Trail Report - Redcloud Peak - Colorado

August 18, 2020

Written by Paul van Valkenburgh

Showing Small Pictures    

Trail Report - Redcloud Peak - Colorado
9.1 Miles Round Trip
3510 feet of elevation gain
Summit Elevation - 14,034'
Date Climbed: August 18, 2020
Climbers: Paul

Final Pitch To The Summit From False Summit

Redcloud Peak! I had always sort of looked at Redcloud (and it's neighbor Sunshine) as a bit of an 'eh', just something I had to do to finish the 14ers. Boy I was wrong!! This was an amazing beautiful hike!!

The first bit of fun doing any of the Lake City area 14ers (Wetterhorn, Uncompahgre, Redcloud, Sunshine, Handies) is just getting there! Even if you don't like climbing, Lake City is so remote, and the travel there is just so beautiful. We have gone there twice from the Gunnison area. You can also get there through Creede (which is the way we went out once), which is really cool. Or you can go up and over Cinnamon Pass from Silverton, but you'll need a good 4WD vehicle for that. That's it! There's only a few ways to get to Lake City as it's one of the most remote towns in the lower 48!! And the town itself is really fun with some cool restaurants and shops and lots of cabins and stuff. One note that could be good or could be bad depending on how you look at it, but Lake City has tons of people (and supporting services) for folks doing 4WD side-by-side riding. The 4 wheelers will pass you on the way to and from the trail.. they're all nice, there's just a lot of them buzzing around.

I had decided to take the standard Northeast Ridge route up Redcloud which starts at the Silver Creek trailhead. This is also where the Grizly Gulch trailhead is for Handies. It is maybe about 20 miles from Lake City to the trailhead but probably takes an hour to get there on the 4WD road.

From the trailhead, the trail starts off heading north through some nice alpine areas and is very well maintained. Once through the alpine areas, the trail continues to follow along Silver Creek until it opens up into the basin leading to Redcloud via this route. This basin is so cool!! It really just has a Mars-like feel to it, and the trail is super easy to follow and not very difficult all the way to the saddle.

Trailhead Sign And Information

Trailhead Sign To Redcloud Peak

Trail Starts Through Forest Areas

The Trail Begins Along Silver Creek

Looking Back Towards Trailhead

Looking East To Redcloud Peak

The Lower Part Of The Basin Leading To Redcloud

Cool Scenery As The Basin Opens Up

Looking Down The Beautiful Basin

Looking Down The Beautiful Basin To Redcloud Peak

Approaching The Saddle At The Top Of The Basin

Once arriving at the saddle at the top of the basin, you have neat views over to the opposite side basin, up to the mountains away from Redcloud, and of course towards Redcloud. Towards Redcloud you can see what is left including the false summit as well as the red-colored real summit appears to the left.

The trail up the false summit has a couple of real crappy sections that aren't steep, but the terrain is just junky. I'm sure the CFI (Colorado 14ers Initiative that maintains / ugrades trails in 14ers) will come fix this section at some point, but for now, you just have to deal with it. So, pick your way through the junk and you will eventually land on a better trail heading to the false summit.

Look Back Into Basin From Saddle

Looking East From The Saddle

Looking North From The Saddle

Redcloud Peak From The Saddle

Looking At Summit And False Summit From Saddle

Looking Up To Summit From Part Way Up False Summit

Amazing Prominent Peaks In The Distance

Cool View Across The Saddle And To 13ers Behind

Final Pitch To The Summit From False Summit

From the false summit, you can begin to see the tops of some of the mountains back across the saddle. Back behind the first mountains you see are 2 ranked, centennial 13ers (UN 13,832 and UN 13,811). The "UN" stands for UnNamed. If you look them up on, they're pretty cool. From the false summit you can also see the short remaining pitch to the real summit. You can definitely see the 'red' in Redcloud now!

The summit is amazing with views over to Sunshine, across to the UN 13ers and back to the south over the Handies. In the distance you can see all sorts of cool stuff from nearby peaks Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre to the North, Sneffels and the Wilsons to the West, and the Chicago Basin group and other amazing Weimenuche peaks to the South. The San Juan Mountains are unbelievably amazing!!

Many people will go ahead and head over to Sunshine from Redcloud and either come back the same way or take one of two other routes off of Sunshine. I needed to get back for work, in addition to the fact that I have a habit of orphaning 'group' mountains. The way I see it, I just have to come back to this beautiful place... DARN!!! lol!!

Looking Back Across False Summit To Saddle

The Summit Of Redcloud Peak

The Summit Of Redcloud Peak

Mountains Forever From Summit Of Redcloud Peak

The Summit of Redcloud Peak!:

The way out you have the STUNNING views of Handies towering above. Redcloud was way more fun than I anticipated!!

Closer Look At Ridge Above Basin

Views coming down from Redcloud Peak Colorado:

Perspective - A helicopter flying near Redcloud Peak:

Across Silver Creek And Trailhead To Handies

Beautiful Views On The Way Out

Hope this has been enjoyable and / or helpful to anyone reading it!!


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