Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 37.94060°N / 107.5863°W
Additional Information County: San Juan
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
Additional Information Elevation: 13052 ft / 3978 m
Sign the Climber's Log

Houghton Mountain Overview

South face of Houghton Mountain
A view of Houghton Mountain's south face (left)Taken from the top of Engineer Pass.

Houghton Mountain is a peak located in the San Juan Range. Like any mountain in the range, it stands out remarkably and becomes a memorable landmark in your mind. The views are rather different from different angles. In fact, the north face looks completely different from the south face. The north face is like a hill rising above the town site of Animas Forks and the south face is a big steep, rock mountain. The south face can be seen from the Engineer Pass road (4WD) and the north face can be seen from the end of the Eureka Gulch road (4WD). "Bump" would be the right word to classify this mountain overall. Climbing this mountain would be pretty easy and tempting at an elevation of 13,052 feet. If you were to accent this mountain, I'd recommend using a good topo map just so you know the area better from the summit because this would be an excellent peak to bag.

In-depth Details

Here are more details:

Elevation: 13,052 ft.
CO Peak Rank: 607

Range: San Juan
Counties: San Juan

Quadrangle: Handies Peak
Coordinates: 37.9406°N, -107.5863°W

Prominence: 472'
Saddle: 12,580 ft.

Proximate Parent: Tuttle Mountain
Line Parent: Tuttle Mountain
Isolation: 1.52 miles

YDS Class Rating: 2

Climbers Log

Getting There

North face from Animas Forks
Houghton Mountain from Animas Forks
All ways of getting there require a 4X4 vehicle.

Route #1: From Durango, head NE towards Silverton. Once at Silverton go towards Eureka. Once your at Eureka, keep going until you see a 4WD high clearance vehicle sign. You will need at least some clearance to continue. Passenger cars are not appropriate, but a standard all-wheel-drive vehicle will make it if you are careful and go slow. Continue down the Eureka Gulch Road until you get to the junction that contains the cut-off for Picane Gulch Road. From here you will need a 4X4 vehicle with a short wheel base (preferably a Jeep). Continue on this road until you get to Animas Forks. The mountain is now in view. If you plan on summiting, continue up the road past Animas Forks until you get to the Placer Gulch junction. Make the left onto Placer Gulch and go up the road until you see an old mill. There is a road getting to this old mill, but don't take it. Instead continue about 100 more feet until you find a pull-off. From here, hike your way up to the summit. You should not run into any difficult terrain.

Route #2: From Lake City, get onto 2nd street and make a left to go up Engineer Pass. Reach the top and zig-zag down. The mountain is now in view. Once your at the bottom. Go the direction of Silverton, but only continue about 200 feet in that direction. Then make a right onto a road that takes you to some lakes/ponds. Park here and ascend the mountain's NW ridge.

Red Tape

No permits required. You are in the Alpine Tundra and protected areas so no driving off road, etc...

Here the info if you need to contact the forest service:

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests
2250 Highway 50
Delta, CO 81416
(970) 874-6600


Since driving off road is prohibited you are limited to just camping in Eureka unless you are tent camping. If you are coming from Lake City, there are campgrounds around that area and a few pull offs along the first stretch of the Engineer Pass road that are suitable for camping.

External Links

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Liba Kopeckova

Liba Kopeckova - Aug 10, 2013 9:18 pm - Voted 10/10


There is sort of a path on top of the peaks starting at California Pass, and leading north over Tuttle, then turning northeast towards Houghton. It is mostly class 1 (short sections of class 2), sometimes the path is not visible. There are cairns along the small summits, and great views in all directions. I did not find any path leading east from Houghton Mountain down to Animas Forks ghost town, but it was not very steep. I descended fast due to rain and lighting.


JustinShapiro - Aug 11, 2013 2:22 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Route

Thanks for the info! Last time I was over there I actually noticed a little path leading across to the saddle of Tuttle and Houghton. So it would make sense that both those mountains are easily accessible from there. I'll put in the appropriate updates.

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