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BLM>Colorado>Field Offices>Gunnison>Recreation> Hiking Information>Hiking Trails>Silver Creek Trail
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Silver Creek Trail

Length: 5.7 miles to Sunshine Peak
Difficulty: Moderate walking at high altitude
Season of use: July through October
Amount of Use: Moderate hiking
Elevation Change:
  Beginning: 10,425 ft.
  Ending:
     Sunshine Peak 14,001 ft.
     Redcloud Peak 14,034 ft.

Location Map

Topo Map

How to Get There: From Lake City, take Highway 149 south, 2.5 miles. Turn right onto the road to Lake San Cristobal. Follow paved road approximately 4 miles, then continue on dirt road for 8.3 miles to the fork in the road.  Take the right fork (the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway) and drive another 4.2 miles to the trailhead. The trail sign, located on the left, reads "Redcloud Peak."

Trailhead Parking/Camping: Parking and a restroom are available at the trailhead. Camping is permitted at the trailhead but it is preferred that you carry your equipment away from the parking area and camp along the trail in the trees away from the road. Camping at higher elevations is possible in the basin. Please camp below 12,400 ft.


Photo of Silver Creek Trail looking west to Handies Peak
Photo by Arden Andersoncopyright


Attractions: This trail leads to the heart of the Redcloud Peak Wilderness Study Area. Redcloud and Sunshine Peaks are two of the easiest 14,000 foot peaks to climb in Colorado. A third 14,000 foot peak (Handies Peak, 14,048 feet) can also be visited by hiking the Grizzly Gulch Trail located across the road from the Silver Creek Trailhead. To visit all three peaks would require two days of hiking.

Narrative: The trail goes from the parking area, along the west side of the Silver Creek drainage for 3 miles to the head of the basin. From there the trail steepens on its way to a saddle northeast of Redcloud Peak. From the saddle the trail climbs steeply up the ridge to Redcloud. Be sure to stay on the maintained trail for easier hiking and to avoid erosion problems. At times the trail above timberline, leading through a broad tundra valley, may be faint in places so it is also marked with cairns. From Redcloud the trail continues for another mile along the ridge to Sunshine Peak.

Hazards/Considerations: At a saddle just north of Sunshine Peak, you can see where some hikers have descended a shortcut to the South Fork of Silver Creek. This route is not recommended. Steep terrain and loose talus make the downhill route dangerous. A much safer alternative is to retrace the route you came up on.

It is important to be prepared for typical July and August afternoon thundershowers. It is best to get an early start and plan to be off the peaks by noon or 1:00 p.m. Be sure to take sunscreen, rain gear and drinking water. Remember, hiking at high altitude requires more time and energy. Take your time, enjoy the scenery and avoid overexertion. Be sure someone knows where you are going and when you plan to return.


Silver Creek Trail Location Map

 


Created by the Bureau of Land Management, Colorado
Point of Contact:
Jim Lovelace

Last modified: January 6, 2011