Guidebook

The Rugged and Remote 14ers of the San Juan Range

The San Juan Range is one of the wildest mountain ranges in Colorado!

Greg Heil

Description

The San Juan Mountain Range comprises the southwestern portion of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, and it is "the largest mountain range by area in the Centennial State," according to ColoradoEncyclopedia.org. Since this rugged range is so far from the major population centers of Denver, Boulder, and Colorado Springs, it still retains a very wild and remote character. While tourists do visit here, and small towns like Durango are situated on the edge of the range, in general, the San Juans see much less traffic and are much less developed than other areas of Colorado.

The formation and feel of the San Juans is unique, leading many to consider it the most beautiful range in Colorado. The San Juans feature "steep mountainsides and U-shaped canyons, such as the iconic box canyon that surrounds Telluride," according to ColoradoEncyclopedia.org. The mountain summits soar high above the canyons below, with the San Juans boasting an impressive 13-14 summits (depending on how you count them) above 14,000 feet.

The tallest of these summits is Uncompahgre Peak at 14,309 feet above sea level. Mount Wilson and Sunlight Peak rank among the most technical 14ers in the state, and the combination of El Diente and Mount Wilson is known as one of Colorado's Great Traverses. Do these climbs sound a bit too challenging? Then consider Handies Peak—a very approachable climb with stunning views the entire way!

While the Maroon Bells may be the most photographed peaks in the state, many people consider Mount Sneffels to be "Colorado's most beautiful mountain." Willson Peak is also a notably aesthetic summit, and it features "prominently on all the Coors labels and products," according to Kiefer on SummitPost.org.

Whichever path you choose to the roof of Colorado, you won't go wrong!

Sources:
AmericanSouthwest.net
ColoradoEncyclopedia.org
SummitPost.org
Wikipedia.org

Uncompahgre Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Uncompahgre Peak

22.4 km
1,387 m
Climb the highest peak on the Western Slope!
Easy
Private
El Diente and Mount Wilson Combo
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

El Diente and Mount Wilson Combo

Durango
20.3 km
1,432 m
A technical combo of two San Juan 14ers.
Moderate
Private
Mount Sneffels
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Sneffels

7.2 km
826 m
Climb the Queen of the San Juans, "Colorado's most beautiful mountain."
Easy
Private
Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak from Needleton
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak from Needleton

Durango
29.8 km
2,088 m
A two-peak combo deep in the Weminuche Wilderness featuring one of Colorado's most technical 14ers.
Difficult
Private
Mount Eolus and North Eolus from Needleton
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mount Eolus and North Eolus from Needleton

Durango
29.6 km
1,917 m
Climb two of Colorado's most remote 14ers, hidden deep in the Weminuche Wilderness.
Moderate
Private
Handies Peak - Grouse Gulch Route
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Handies Peak - Grouse Gulch Route

5 - 6 hrs
15.2 km
1,391 m
1,391 m
Escape the crowds and climb this popular 14er, known for its beauty, by hiking the Grouse Gulch route to 14,048' Handies Peak.
Severe
Private
Redcloud and Sunshine Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Redcloud and Sunshine Peak

5 - 6 hrs
16.1 km
1,286 m
1,286 m
A relatively mellow climb up two beautiful 14ers deep in the San Juans.
Severe
Private
Wilson Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Wilson Peak

14.7 km
1,151 m
Climb the peak pictured on every can of Coors beer!
Moderate
Private
Wetterhorn Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Wetterhorn Peak

9.7 km
993 m
A stunning pyramid-shaped rock formation towering over 14,000 feet!
Moderate
Private
San Luis Peak
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

San Luis Peak

Salida
5 - 6 hrs
19.4 km
1,119 m
1,119 m
One of the most difficult Colorado 14er summits to reach.
Difficult
Private