La Garita Wilderness OverviewThe 130,000 acre La Garita Wilderness is located eight miles north of Creede, Colorado in the San Juan Range. The La Garita Wilderness was one of Colorado's original five wilderness areas designated in 1964 by the Wilderness Act. It was enlarged in both 1980 and 1993 and today encompasses almost thirty five miles of the Continental Divide. The La Garita Wilderness is one of Colorado's less visited wilderness areas and is home to large herds of elk, deer and bighorn sheep. The mountains around the Wheeler Geologic Area show strange shaped volcanic tuff resulting from years of erosion. The Wheeler Geologic Area was once a National Monument, but the area's difficult access led to Congress to abolish the designation. Relatively popular destinations within the Wilderness include Machin Lake, Wheeler Geologic Area and San Luis Peak. San Luis Peak is the highpoint of the Wilderness and the only fourteener within its boundaries.
La Garita Peak OverviewLa Garita Peak is the namesake peak of the La Garita Wilderness. La Garita means "The Lookout" in spanish. La Garita Peak is located on the same ridge as "Phoenix Peak" and can easily be climbed together via a Class 2 ridge run. The summit provides good views of Machin Lake and Saguache Creek's Middle Fork.
Getting ThereFrom the Mineral County Courthouse on the north end of Creede, Colorado, drive 0.7 miles north, turn right, cross Nelson Creek on a bridge, drive northeast up East Willow Creek, stay left at mile 3.7 and reach the two wheel drive trailhead at mile 4.0 where the main road switchbacks left. Four wheel drive vehicles can continue 1.6 miles further to the intersection with old Center Stock Driveway. Follow old Center Stock Driveway to treeline. Travel crosscountry directly towards the summit.
Red TapeLa Garita Peak is in the La Garita Wilderness of the Rio Grande National Forest.
CampingThere are sites at the trailhead.
External LinksLists of John
LiteratureComplete Guide to Colorado's Wilderness Areas
Colorado's Thirteeners: 13,800 To 13,999 Feet, From Hikes to Climbs
Guide to the Colorado Mountains
Colorado's High Thirteeners