Weminuche Wilderness OverviewThe 492,418 acre Weminuche Wilderness is located twenty miles northeast of Durango, Colorado in the San Juan Range (1). The Weminuche is Colorado's largest wilderness area and is home to the beautiful Needle Mountains (1). The Needle Mountains contain six of the hundred highest peaks in the state: Windom Peak, Mount Eolus, Sunlight Peak, Pigeon Peak, Jupiter Mountain & Turret Peak.
Turret Peak OverviewTurret Peak is the highest of three Turret Peaks in Colorado, the 89th highest peak in the state and less than a half mile southeast of Pigeon Peak. Turret Peak was named because of its interesting rock faces and turrets and is the highest of the Turret Needles: Turret Peak, Peak Fifteen, Peak Sixteen and Little Finger. Despite its rugged appearance, Turret's easiest route, the Northwest Slopes Route is only rated Class 2+.
The summit provides a great view of Pigeon Peak's east face and the Grenadier Mountains to the north. Turret's north face can be seen from the US 550 and CO 110 intersection outside of Silverton, CO. Turret's west face can be seen from US 550 south of Durango Mountain resort. Turret's first recorded ascent was done by Albert R. Ellingwood & Barton Hoag on August 17, 1920 (2). The route they chose is the Northwest Slopes Route and is now the standard route.
Getting ThereAccess to Turret Peak is via Needleton, Colorado. Needleton is most commonly reached by the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Roundtrip tickets cost $85 as of 2013. Avoiding the train requires an additional 1612 feet of elevation gain and 19 miles of hiking from the Purgatory Trailhead (3).
Red TapeTurret Peak is in the Weminuche Willderness; mechanized travel is forbidden.
CampingThere are good sites at the 11,740 & 8,260 foot meadows in North Pigeon Creek and on the Animas River Trail, respectively.
When to ClimbTurret Peak can be climbed year round, but is usually climbed from early May to late October when the Durango Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad typically stops at Needleton, Colorado.
External LinksWeatherGuided Ascents of Turret Peak
References1. The Complete Guide to Colorado's Wilderness Areas
2. Roof of the Rockies: A History of Colorado Mountaineering
3. Colorado's Thirteeners: 13,800 to 13,999 Feet, From Hikes to Climbs