Humboldt Peak

Westcliffe, Colorado 81252

Humboldt Peak

Humboldt Peak Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Humboldt Peak is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains approximately 10 miles southwest of the town of Westcliffe. The peak itself is one of the high points along a long east–west ridge that stretches across the entire width of this narrow range. Broad and striking, Humboldt looks more like a volcano than it does a Rocky Mountain peak when viewed from afar, more consistent with a Sawatch Range peak than a craggy, rugged Sangre peak.

The summit views of the Crestones and Broken Hand Peak to the south make this peak a worthwhile objective in and of itself, but there is also some great skiing to be had on its southeast side. When you add it all up, climbing and skiing Humboldt on a sunny spring day is an adventure well worth your while."

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Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Colorado's Incredible Backcountry Trails (Rincon Publishing)
David Day
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"Humboldt, on its own, is not a particularly notable peak. It is a relatively easy climb with no challenging obstacles and only one well traveled route. It is, however, located in a spectacular part of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and therein lies its attraction. The hike to the top of Humboldt Peak passes some of the most notable mountain scenery in Colorado, including the South Colony Lakes, Crestone Peak, and the Crestone Needle. The 5-mile jeep road to the trailhead is a daunting obstacle that must be surmounted before even beginning the hike, but a surprising number of people each year are willing to endure the grueling drive to reach the incredible basin that surrounds the South Colony Lakes. Probably more than half of the visitors are serious mountaineers that come for the express purpose of climbing one or both of the Crestones. But many also climb Humboldt just for the opportunity to study their primary goal from above. And, after all, Humboldt Peak is one of Colorado’s fabled fourteeners. It is Colorado’s thirty-eighth highest peak, only 133 feet lower than the Crestone Needle."
Hiking Colorado's Sangre de Cristos and Great Sand Dunes (Falcon Guides)
Jason Moore, Revised by Lee Hart
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"A popular trail to one of Colorado’s easier 14,000-foot peaks with great summit views. This trail is mostly above the tree line, exposing hikers to thunderstorms and severe weather. Start this climb as early as possible to avoid the typical daily summer storm cycles."

Humboldt Peak Trip Reports

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Drove up to the 4WD trail to the first stream crossing. (a moderate clearance 2WD car should be able to make it up this) This is where the road will close after September of this year. From there the hike to Colony Lakes is very straightforward, mostly on road. The road changes to a trail at the Crestone mine. We set up camp near Colony Lakes, just at the trail junction to Crestone Needle. After crossing to the north side of the creek, the trail up the peak is very obvious and well maintained. It's easy to lose the trail on the talus, but follow the ridge up to the false summit, skirt that to the right a bit and voila!, the true summit is another 5 - 10 minute hike from there. Views are amazing, especially of Crestone Peak and Needle. Can easily be done as a one day hike from the upper 2WD trailhead, but we were there to do more than one peak, and returned to our camp at Colony Lakes.
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Details and pics: Scenery is awesome. I confirmed last week (6/11/08) with the San Isabel National Forest that the 4WD road up to the trailhead is going to be closed in the fall of 2009. The road will be closed about 2.5 miles below.

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Trail Information

Nearby City
4,114 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Skill Level
Year-round. Best mid-March to late April.
9,950 feet
Trailhead Elevation
14,064 feet
Top Elevation
Additional Use
Trails Illustrated #138: Sangre De Cristo Mountains / Great Sand Dunes NP; USGS: Crestone Peak.
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Trail Log