Weston Pass Wishbone

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall
Time Required:
Half a day
Steep Class 2

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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Weston Pass Wishbone
Created On: Jul 22, 2009
Last Edited On: Jan 2, 2012


After winding under buzzing high tension wires, this route begins suddenly, steeply up the southwest slopes of the ridge between Ptarmigan Peak and Weston Peak. After leaving the parking area the hiker quickly ascends more than 1,000 feet in about 1 mile. Topping out on the ridge, the hiker will enjoy a walk in the sky between these two peaks with unobstructed views the entire time on the ridge. The cirque crested by Point 13,525 is a rugged, special treat in these otherwise gentle, rounded mountains.
Welcome to Weston PassWelcome to Weston Pass

This wishbone-shaped route takes in two Colorado thirteeners, Ptarmigan Peak and Weston Peak, and treats the visitor to breathtaking views. After the initial steep climb, this route will keep your hiking team high above timber line for most of the outing. Keep a close eye on the sky and be prepared to bail quickly should weather threaten.

Roundtrip Distance: 4.25 miles
Elevation Gain: 2200 ft net gain (cumulative gain is quite a bit more)
YDS Rating: Class 2

Getting There

Mosquito Range from Weston Pass RoadMosquito Range from Weston Pass Road

From Fairplay
  • Leaving Fairplay southbound on Hwy 285, follow Hwy 285 for less than 5 miles.

  • Look for signs to County Road 5 / Weston Pass Road and follow this road to the west.

  • The road changes numbers/markings a few times, but continue to follow signs towards Weston Pass.

  • A sign will mark your arrival at the summit of Weston Pass.

When dry, this route is suitable for all passenger cars.
From Leadville
  • Leaving Leadville southbound on Hwy 24, follow Hwy 24 for approximately 8 miles and look for signs to County Road 7 or Weston Pass Road.

  • Follow Weston Pass road east and then southeast toward the summit of Weston Pass.

  • This route gets narrow, moderately rocky and steep in sections.

  • A sign will mark your arrival at the summit of Weston Pass.

This route is best suited to high-clearance vehicles only. 4x4 strongly recommended.

Click on images to enlarge.

Route Description

  • Leaving the pass, head generally northwest under the buzzing high tension wires.

  • A faint footpath can be followed briefly to the foot of the steep slope to the ridge.

  • As the topo lines on your map constrict, follow the lung-busting, relentless climb to the top of the ridge.

  • Topping out on the ridgeline, you have only one mile to go to the summit of Ptarmigan Peak.

  • Bypass Point 13,525 to its west on the grassy ridge and head almost due north.

  • Ascend the boulders and talus to the summit of Ptarmigan Peak, marked by a large summit cairn and pole.

Hump on the ridge to westonHump on the ridge to weston

  • Descend Ptarmigan Peak, retracing your steps heading almost due south, and again bypass Point 13,525.

  • About 1.5 miles from the summit of Ptarmigan Peak, ascend a small bump.

  • The ridge then turns east-southeast and begins to narrow pleasantly and your next target, Weston Peak, is clear in front of you.

  • Follow the grassy northwest upper slope of Weston Peak, reaching the talus and scampering the last few feet to the top.

  • The summit is a broad expanse marked by black-and-white mottled boulders.

Beginning the steep descentBeginning the steep descent

  • After enjoying the views, descend the northwest slope and re-cross the pleasant sky bridge to the hump.

  • After crossing over the hump, turn southwest and descend steeply back to Weston Pass.

  • Keen eyes may find a cross made of white rocks on these slopes.

Cross on Weston Peak SlopeCross on Weston Peak Slope
Small purple flowers on Weston PeakSmall purple flowers on Weston Peak

Route Map

Weston Pass Getting There Map

Essential Gear

  • Trail map (Trails Illustrated #110: Leadville / Fairplay would meet most needs)

  • Compass

  • Sturdy hiking boots

  • Water and snacks

  • A camera to save memories of the high country views

  • First aid kit

  • Other standard backcountry essentials
Crossing the ridge to Weston PeakCrossing the ridge to Weston Peak