From the three-way intersection east of 71 Mountain, this is a short and pleasant stroll with moderate elevation gain to a gentle summit with knock-out San Juan mountain views. While a motorized vehicle can make the summit of 71 Mountain, why not park the machine below and stretch your legs a few hundred vertical feet to enjoy the views from the top in peace an quiet?
Roundtrip Distance: 2.25 miles
Elevation Gain: 600 feet
YDS Rating: Class 1
Getting There: Approaches
This short, low-elevation gain route can be approached any number of ways. Depending on the season, your approach may involve boots, skis, snowshoes, a 4x4, an ATV, a horse or a snow machine. Service
The detailed map at left illustrates three primary options for accessing the 71 Mountain area from Colorado Hwy 149 out of Lake City. Assuming a motorized approach, when snow is not present, all three approach routes require a solid 4x4 with good clearance. Generally, the approaches require steep climbs from CO Hwy 149, then the route levels out on the plateau.
|Approach Name||One-Way Mileage||One-Way Elevation Gain||4x4 Approach Commentary|
|CO Rd 71 / Sawmill||5 miles||1,700 feet||Closest of the three approach roads to Lake City. Steep ascent requires low-end climbing gear ratio. Not a good descent route later in the day as narrow road has little to no pull-outs on steepest parts should another 4x4 be encountered.|
|Rambouilette Park Forest Service Road||7 miles||1,000 feet||Semi-Decommissioned by the Forest Service this road is very faint at times and the driver needs to be attentive to stay on-course. Lower sections near CO Hwy 149 are somewhat steep and rocky, but there are more opportunities to find pull-outs if an uphill vehicle is encountered.|
|Via Spring Creek Pass||6.5 miles||1,200 feet||We did not utilize this route, the furthest of the three from Lake City. Please send a note if you have commentary to share about this approach.|
• Park at the 3-way stop between 71 Mountain to the west and Jarosa Mesa to the east. You may note a hand-painted, wooden sign designating the road to the summit of 71 Mountain, oddly, as Hill 71 Repeater Road. (Hill 71 actually rises north of this location, above Rambouilett Park.)
• Ascend the gentle service road westward toward the summit of 71 Mountain. The route gains only about 600 feet in a bit over a mile.
• The broad summit area contains a large repeater structure plus power-generating equipment (wind and solar). The high point sits north-northeast of this structure and is indicated by a cairn.
• Note: The Continental Divide trail (as well as an historic stock drive route) pass through this area. The rough routes are also marked by market cairns of about the same size as the summit cairn, so don’t be fooled by decoys.
• USGS Quad: Lake San Cristobal
• Trails Illustrated Maps: #139 La Garita / Cochetopa Hills and #141 Silverton / Ouray / Lake City
• Backroads Map: Colorado Gazeteer