Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs (recommended guide by The Colorado Hiker)
  • Gerry Roach, Colorado’s Fourteeners: Companion Map Package (recommended guide by The Colorado Hiker)
  • Walter R. Borneman & Lyndon J. Lampert, A Climbing Guide to Colorado’s Fourteeners


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Sonny July 16, 2016 5:04 pm

Great trail. Nobody else was really out there, but I was turned around by bad weather before I could reach the summit.