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Vermilion Peak - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting

1 Day Treks
Mountain Peaks

About Vermilion Peak

Vermilion Peak is a mountain in San Miguel County. It is the highest point in the Chicago Basin, and is part of the San Juan Mountains. The mountain was named for its reddish-brown color, which is caused by iron oxide in the rocks. The summit of Vermilion Peak can be reached via a trail that leads from the Needle Creek Trailhead. The trail is approximately eight miles long, and takes most hikers about four to five hours to complete.

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Things to Do at Vermilion Peak

Vermilion Peak is one of the most popular summits in the San Juans and it offers something for everyone. The trail is short and easy, making it great for a quick hike or an overnight camping trip. The views from the summit are stunning, and on a clear day you can see all the way to the continental divide. If you're looking for a challenge, you can try your hand at peak-bagging and climb all three of Vermilion's sub-peaks. And if you're lucky, you might even spot some wildlife along the way. Whether you're a seasoned hiker or a first-time visitor, Vermilion Peak is sure to leave you with lifelong memories.

History of Vermilion Peak

Vermilion Peak is the highest mountain peak in the San Miguel County of Colorado. The history of this mountain goes back to the early days of European exploration when it was first climbed by members of a French expedition in 1743. The French named the peak after the vermilion color of the mineral anthracite that they found on its slopes. For many years, Vermilion Peak was considered to be one of the most challenging mountains to climb in Colorado due to its remote location and difficult terrain. However, in recent years it has become a popular destination for mountaineers and hikers due to its stunning views and unique geological features. Despite its popularity, Vermilion Peak still retains its wild and rugged character, making it an unforgettable place to explore.

Best Time to Visit Vermilion Peak

The best time to visit Vermilion Peak is during the summer months, from June to August. During this time, the weather is warm and there is minimal chance of precipitation. The views from the summit are also particularly stunning during this time of year. 

Tips for Visiting Vermilion Peak

  1. Start your hike early in the morning to avoid crowded trails and afternoon thunderstorms. Be sure to wear sunscreen and hats, as the sun is intense at high altitudes.
  2. Bring a map and compass, as cell phone reception is spotty at best in the mountains.
  3.  Be aware of your surroundings at all times and stay on the trail to avoid getting lost.
  4. Start early: The trail to the summit of Vermilion Peak can be crowded, so it's best to start your hike early in the day. This will also help you avoid afternoon thunderstorms, which are common in the area.
  5.  Be prepared for cold weather: Even in summer, temperatures can drop sharply near the peak of Vermilion Peak. Make sure you pack a jacket or sweater for the descent.
  6. Stick to the trail: Help preserve the wilderness area by staying on the marked trail at all times. wander off-trail could result in getting lost or damaging fragile vegetation.
  7. Be respectful of other hikers: Remember that you're sharing the trail with other hikers, so be considerate and yield to hikers who are passing you from behind. Also, please refrain from making loud noise out of respect for others who might be enjoying the solitude of nature.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Vermilion Peak

  1. Vermilion Peak stands at an impressive 14,262 feet, making it the tallest peak in the San Miguel Mountains. 
  2.  The peak gets its name from the reddish-brown mineral deposits that can be found in the area. 
  3. wildflowers can be found blooming in profusion on Vermilion Peak in late summertime.
  4. In winter, Vermilion Peak is a popular destination for backcountry skiers and snowboarders searching for untouched powder. 
  5. Every year, hundreds of people gather at Vermilion Peak to watch the sunrise on New Year's Day - a truly magical experience!
  6. Once on the summit, climbers are rewarded with breathtaking views of the nearby Rockies, including El Diente, Mount Wilson and Wetterhorn Peak.

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Vermilion Peak

While it is possible to reach the summit in a day, most people allow two or three days for the round-trip journey. This allows ample time to enjoy the stunning views and rest after summiting the peak. It also gives hikers time to acclimate to the altitude, which is crucial when undertaking any strenuous activity at high altitudes. 

