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Sunshine Mountain - 13 Things to Know Before Visiting

1 Day Treks
Mountain Peaks

About Sunshine Mountain

Sunshine Mountain is the highest peak in San Miguel county, which is densely forested with conifers and aspen and is home to a variety of wildlife. Sunshine mountain is a popular destination for hikers and campers, who can enjoy scenic views of the surrounding area from the summit. The mountain is also popular with rock climbers, who come to test their skills on challenging cliffs. In addition to its natural beauty, Sunshine mountain also has a rich history.

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Hotels near Sunshine Mountain

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Things to Do at Sunshine Mountain

In Sunshine Mountain, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The trail system offers hiking for all skill levels, with options for both day hikes and overnight trips. For those who love the great outdoors, there are plenty of opportunities to fish, camp, and stargaze. There are also several historic sites to explore, including an old mining town and a ghost town. And of course, no visit to Sunshine Mountain would be complete without taking a scenic drive or enjoying a picnic under the sun. Whether you're looking for adventure or relaxation, Sunshine Mountain has something to offer. So come on up and enjoy all that this special place has to offer.

History of Sunshine Mountain

Sunshine Mountain is located in San Miguel county, Colorado. The mountain was originally named by miners who settled in the area in the late 1800s. The miners were attracted to the area because of the deposits of silver and other minerals that could be found in the mountain. In addition to mining, the settlers also began to ranch and farm in the area. The town of Sunshine slowly began to grow, and by the early 1900s it had a population of nearly 500 people. However, the town began to decline after World War II, and by the 1970s it was nearly abandoned. In recent years, Sunshine Mountain has undergone a revitalization, and it is now home to a number of businesses and resorts. Despite its small size, Sunshine Mountain is an important part of Colorado's history.

Best Time to Visit Sunshine Mountain

The best time to visit Sunshine Mountain is in the summer months, when the weather is warm and the wildflowers are in bloom. However, visitors should be aware that the area can be crowded during peak season. 

Tips for Visiting Sunshine Mountain

  1. Check the weather conditions before you go and plan accordingly. Sunshine Mountain is known for its unpredictable weather, so it's important to be prepared for anything.
  2.  Bring plenty of water and snacks with you. There are no places to stop and get food or drink once you start climbing, so it's important to pack enough for the entire trip.
  3. Start your hike early in the day. This will help you avoid the afternoon crowds and give you more time to enjoy the views.
  4. Be sure to take a break once you reach the top of the mountain. The views are incredible, but it's important to rest before starting your descent.
  5. Remember that sunscreen is just as important in the mountains as it is at lower elevations. The sun can be very strong at high altitudes, so be sure to protect your skin from its rays.
  6. Be respectful of the wildlife. Do not approach or feed the animals, as they may view you as a threat.
  7. Be cautious when exploring off-trail areas. Stick to well-marked trails to avoid getting lost or damaging the fragile ecosystem.

Interesting Facts and Trivias About Sunshine Mountain

  1. Sunshine Mountain was originally named "South Warning Peak" by surveyors from the General Land Office in 1874. 
  2. Sunshine Mountain is one of only two fourteeners (peaks with an elevation of over 14,000 feet) that are entirely located within the state of Colorado. 
  3. Despite its relatively low elevation, Sunshine Mountain is home to a variety of alpine plant and animal life, including ptarmigans, marmots, and avalanche lilies. 
  4. The summit of Sunshine Mountain offers panoramic views of some of Colorado's other iconic peaks, including Mount Sneffels, Wilson Peak, and El Diente Peak. 
  5.  In addition to hiking and climbing, visitors to Sunshine Mountain can enjoy activities such as bird watching, wildflower hunting, and stargazing. 
  6. Dogs are not allowed on trails within the Lizard Head Wilderness area (including those leading to Sunshine Mountain), but there are several dog-friendly trails nearby.
  7. The mountain is home to one of Colorado's oldest working mines, the Idarado Mine, which operated from 1877 to 1978. 

