South San Juan Wilderness. The mountain combines well with other 12ers in the area (mostly unnamed) and with 13ers: Montezuma Peak, The Unicorn and Summit Peak.
The mountain is located along the Continental Divide Trail. Continental Divide Trail CDT is national scenic trail running 3,100 miles (5,000 km) running between Mexico and Canada. It follows the Continental Divide, which separates watersheds that drain into the Pacific Ocean from those rivers that drain into the Atlantic.
The hike is scenic, mostly on trail and tundra.
South San Juan Wilderness area is remote. The highest point is Summit Peak 13,300 feet. The Continental Divide Trail crosses the wilderness for 42 miles. By rumor, the last Colorado Grizzly bear was killed here in 1979. Many claim that more grizzlies still inhabit this area.
Colorado Rank: 741
Parent Lineage: Montezuma Peak
Wilderness: South San Juan
The area has plentiful dirt roads and some are 2 WD friendly. Forest Service 380 off US Highway 160 between South Fork and Wolf Creek Pass is easy 2 WD drive on gravel. The road 667 (description below) is 4 WD only.
From Pagosa Springs head northeast on US 160. Follow this road for 10.6 miles. Turn right onto FR 667 and pass the East Fork Campground. This is the Elwood Pass/East Fork Road.
From South Fork head west on US 160 for 31.8 miles, turn right onto FR 667.
History: Elwood Pass was used by the Utes to reach the hot springs in Pagosa. IN 1876 early travelers cut a rough road over the pass. When Wolf Creek Pass opened and became an automobile route, the use of Elwood Pass has declined.
The route is an easy hike just off Continental Divide Trail. I traversed over from Montezuma Peak and ascended the snow free gentle slopes - class 1-2, descended east to join the CDT trail. The north side was completely snow covered.
Parking and hiking the Continental Divide Trail are free. The mountain is located within South San Juan Wilderness area, so wilderness area rules apply.
Summer and early autumn are the easiest since there is not much snow along the Continental Divide Trail and you can drive all the way to the Elwood Pass. Early spring means a longer access and winter can pose very long approach and high avalanche danger.
There is plenty of opportunity for primitive back country camping - both car camping by plentiful streams and lakes, or backpacking. There is no charge for such camping.
Established campground would be East Fork Campground. For more information click here.