OverviewRed Mountain Pass is a very popular destination for back country skiing. Map and overview of the places shows really well the locations of some huts and most commonly skied areas.
Trail description: Ski up County Road 14 from the top of Red Mountain Pass, head south on the roadbed - you will see plenty off ski and snowmobile tracks here. After 0.5 miles the road turns east up and climbs up quite steeply (skins recommended) to another road junction at mile 0.9. Here County Road 14 turns right (south) and is well signed to the St. Paul Lodge and Mountain Belle Cabin. Throughout this area you will see some of the many old mine buildings still standing.
Stay On County Road 14 as it climbs up and past St. Paul Lodge and then the Mountain Belle Cabin. The skiing to this point is a very nice outing for intermediate skiers. To continue above treeline, head east in the vicinity of the Mountain Belle Hut onto the west flank of McMillan Peak or northeast towards Red Mountain #3.
I was planning today 2/21/2011 to ski from the Red Mountain #3, but since the avalanche danger was very high - level 4, and it was very windy above the treeline, I turned around at the look out point over Red Mountain #3. It was amazing to watch how the weather deteriorated super fast high up there. Skiing was really enjoyable in between the trees, but high up there I did not see much on the way down. I can't wait to come back when the weather is nice.
2nd attempt on Red Mountain #3, and this time successfulRed Mountain Pass usually has enough snow, and skiing is good up to the end of May, sometimes even early June. So, I came back to summit Red Mountain #3 on a nice day and during good avalanche forecast. My partners were Michael Covington and my dog Duchess. We took the same approach road, but cut off below the private cabin Casa Milagrosa towards the Red Mountain #3. The weather was great at lower elevation, but really windy near the top. It was easy to find our way up: we just followed tracks! and the Red Mountain #3 is visible as soon as you get above treeline.
Ascent: 1800 feet
Mileage: 4 miles
External LinksFun at Red Mountain Pass
Northern San Juans avalanche information Always check avalanche conditions before venturing out