San Luis Peak is a prominent and yet secluded mountain outside of Colorado Springs. It stands to the north of Emerald Valley and to the south of Gold Camp Road. As it forms the second of four peaks that run east to west along a ridge above Bear Trap Ranch. Vigil Peak is to it’s east with McKinley Peak and Mt. San Luis to the west. The summit cannot be seen along the beautiful Colorado Springs skyline as it hinds behind St. Peter’s Dome to the northeast, but it soon comes into view as you make your way out of the Springs on Old Stage Road. This is a great mountain to climb on a very well maintained trail that rises above Bear Trap Ranch. The views are spectacular. On a clear day you can see the Collegiate Peaks to the west, the Sangre de Cristos to the southwest and the Great Plains to the east, in addition it’s nearby neighbors along the Colorado Springs skyline. It is mostly class I hiking until the final 200 vertical feet that require some route finding over class 3 and low class 4 boulders. Take a half day off of work and enjoy San Luis Peak!
I strongly recommend using the Pikes Peak Atlas for this route. This can be found at the Colorado Springs REI and many local bookstores. I think it is much better than the National Geo. Topo map. Take I-25 from either the north or south to Exit 140. Go south on Rt. 115, which is Nevada Ave. Get off at the westbound Lake Ave exit. Take your second left onto Cheyenne Mt. Rd. and follow this until you come to the sign for the Cheyenne Mt. Zoo, which will be to the left. Go straight through this intersection and take Old Stage Road into the mountains. I strongly recommend using the Pikes Peak Atlas Map from this point. 6.3 miles from the point that Old Stage Road goes from pavement to dirt you will come upon the sign for Bear Trap Ranch. About 0.5 miles prior to this point Gold Camp Road will merge from the right. Take a left into Bear Trap Ranch and follow it’s road past the main entrance sign. Proceed down a hill until the road ends. You will see a “parking” sign to the right, but follow the sign for “registration” to the left. Pass the main office, which will be to your left, and bear to the right at a fork in the road. At the next junction you will see the large and attractive Worden Wrangler’s Lodge to your right. The trailhead is to the right and behind the lodge.
The trailhead for San Luis and Vigil Peaks lies on the private land of Bear Trap Ranch. However, I have personally spoken with the caretakers of the ranch and the camp coordinator and they graciously gave me permission to park on the ranch property at the base of the trail. They enjoy visitors and are fine with hikers climbing nearby peaks. That being said, I would still highly recommend asking their permission if you encounter them as you enter the property. They are very generous in allowing us to use their land and we need to honor that and adhere to the “Leave No Trace” principles.
When To Climb
Any time of the year, but be prepared for deep snow through winter and into the spring. As with any Colorado mountain be mindful of summer afternoon thunderstorms and be heading down before noon.
Camping is not allowed on San Luis Peak unless permission is given by the caretakers of Bear Trap Ranch.
Conditions will be similar to Colorado Springs weather. There is a very well maintained trail starting at Bear Trap Ranch. However, much of your route hides your view to the west where your weather will most likely be moving in from. You will not be able to get a good view in this direction until near the summit ridge.
- bear trap ranch website
This site has an interactive map for the ranch that will help you find Worden Wrangler's Lodge where the trailhead is located.
- Colorado Springs Weather
Local news website for Colorado Springs weather information.