No, there has not been any recent plate tectonic activity resulting in a 12000 ft peak in the state of Ohio. This peak is in fact located in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado.
Ohio Peak, along with Anvil Mountain (12537 ft) to the south, McMillan Peak (12804 ft) and Red Mountain #3 (12890 ft) to the north, create a chain of 12000 ft peaks that rise to the east of Route 550 stretching from the town of Silverton to Red Mountain Pass. Rich mineral deposits have painted the slopes of these mountains (except for McMillan Peak) orange and red. These colors were an open invitation to the scores of 19th century prospectors who literally invaded this area. Today, visitors are delightfully intrigued by the sudden appearance of abandoned mines and shacks among the forests, meadows and the colorful slopes of these mountains.
Thanks to a nearby 4 wheel drive road, the hike to the summit of Ohio Peak can be nothing more than a pleasant walk across a beautiful grassy slope that leads to a gentle and colorful ridgetop covered with scree. Although much lower than the 13er peaks that rise to the east and west of it, Ohio Peak is strategically located to provide an excellent view of the mountains that surround Route 550. This road is affectionately known as The Million Dollar Highway, some say because the views are worth a million dollars. This is rather ironic because the majority of the mountains can not be seen from the road which runs at the bottom of the valley (Only the very tip of Ohio Peak can be seen for a short distance north of the big switchback, south of Red Mountain Pass). If Route 550 is The Million Dollar Highway, Ohio Peak should be referred to as The Billion Dollar Mountain.
Ohio Peak is rarely climbed. You can find perfect solitude on this mountain.
Getting There & RouteApproximate Trailhead Elevation: 11900 ft
One Way Distance per my GPS: 0.9 miles
Approximate Hiking Time (one way uphill): one hour
Maps: US Geological Survey, Colorado (Silverton grid)
From the town of Silverton (elevation 9318 ft) drive 5 miles north on Route 550 until you reach Mile Marker 76. Just before the marker, you will find an unsigned 4 wheel drive road to the east (10150 ft). This road is mildly rough. Turn on the road and follow it up a few switchbacks through a dense Pine forest until the forest thins out and the road crosses Browns Gulch (11200 ft). Ohio Peak appears to the east (You can climb it from here by following Browns Creek up to the scree slopes below the summit but the scree looks tedious).
Continue the road past an abandoned mine and above the timberline till you reach a relatively flat area at around 2.9 miles from Route 550. This is your trailhead. Ohio Peak is well visible to the east. You also have great views of the mountains to the west of Route 550 (If you continue the 4 wheel drive road, you will eventually reach Route 550 just south of Red Mountain Pass).
From the trailhead, the route to the summit is obvious. Hike east across grassy slopes aiming for a saddle at the north end of the ridge that leads to the summit. At the saddle (12250 ft), you will find the crumbling remanis of an old cabin. Head south and hike up a short but relatively steep grassy slope that gets you to the top of a ridge covered with scree. This ridge is gently sloped and is easy to hike. Follow it south past the false summit to the true summit.
Red TapeNo fees or permits for day hikes. For all rules and regulations see the site for San Juan National Forest.
When To ClimbEasiest in summer.
Click to see the forecast for the nearby town of Silverton.