Savage Peak is a low thirteener in the southern part of the Holy Cross Wilderness. While not a particularly high mountain itself, it does attract the eye from certain distant vantages as it is one of the peaks that fill in the "fourteenerless" gap between Holy Cross and Massive. Other Holy Cross Wilderness peaks like Galena and Homestake serve a similar purpose, but at a greater distance from the heart of the area. Savage sits closer in and commands fine views of the three main ridges of the area which contain the likes of Gold Dust Peak, Mount Jackson, and Holy Cross. Savage also has some interesting views of seldom climbed peaks in Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness to the south.
Savage sits above the popular Missouri Lakes and is surely admired more often than it is climbed. A noteworthy dayhike destination, and a stop on a longer backpacking loop, the Missouri Lakes basin contains some fabulous scenery. Lush alpine tundra contrasts with the rugged peaks circling the basin with impressive effect. Savage Peak dominates the view from the area and looks quite imposing. Loose cliffs split by steep snow-filled chutes comprise the main face of this peak with more reasonable looking ridges found to the left and right.
From Missouri Lakes a fun class two ridge hike is possible by traversing below cliffs and hitting the east ridge at a small saddle. The north ridge also looks like it would go with a bit loose talus climbing. Some of the north face chutes look like good candidates if the snow is continuous, with the main couloir also presenting a documented extreme ski descent. Routes from the south side also look doable. The southeast ridge from Savage Lakes looks most promising.
Missouri Lakes Trailhead:
From I-70 just west of Vail, exit to Highway 24 and head towards Minturn. From Minturn continue 12 miles south to a right turn for the Homestake Road (FR 703) and drive eight miles to a right turn for FR 704. Drive three more miles to the well-signed trailhead.
For a shorter approach, Aaron Johnson adds:
Proceed past the first trailhead on a slightly rougher road (higher clearance is suggested) for 3/4 of a mile and park off the road. Across the creek is a trail that can be seen ascending a clearing. A green Holy Cross Wilderness Defense Fund kiosk post is also located at this unmarked trailhead. Cross the creek, passing a circular cement water structure and follow the trail, which joins the main trail at the top of the hill and then bypasses a diversion dam.
This trailhead option reduces your round trip mileage to Missouri Lakes by almost 1.5 miles.
Travelers must fill out a self issued permit at the trailhead. One copy goes into the receptacle at the kiosk, the other must be in the hiker's possession for the duration of the stay in the wilderness.
When To Climb
Savage Peak can be climbed year-round, but optimal conditions occur from late June through September. Be aware that this also the season for afternoon thunderstorms in the Colorado mountains. Hikers should plan to be on the way down by noon.
The Gold Park Campground is the nearest improved campground to the trailhead. Some good spots also exist along the road but please pay attention to the private property and "no camping allowed" signs. Fantastic sites exist all along the Missouri Creek Trail.
Holy Cross Ranger District
24747 US-HWY 24
Minturn CO, 81645
Click here for the latest forecast from the National Weather Service.
Click here for the latest report from the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.