How to Reach Vermilion Peak

There are several ways to reach the summit, but the most popular route is via the Bear Creek Trail. The trailhead can be reached by taking a short drive up Bear Creek Road. From there, it is a relatively easy hike to the top, with an elevation gain of just over 2,000 feet. The trail is well-marked and well-maintained, making it a good choice for hikers of all experience levels. 

Entrance Fee of Vermilion Peak

While there is no entrance fee to explore Vermilion Peak, there is a parking fee of $5 per vehicle. 

Opening Hours of Vermilion Peak

Due to its popularity, the peak can become crowded and access is limited to certain hours. During the summer months, the peak is open from 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM. From October 1st to Memorial Day weekend, the hours are reduced to 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The peak is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.

Attractions Near Vermilion Peak

Golden Horn

Golden Horn

0.69km from Vermilion Peak

The Golden Horn is a mountain peak in the San Miguel county of Colorado. Standing at an elevation of 12,943 feet, it is the highest point in the state. The peak is located in the San Juan National forest and is part of the Weminuche Wilderness. The Golden Horn gets its name from its golden-hued cliffs, which attract climbers from all over the world. In addition to its stunning views, the peak is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep and elk.

Fuller Peak

Fuller Peak

0.73km from Vermilion Peak

Fuller Peak is a mountain in San Juan County, Colorado. It is located in the San Juan Mountains, west of the town of Silverton. The peak is named for geologist John C. Fuller, who surveyed the area in the late 19th century. Fuller Peak is a popular destination for hiking and backpacking, and offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. The peak is also home to a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, and bighorn sheep.

Fuller Lake

Fuller Lake

1.35km from Vermilion Peak

Fuller Lake is a man-made body of water created in the early 1900s by damming the Fuller River. The lake is used for irrigation and recreation, and is a popular spot for fishing, swimming, and boating. The Fuller River flows into the lake from the north, and out of the south end of the lake. The lake is located in a canyon, and has steep cliffs on its north and south sides. There are several campgrounds and picnic areas along the shores of the lake, as well as a boat launch.

Ulysses S. Grant Peak

Ulysses S. Grant Peak

3.38km from Vermilion Peak

Ulysses S. Grant Peak is the highest point in San Juan County, Colorado. The peak is located in the San Juan Mountains, just south of the town of Silverton. The peak was named for Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States. Grant served as Commanding General of the Union Army during the American Civil War and was later elected President. The peak has an elevation of 14,093 feet and is located in the federally-designated Weminuche Wilderness Area.

San Miguel Peak

San Miguel Peak

3.86km from Vermilion Peak

San Miguel Peak is the highest point in San Miguel County. with an elevation of 14,093 feet. The peak is located in the San Juan Mountains, about 10 miles north of the town of Telluride. The area around the peak is popular for hiking, camping, and backpacking. There are several trails that lead to the summit, ranging from easy to difficult. The summit offers stunning views of the mountain range and the surrounding valleys.

Clear Lake

Clear Lake

4.79km from Vermilion Peak

Clear Lake is a small, natural lake located in San Juan County, Colorado. The lake is fed by several small creeks and springs, and it is surrounded by evergreen trees and meadows. Clear Lake is a popular spot for fishing, camping, and hiking, and it is also home to a variety of wildlife, including beavers, otters, and birds. The lake is located at an elevation of 9,600 feet, and it has a maximum depth of 30 feet. clear water that reflects the mountains and sky.

Discover More Attractions in San Miguel County, Home of Vermilion Peak

San Miguel County

San Miguel County

20 attractions

San Miguel County is located in the southwestern corner of Colorado. It is home to the towns of Telluride, Mountain Village, and Norwood. The county is well-known for its scenic beauty, and it attracts visitors from all over the world. Outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, skiing, and camping are popular in the area. The county also has a rich history, and there are many sites of interest for history buffs. In recent years, the county has become increasingly popular as a destination for wed

Where is Vermilion Peak