Climbing 14ers Near Durango, Colorado
Read about Hiking 14,000 Foot Peaks Near Durango, CO.
Durango, Colorado - Nearby 14,000 Foot Peaks
Getting to Windom Peak
Durango, Colorado and the nearby San Juan Mountains are home to several challenging 14,000 foot peaks. Windom Peak, Sunlight Peak, and Mount Eolus are all within easy striking distance from Durango, Colorado. Getting to these three infamous peaks can be just as exciting as climbing them. Most hiking enthusiasts take the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad and request a stop at Needleton from which they begin the accent. Inspirational views await those who push their weary legs to the summit of these majestic mountains. Absorb the speculator scenery of dozens of high mountain lakes, tarns and creeks throughout this wilderness and bag one or all three of these nearby fourteeners.
Windom Peak 14,082
Windom Peak can be climbed in tandem with Sunlight Peak as these two are part of the same ridge line. These peaks are quite remote so climbing these two peaks are typically done as part of a several night trip into this part of the San Juan Mountains.
Windom Peak is between Durango and Silverton and is removed from any roads. The ideal way to get to the main Needle creek trailhead is by the Silverton/Durango train from Silverton to Needleton or from Durango to Needleton. Catch the train at 479 Main Street in Durango. The roundtrip cost is currently $60. The train has 3 morning departures from Durango during the summer and runs from May 9 to October 31.
Upon arriving in Needleton get off the train, grab your gear and start the hike by crossing the bridge over the Animas River. Turn south and hike about 1 mile to the Needleton Creek Trail. The next 6 miles on the Needle Creek Trailhead will carry you through a series of meadows. It is best to camp in the last meadow which is located at treeline. There is plenty of water, and beautiful views, so camp anywhere you want. Rest easy and in the morning climb North for about 1 mile to Twin Lakes at 12,500'. From there climb east .4 mile to the lower end of the basin between Sunlight and Windom. Be sure to stay south of the waterfall on the ascent. Take a right (south) to climb to the saddle. From the saddle turn left (east) and up the west ridge of Windom to the summit. This route is the recommended route due to the fragile environment in the area. You can also visit the San Juan Mountain Association web site for more information..
Sunlight Peak 14,059 Storm King San Juan Durango
Sunlight Peak in the San Juan Mountains of Southwest Colorado is the 39th highest Peak in Colorado. This peak is located deep in the heart of the beautiful Needle Mountains near Durango, Colorado. Sunlight Peak takes refuge in the northeast corner of the Chicago Basin. hides in the northeast corner of Chicago Basin and is visible only to those who dare approach her. From the summit of Sunlight, there is a great view of Arrow and Vestal peaks of the Grenadiers to the north. Sunlight, together with Eolus and Windom stand tall in the Chicago Basin and make for a spectacular multi peak weekend!
Getting to Sunlight Peak
Sunlight Peak is located in southwestern Colorado approximately 28 miles northeast of Durango and 13 miles southeast of Silverton.
Take the Durango to Silverton Narrow Gauge Train
The Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Train runs from May 1 to October 30, and drops off at Needleton. The train ride from Durango to Needleton is approximately 2.5 hours. From the Needleton drop cross the Animas River on a good footbridge. Follow the fork east along Needle Creek for approximately 0.75 miles. This will lead to the trail to Chicago Basin and the beginning of the climb. This is the same trail for climbing the Windom Peak. It is 6.6 miles from Needleton to Chicago Basin. Sunlight Peak is often climbed in conjunction with Windom Peak. From Windom Peak travel north-northeast to Sunlight. From Sunlight, you can descend by the same route, or drop down the southern talus ridges.
Mount Eolus 14,083 Columbine Pass
Getting to Mount Eolus
Mount Eolus is usually climbed in the same trip as climbing Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak. Eolus rests in what many people claim is the most spectacular alpine environment in Colorado. Depending on the weekend, there can be plenty of people in this 'remote' wilderness. The name 'Eolus' is derived from the Greek god of winds, Aeolus.
Again, this peak is best reached by taking the Durango to Silverton Train. Take the train to the Needleton stop. Please call the railroad company, as not all trains stop here.
From the Needleton trailhead, walk up the Needle Creek trail to Chicago Basin and enjoy the wonderful views at treeline. Camp is most often established here. The trail is pretty clear from this point up to Twin Lakes, and on up to the summit of Mount Eolus.