OverviewThis is the route we took to climb the peak. It begins at the saddle near spot elevation 9836 and follows the ridge to the summit of South Diamond Peak. The main obstacles are downed timber for the first half of the hike and a steep ascent to gain the summit ridge. Climbing the mountain only takes a few hours, but from the summit you can continue on to Diamond Peak.
Getting ThereVIA STEAMBOAT SPRINGS
From Steamboat Springs, drive to the north end of town and to where County Road 129 leaves Highway 40. A sign marks "Clark" and "Hahns Peak". This is the same road heading to the airport. Drive north on CR 129 for approximately 26 miles. Pass Steamboat Lake and turn left on County Road 62. Drive County Road 62 west and south for about 3.5 miles to FR 42 on the right. Turn right on FR 42 and drive for 0.6 miles to the forest service gate. This gate is locked until July 1st each year. Drive County Road 42 for 1.5 miles to where FR 480 (east loop) takes off to the left. The road here is bumpy, but still passable to 2wd’s if you go slowly. Rather than turning left, continue straight along County Road 42 and follow the bumpy road for another ~4.5 miles (approximate) to a prominent saddle. A rough 4wd track heads north from here for ~0.2 miles so you can drive slightly father, but there isn’t much parking at the end of the track.
From Walnut Street in Hayden, turn north on Walnut, a.k.a. County Road 76, and follow it north for 0.7 miles to County Road 80. Turn right on (gravel) County Road 80 and follow it for 27.3 miles to FR 42. Turn right on FR 42. The first 2.5 miles of FR 2.5 are pretty good, but it quickly turns into a 4wd road after that. The rough section lasts for 1.4 miles and ends at a saddle. This is the best place to park. A rough 4wd track heads north from here for ~0.2 miles so you can drive slightly father, but there isn’t much parking at the end of the track.
Route DescriptionFrom the trailhead, head north along the rough 4wd track for 0.2 miles to the top of a hill. From the top of the hill head NNE and down the slopes, mostly through tedious deadfall. You can skirt part of the deadfall on the right or left, but eventually you have no choice but to plow right through it. A compass and/or GPS is very useful in this section.
Eventually after fighting through the deadfall (it will take longer than it appears on the map), you will arrive at a broad saddle. The route to the summit of South Diamond Peak is obvious from here. It is steep, but the slopes are open and a welcomed relief from the deadfall.
After climbing the steep slopes, the ridge narrows and becomes less steep. It becomes a little rugged (but still easy) near the summit. The views are great from the summit of South Diamond Peak and there are several interesting fracture caves in the summit area just to the north of the true summit.
From here, you can return the same way or continue on to Diamond Peak.
Climbing South Diamond Peak via this route is only 3.0 miles round trip, but it seems longer because of the deadfall.