San Juan Range OverviewThe San Juan Range is the largest mountain range in Colorado. It dominates southwestern Colorado. In Colorado, the San Juans are second in snowfall only to the Park Range. The San Juan Range is home to 342 peaks above thirteen thousand feet.
Leviathan Peak OverviewLeviathan Peak is located 0.7 northeast of the centennial thirteener Jagged Mountain. Jagged Mountain is composed of solid granite, but Leviathan is made of 3rd class quartzite slabs. Leviathan Peak is the 236th highest peak in Colorado and the 183rd highest thirteener in the state. Leviathan is rarely climbed. Prior to August 5th, 2007, the most recent entry in the summit register was in July of 2006. When Leviathan Peak is climbed, it is usually by its southwest ridge. Leviathan’s southwest ridge can be accessed many ways: Purgatory Trailhead, Vallecito Trailhead, Beartown Trailhead and Needleton Trailhead. Starting at the Needleton Trailhead appears to be the easiest approach and is described below.
Getting ThereThe Needleton Trailhead is most commonly reached by the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Roundtrip tickets cost $65 as of 2007. The next easiest approach is via Sunlight Creek starting at the Beartown Trailhead.
From the Needleton Trailhead, hike 260 yards north on the Animas River Trail, cross Pigeon Creek and hike an additional 0.2 miles to a meadow at 8,260 feet. Turn left onto the fainter of two trails at a fork. Hike 220 yards north to rejoin the Animas River Trail. Cross Ruby and Noname Creeks at miles 1.4 and 2.2 from the trailhead, respectively. At mile 2.3, head east on the Noname Creek Trail. Reach Jagged Pass, the 13,020 foot pass north of Jagged Mountain, at mile 9.0. Contour northeast to Leviathan Pass, the 12,940 foot pass west of Leviathan Peak. Climb Leviathan Peak’s southwest ridge, staying to the ridge’s north side to avoid difficulties. The climbing is rated as third class.
Red TapeLeviathan Peak is in the Weminuche Willderness; mechanized travel is forbidden.
Mountain Conditions7 Day Forecast for Silverton, CO
CampingThere are good campsites at 8,260, 8,460, 10,460, 10,740, 10,760, 11,040, 11,800 and 12,180 feet en route.
External LinksLists of John
Gary Swing’s Trip Report
Ilana Stern’s Trip Report