The tallest of the 13ers directly southeast of Silverton, Kendall Peak is a seldom visited landmark in the San Juan Mountains. Kendall peak is buttressed by Kendall Mountain to the northwest and west, a 12er to the north, and several 13ers to the south.
The easiest route up to the cirque is via the Kendall Mountain Road famous for its annual run. From there, it becomes a Class 2/3 endeavor that takes you through the pass in the southeast corner of the cirque, up the ridge to the 13100' sub-peak to the south of Kendall Peak, then north into the saddle and up the south ridge of the peak.
Kendall Mtn Road:
As you travel into Silverton, the road descends into the valley on the south side. The road continues into town about .25 miles east of where the road seems to reach the valley bottom and levels out. People in town are great with directions if you get lost.
Silver Lake Basin:
Continue east from Silverton on County Road 2. Right after a large gray mining building on the north side of the road, there is a turn-off for County Road 52. Travel down and cross the canyon/river. There will be a fork about .4 miles along the road: go left. The next for after is another left (obvious due to sign pointing the correct way). Go as far as your vehicle will take you. We stopped at 10,300' in a car without much clearance.
Highway 550 and Kendall Mtn Rd
No permits necessary for this one.
South Mineral Springs Campground:
Turn west about a mile north on 550 north of Silverton. There are a couple dozen sites available here along with many more along the road and river to the campgrounds.
Molas Lake Campground:
Nicely run, privately-owned, camping area below Molas Pass, this spot offers 14 tent sites and many more RV sites around the lake. Expect to fork over $14 for a tent site per night. Also, they don't allow "walk-ins" on the weekends because it can get pretty busy, apparently.
There seemed to be a few nice spots along Kendall Mtn Rd even you're willing to leave your stuff at the mercy of motor sport fans that frequent the corridor.
I wouldn't recommend camping in the Silver Lake Basin to the east of the mountain. It was heavily mined, littered with broken glass and used nails, and the body of water should be renamed Sterile Lake.
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