Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 39.15020°N / 106.1741°W
Additional Information County: Lake & Park
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 13739 ft / 4188 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Ptarmigan Peak to the westPtarmigan Peak from the east

Although an attractive and graceful peak when viewed from the east, Ptarmigan Peak lacks the 300 minimum feet of prominence to be ranked Colorado 13er. Along with partner unranked 13er Weston Peak, Ptarmigan Peak anchors the southern terminus of a long north-south ridge of the Mosquito Range. Separated from Centential 13er Horseshoe Mountain by approximately three miles, Ptarmigan Peak is often climbed in conjunction with Weston Peak from Weston Pass.

Ranked or not, Ptarmigan Peak bears an official USGS name and treats the summit visitor to steller views of the Mosquito Range neighborhood as well as the Sawatch Range and Front Range 14ers Longs Peak and Pikes Peak.

Rank: Unranked
Prominence: 279 Feet
USGS Quad: Mount Sherman
Trails Illustrated Map: #110 Leadville, Fairplay
Rank & Prominence Information Source: Lists of John

Getting There

Weston Pass Getting There MapGetting There Map
Ptarmigan Peak and Weston Peak above Weston Pass

Ptarmigan Peak sits on the Park County / Lake County line, about less than one mile as the crow flies from the summit of Weston Pass. The peak is accessible from the east via Highway 285 (passenger car accessible) and from the west via Highway 24 (high clearance recommended).

Red Tape

Weston, Ptarmigan & HorseshoeWeston, Ptarmigan & Horseshoe from Sheep Ridge

From Weston Pass

The Weston Pass summit area appears to be covered by a private mine holding. No signs indicate the area off either side of the road is off limits to public use and the pass area hosts plenty of visitors seemingly as unaware as I was that they are enjoying the views, technically, from private land.

Additionally, the route from Weston Pass crouches under buzzing high-tension lines. It goes without saying that visitors should not climb on or deface the towers. Briefly enjoy the crackling, buzzing corona discharge that fills the air near the pass and move on.

Camping & Lodging

Ptarmigan Peak from Weston PeakPtarmigan Peak from Weston Peak

Designated National Forest Service Sites

The conveniently located Weston Pass campground which, despite the name, actually sits about 4 miles southeast of Weston Pass, is the closest campground for a Weston Pass approach.

Weston Pass Campground:
• 14 sites
• No reservations (first come, first served)
• $12.00 per night
• Elevation: 10,200 ft.

For those interested in connecting to Weston Peak via the ridge with Horseshoe Mountain, the Forest Service operates two campgrounds along Fourmile Road (County Road 18): Fourmile and Horseshoe. Be aware that both sites may be busy in the summer months due to their proximity to the Fourteener Mount Sherman.

Fourmile Campground:
• 14 sites
• No reservations (first come, first served)
• $12.00 per night
• Elevation: 10,762 ft.

Horseshoe Campground:
• 19 sites
• Reservations accepted in summer
• $12.00 per night
• Elevation: 10,560 ft.

Ptarmigan Peak summitPtarmigan Peak summit
Approaching Ptarmigan PeakApproaching Ptarmigan Peak from the south
Ptarmigan Peak summit cairnPtarmigan Peak summit cairn

Hotels, Cabins & B&Bs

Fairplay & Alma
On the east side of Weston Pass, the communities of Fairplay and Alma provide a pleasant, laid-back atmosphere and reasonable prices for lodging. Not many hotel rooms and lodges exist on this side of the pass, but privately-owned rental cabins can allow for ample privacy with all of the comforts of home.

Detailed information about lodging in Fairplay and Alma may be found here: South Park Area Lodging

Buena Vista
Across Weston Pass on the west side is the relaxing town of Buena Vista (pronounced “Byoona-Vistah” by the locals). This friendly town provides several hotels and a few descent, casual restaurants. Prices are generally reasonable though rooms fill up fast as this is the gateway town for numerous Sawatch Fourteeners.

Detailed information about lodging in Buena Vista may be found here: Buena Vista Lodging

Leadville/Twin Lakes
The Leadville/Twin Lakes area provides simple down-to-earth, budget-friendly lodging option, including family RV parks. Still, proximately to several attractions, including Colorado’s High Point (Mount Elbert 14,433 ft.) mean snagging a room requires careful planning in advance of your visit.

For detailed information about lodging in the Leadville/Twin Lakes area, visit this website: Leadville Lodging

Weather & Seasons

Ptarmigan Peak from saddlePtarmigan Peak from saddle with Weston Peak

Summer allows for the most reliable access to Ptarmigan Peak from either Weston Pass or Fourmile. The wildflowers covering the western slope of Ptarmigan Peak & neighboring Weston Peak are sure to please.

Until the first deep snows fall, autumn allows for ready access to Ptarmigan Peak, though high winds and cold temperatures high on the ridge could make this an unpleasant outing.

Weston Pass is closed in snow season, guarding Ptarmigan Peak behind either a long approach from the highest available parking on Weston Pass Road or a long, cold, windy slog along the ridge from Horseshoe. The western slope of Ptarmigan Peak from Weston Pass is very steep and would be a dangerous place to be in avalanche season.

The ridge slog from Horseshoe to Weston form Fourmile would test anyone’s endurance in snow season. The Weston Pass route is not readily accessible until the snows have thawed, the road has dried and the county sees it fit to open the pass. The western slope of Ptarmigan Peak from Weston Pass is very steep and would be a dangerous place to be in avalanche season.

Zone Forecast for Fairplay, CO



Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.