Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre Peaks, Lake City

#5 of 7 in Things to do in Lake City
Uncompahgre Peak is the sixth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 4365.0m fourteener is the highest summit of the San Juan Mountains and the highest point in the drainage basin of the Colorado River and the Gulf of California. It is located in the Uncompahgre Wilderness in the northern San Juans, in northern Hinsdale County approximately 7 miles (11 km) west of the town of Lake City.
Uncompahgre Peak has a broad summit plateau, rising about 1500ft above the broad surrounding alpine basins. The south, east and west sides are not particularly steep, but the north face boasts a 700ft cliff. Like all peaks in the San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre is of volcanic origin, but is not a volcano. The rock is of poor quality for climbing, precluding an ascent of the north face.
The most popular route for climbing Uncompahgre Peak is Uncompahgre National Forest Service Trail Number 239, which starts from the end of the Nellie Creek Road, east-southeast of the peak. The Nellie Creek Road is a four wheel drive road accessed from the Henson Creek Road, about 4mi west of Lake City. The trail to the summit is a strenuous hike rising 2919ft in elevation in about 3.5mi. It accesses the summit in a winding ascent, starting from the east, passing over a south-trending ridge, and finishing on the west slopes of the summit plateau.
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Wetterhorn and Uncompahgre Peaks Reviews
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  • My family just hiked both these peaks last week (youngest: 19, oldest: 53). Some of us are okay with exposure; others not so much. But in spite of the fact that it's been a very dry summer in Colorado...  more »
  • This is a must see if you are the area. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The majesty of the mountains is awe inspiring!  more »
  • 6th highest peak in Colorado with a class 2 trail to the top. There is only on somewhat tricky section near the summit, where you go up a cliff band that is similar to a slippery staircase cuz there’s tiny pebbles and dirt on top of slanted rocks. Other than that, the trail from Nellie Creek is wonderful. The view from the summit is incredible and the north face is one of the most impressive cliff faces I’ve ever seen.
  • This is a fairly mild 14er. It is also one of the most beautiful that I have summited! I would do this one again and again. The flowers, the views, the experience, culminated into all the things that keep me in this breathtaking state.

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