Also referred to as “Creede Crest” and “Gwynedd Mountain”, Unnamed 13895 is the 2nd highest ranked peak in Colorado without an official name. Located half a mile south of the continental divide, “Phoenix Peak” sits high in the La Garita Mountains, a sub-range of the San Juans in the Rio Grande National Forest. Despite being one of Colorado’s highest hundred peaks(#73) and the highpoint of Mineral County, “Phoenix Peak” receives far less interest than the local 14er, San Luis Peak. Near the Wheeler Geologic Area , the peak also offers a view of some unique structures – weathered sculptures of conglomerate rock similar to that found in the Crestones of the Sangre de Cristos. When snow-free, the summit can be reached with class 2 hiking.
For both the South Slopes and East Willow Creek Falls routes, use the East Willow Creek Trailhead.
To find the East Willow Creek Trailhead, take highway 149 from either Lake City or South Fork to the small town of Creede. From Creede, go north on FR 503 and then right when the road forks on FR 502. After 3 miles, a sign indicates Phoenix Park Road to the left and Phoenix Park Trail to the right. Turn right and park shortly after at the road’s end.
Alternate routes and trailheads are described in the books linked at the left of the page.
No permits or use fees are necessary to either hike or park at the trailhead. The peak is located within the La Garita Wilderness of the Rio Grande National Forest.
When To Climb
The best time for hiking is from July through early September. Late spring snowpack and early fall snows may make the forest roads impassable outside of this time. An extra 8 miles roundtrip would then be required to hike the peak from the town of Creede. Avalanche awareness, snowshoes, ice axe, and crampons may be needed when hiking the mountain under snow conditions.
Multiple campgrounds are available between Lake City and South Fork along highway 149. There are places to car-camp along FR 502 near the trailhead.
Lightning and Snow
The risk of lightning in Colorado must always be considered, especially during the summer months. To minimize lightning risk and maximize the chance of a successful summit, start your hike as early as possible.
Contact the Divide Ranger District in Creede for current information on road and snow conditions. (719) 658-2556
Abundant wildlife grace the slopes of "Phoenix Peak". Elk and deer can be seen along the slopes SE of the summit. Industrious beavers have felled many trees and have created beautiful terrace ponds along the Center Stock Driveway.
COHP.ORG Mineral County trip reports on the county highpointers website