Middle Peak is a high mountain located in southwest Colorado. It rises majestically from an isolated little group of three mountains at the very western edge of the San Juan Mountains. Middle Peak is located in the San Miguel Mountains, and is also part of the Lizard Head Wilderness and the San Juan National Forest. The other two members of the group include the 13,290’ Dolores Peak, and the 12,595’ Dunn Peak. Middle Peak and its two neighbors live a quiet existence in the shadow of the famous Wilson Group 14ers. Located far from the major population centers along the Front Range, and containing no Centennial Peaks, this relatively unknown mountain group receives little attention and few climbers. However, these mountains make worthy climbing objectives for anyone willing to venture off the beaten path.
Middle Peak has a listed elevation of 13,261’ on topo map. However, that isn’t the true summit of the mountain. The true summit is an unnamed point on the ridge just east of Middle Peak. The highest contour line for this point is 13,280’, making the highest possible elevation for Middle Peak 13,319'.
From the famous Lizard Head Pass on Colorado 145, drive about five miles south, then turn right onto the scenic Forest Road 535. The road starts heading uphill immediately on a narrow switchback. After about two miles, the road reaches a scenic plateau. You’ll get your first glimpse of Dolores Peak from here. After about eight miles, the road reaches the Burro Bridge Campground. Continue west on the road for another two miles. You will then reach a road junction. Dunton is located just south of the junction. Turn right at the junction onto Forest Road 611, also known as the Black Mesa Road. This road heads for the Groundhog Reservoir. Drive northwest about five miles on this road. The road then makes a sharp left turn as it crosses Fish Creek. You will then see a rough side road on the left bank of Fish Creek. Drive up this side road a short distance and park. The elevation here is 10,000’.
Contact the Dolores Ranger District for the latest information. Their number is 970-882-7296.
Forest Service Map: San Juan National Forest Map.
Topo Maps: Dolores Peak; Groundhog Mountain.
Primitive camping is allowed in the area in accordance with Forest Service policy. The Burro Bridge Forest Service Campground is located along Forest Road 535 near Dunton.