Hiking Stewart Peak in Colorado: A Great San Juan 13er
Stewart Peak is one of the centennial thirteeners – the tallest 100 summits in the state. It’s also a great southern climb in the San Juan mountains for anyone looking for a quiet class 2 route. It’s located near San Luis Peak, so you can climb both peaks over the course of a weekend to get the most out of your time in the area. Here’s my advice and route info for hiking Stewart Peak, a fantastic Colorado thirteener.
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Climbing Stewart Peak: Facts Facts
Hiking Stewart Peak - East Ridge Route
The trailhead is little more than a small dirt parking lot off the road at a bend. From the corner of the road, walk west into the unmarked trailhead and locate a trail beyond the final parking spots. It is very faint. Follow it southwest. It can be hard to follow at times, but you can find it if you lose it if you keep following the creek.
2 miles into your hike the trail becomes even harder to follow. Reach a creek coming from the north, turn right and walk around 150 feet, before crossing it to the west. Continue along Nutras Creek.
Next you’ll come to a small boulder field. Follow a faint trail through the rocks to the other side. Continue along the creek until you reach an elevation of around 11,800 feet. This is a good time to stop for a quick snack before you start your climb in earnest.
You now need to reach the east ridge of Stewart Peak, the large mountain rising above you. Turn right from the creek and begin to climb up the steep slope through some trees and bristlecone pines. Keep moving northwest until you reach the ridge proper, above 12,300 feet.
Once on the ridge, stop to check the weather conditions before you continue to the summit. You still have more than 1,600 feet of elevation gain to go. The route from here out is pretty obvious. You need to veer left to avoid one rugged section around 13,100 feet, before you regain the ridge proper. Climb through some final rocky sections before you reach a final easy slope bringing you to the summit of Stewart Peak.
From the top of the mountain, enjoy the views and your accomplishment! Be sure you descend with plenty of time to reach tree line before afternoon thunderstorms become a significant hazard. I hope you found my route guide helpful and informative for hiking Stewart Peak. Safe travels on the trail!
Alex is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.