How Much Time Did Visitors Spend at Sunshine Mountain

trails. The maximum time required to explore Sunshine Mountain is 4 hours. This includes time for taking pictures, enjoying the scenery, and doing some light hiking.

How to Reach Sunshine Mountain

To reach Sunshine Mountain, take Highway 62 west from Montrose for about 30 miles. Then turn left (south) onto 6000 Road and continue for about 8 miles. Finally, turn right (west) onto FR 12 and continue for about 6 miles to the trailhead. 

Entrance Fee of Sunshine Mountain

Yes, there is an entrance fee to explore Sunshine Mountain. The fee is $5 per person per day. You can pay the fee at the trailhead or at the ranger station. The fee helps to maintain the trails and facilities at Sunshine Mountain.

Opening Hours of Sunshine Mountain

Sunshine Mountain  is open seven days a week from 9:00 AM. to 4:00 PM. 

Attractions Near Sunshine Mountain

Lizard Head

Lizard Head

2.89km from Sunshine Mountain

Lizard Head is a mountain peak in the San Miguel Mountains of southwestern Colorado. The peak is named for its resemblance to a lizard's head, and it is one of the most distinctive peaks in the state. The summit of Lizard Head is reachable by hiking and scrambling, and the views from the top are truly spectacular. The peak is home to a variety of plant and animal life, and it is a popular destination for camping, rock climbing, and backpacking.

Wilson Peak

Wilson Peak

4.44km from Sunshine Mountain

Wilson Peak is a majestic mountain in San Miguel County, Colorado. Standing at 14,017 feet tall, it is one of the tallest mountains in the state. The peak is covered in snowfields and glaciers, making it a popular spot for climbers and hikers. Wilson Peak is also home to an abundance of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, elk, and deer. The mountain provides breathtaking views of the surrounding area, including the nearby town of Telluride.

Wilson Mesa

Wilson Mesa

5.41km from Sunshine Mountain

Wilson Mesa is a large mesa located just east of the town of Telluride and south of the San Juan Mountains. The mesa is about 12 miles long and 6 miles wide. It is covered in grassland and forest. There are several hiking trails on the mesa. The Mesa has an elevation of 9,200 feet. The climate is cool and dry. The average rainfall is less than 10 inches per year. Winters are cold with occasional snowfall. Summers are warm with occasional thunderstorms.

Lizard Head Pass

Lizard Head Pass

5.8km from Sunshine Mountain

Lizard Head Pass is located in San Miguel County, Colorado. The pass is situated between the towns of Telluride and Rico, and provides access to the Lizard Head Wilderness area. The pass is named for the Lizard Head peak, which is visible from the pass and is a popular destination for climbers. The pass itself is fairly easy to hike, with a gradual ascent and a few switchbacks. However, the trail can be extremely rocky in places, so hikers should be sure to wear proper footwear.

Trout Lake

Trout Lake

5.96km from Sunshine Mountain

Trout Lake is a picturesque lake located in San Miguel County. The lake is fed by the Crystal River and is surrounded by evergreen trees and mountain peaks. It is a popular destination for fishing, camping, and hiking. The lake is home to rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, and brown trout. The lake also has a variety of birds and other wildlife. Visitors can enjoy scenic views of the lake from the shores or from one of the many hiking trails that wind through the area.

Palmyra Peak

Palmyra Peak

9.67km from Sunshine Mountain

Palmyra Peak is an imposing mountain in the San Miguel County. Standing at an elevation of 14,017 feet, it is one of the tallest peaks in the region. The mountain is known for its beautiful views and its challenging hiking trails. There are several routes to the summit, ranging from easy to difficult. The most popular trail is the Palmyra Peak Trail, which starts from the town of Telluride. The trailhead is located at an altitude of 9,500 feet, and the hike to the summit takes about 6-8 hours.

Discover More Attractions in San Miguel County, Home of Sunshine Mountain

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 Sunshine Mountain