Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 37.86077°N / 107.59994°W
Additional Information County: San Juan
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 13370 ft / 4075 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Dome Mountain A is low 13er (mountain over 13,000 foot high) located north of historic town Silverton. It is probably my favorite peak in Silverton area. The summit is really scenic, pyramidal shaped and offers excellent views in all directions. 
Why Dome Mountain A? because there is a B - Dome Peak 12172 feet.
Colorado Rank: 344
Mountain Range: San Juans
Class: 2
Parent Lineage: Tower Mountain

Nearby 13ers:

Dome MountainDome Mountain from Stony Pass Road
Dome Mountain ADome Mountain A from Tower Mountain's ridge
North-eastern approachNorth-eastern approach

Getting There

Dome MountainDome Mountain raising above the clouds
Elk taking a bathElk taking a bath in an unnamed lake below Dome Mountain
Drive from Silverton towards Eureka, Highway 110. It is initially paved, then changes into a well maintained 4WD road, open and snow plowed even in the winter. Pass through Howardsville at 4.3 miles and continue to Eureka at 8 miles. Cross the Animas River over a bridge and after 0.4 miles take a sharp left onto CR 25 (not signed, but pretty obvious road to the left). The route climbs sharply along a shelf road. It is easy driving, I believe 2 WD vehicle would make it also. It is about 1 mile up this shelf road, turn left at a small intersection and drop into McCarthy Basin, or park you car here, and walk in. 
I would like to mention that road it kept open till Eureka in the winter. If you choose to hike this mountain in the winter, you will have to hike the Eureka Gulch Road. Check for avalanche conditions prior venturing out there. 


As any mountain there are many routes up it. I read a trip report about going up the scree in between Dome Mountain and Point 13321 and ascending Dome's west ridge (above Cataract Basin). I will do anything to avoid the scree and chose a different route for that reason. 
Guide to Colorado Mountains with Robert Ormes (sort of a bible of Colorado Mountains) mentions climbing from SR 110. The book describes: "Dome Mountain is a rocky scramble on the ridge 1.5 miles east of Tower. It's much better climbed independently, starting about a mile northeast of Howardsville, then by way of an old miner's road to the base of Cataract Gulch. Bushwack up the approximately named gulch, bypassing the falls on the left, to the lower lake and onto the southeast ridge to the summit, using a couloir on the south face as a finish". This route appears steep, and most people choose my approach at least I believe so. (I met an older couple and the gentleman told me this is his 3rd time up and he always comes up from the north to avoid the scree). 
My ascent was via Eureka Gulch towards the turn off for McCarthy Basin. I chose to walk in, but 4WD vehicles can drive in and as mentioned below there are excellent camping sites by the river South Fork of Animas, some in trees, some in meadows. 
There is a trail going up the basin, follow the main trail, cross the South Fork of Animas River, and continue following pretty well kept trail. The trail winds through a forest and enters into open meadows with beautiful wildflowers in July and August. Continue till you see Dome Mountain (you will also see PT 13321 right next to it). Dome Mountain is the closer to you one. I ascended grassy slopes along a deep ravine before getting to the level with Dome Mountain. It does not matter whether you chose to go on its right or left side. The ravine is deep and has a creek running through it. This creek is draining from the unnamed lake on the north side of Dome Mountain. My goal was to ascend to this lake. 
I ascended on the right side of the deep ravine, there was no trail, but the going was easy. Later I descended on the left side and there was even a trail at places with switchbacks (so I believe it was a true human trail, not just a deer trail). This section is steep, but safe. You will eventually end up at an unnamed lake on the north side of Dome Mountain. This lake is pretty and offers an excellent opportunity to take a break, and enjoy the scenery. From here you have 2 choices, either ascend via northeastern ridge, or via north ridge. I came up via northeastern ridge because the morning sun was in my back and it was better for photography. I also think the views are better and you get to see the true summit of Dome Mountain. 
The northern ridge appears steeper and as you go up, you see only the false summit of Dome. (I descended this ridge). Both ridges offer hiking on mostly grassy slopes. I like avoiding the loose scree as much as possible. 
Higher up both ridges come together and you continue on relatively stable talus to the summit. There are a couple of steps where you may need to use your hands (a couple of class 3 moves), but the ridge is mostly just a steep hike. 
The summit is spectacular with a nice cairn. There was a summit register there and only about 6 people signed in since 2013 (the first sign if was from Jennifer Roach). Enjoy your panorama and descend safely. 
Mount SneffelsMount Sneffels
Macomber and Tower MountainMacomber and Tower Mountain, Cataract basin below
View into GrenadiersView into Grenadiers
Coxcomb Peak and WetterhornCoxcomb Peak and Wetterhorn
Hikers on the ridgeHikers on the ridge
Resting on the summitResting on the summit

Red Tape

There is no red tape. Driving, parking and even camping at McCarthy Basin is free. 

When to Climb

Summer is obviously the easiest with a nice approach and no need to break the trail in a deep snow and no worry about an avalanche danger.
Northern San Juan avalanche forecast for winter outings - click here


There are great campsites in Mc Carthy Basin along South Fork of Animas River. Those are primitive sites in trees by the stream, with rocks surrounding fire pits. There are no toilet facilities. Water is from the stream.