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12 Mountain Peaks to explore in La Plata County

La Plata County

La Plata County is one of the 64 counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. The county is home to Durango Rock Shelters Archeology Site, the type site for the Basketmaker II period of Anasazi culture.

Chicago Basin
Chicago BasinChicago Basin, Colorado 81122, USA

Chicago Basin in the northern part of La Plata County is undoubtedly one of the premier hiking areas in Colorado. It lies within the Weminuche Wilderness, part of the San Juan National Forest. The basin is a popular destination in summer for climbers and backpackers. The standard route of access to Chicago Basin is somewhat unusual.

Hesperus Ski Area
Hesperus Ski Area9848 Highway, US-160, Hesperus, CO 81326, USA

Hesperus Ski Area is 8,880 feet above sea level. 80% of the skiable terrain is lighted for night skiing. It has 13 runs, of which 30% are beginner difficulty, 20% are intermediate and 50% are of expert difficulty. It also features one rope tow and one double chair lift. There is also a full service snack bar, ski and snowboard rentals, ski and snowboard lessons and a tubing hill.

Jupiter Mountain
Jupiter MountainJupiter Mountain, Colorado 81122, USA

Jupiter Mountain is Colorado's 92nd highest peak. Jupiter sits at the head of Needle Creek and shares the remote Chicago Basin with four fourteeners--South Mount Eolus, North Mount Eolus, Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak--so it is an often overlooked mountain by those who venture into Chicago Basin. Jupiter Mountain also boasts some fun snow climbing on the mountain's north side. As these routes are snow climbs, they are best done in winter or spring when there's good snowpack.

La Plata Canyon
La Plata CanyonCo Rd 124, Hesperus, CO 81326, USA

La Plata Canyon is located west of Durango in the San Juan National Forest area of southwest Colorado. Rugged mountains and snow-melt waterfalls await visitors to this verdant, river-cut canyon.Although this trail is not singletrack, it offers nice views and wildflowers the further up you go, making the climb worth it. This trail is approximately 9.25 miles in length from the main parking area and gains over 2,800 feet.

Middle Mountain
Middle MountainMiddle Mountain, Colorado 81122, USA

Middle Peak is a high and prominent mountain summit in the San Miguel Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,306-foot peak is located in the Lizard Head Wilderness, 17.1 miles west-southwest of the Town of Telluride, Colorado, United States, on the drainage divide separating San Juan National Forest and Dolores County from Uncompahgre National Forest and San Miguel County.

Mount Eolus
Mount EolusMt Eolus, Colorado 81122, USA

Mount Eolus is a high mountain summit of the Needle Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. It is one of three fourteeners in the Needle Mountains; the others are Sunlight Peak and Windom Peak. These mountains are among the most remote of Colorado's fourteeners and have a strong wilderness character.

Mount Oso
Mount OsoMt Oso, Colorado 81122, USA

Mount Oso is a high and prominent mountain summit in the San Juan Mountains range of the Rocky Mountains of North America. The 13,690-foot peak is located in the Weminuche Wilderness of San Juan National Forest, 30.8 miles northeast of the City of Durango in La Plata County, Colorado, United States.

Pigeon Peak
Pigeon PeakPigeon Peak, Colorado 81122, USA

Pigeon Peak, elevation 13,978 ft, is a summit in the Needle Mountains, a subrange of the San Juan Mountains in the southwestern part of the US State of Colorado. This Peak is notable both for its absolute height and for its local relief. It is the 57th highest independent peak in Colorado, narrowly missing the well-known list of fourteeners. The standard route is not technically difficult, but it is long and requires a little-hiked wilderness approach.

Smelter Mountain
Smelter MountainSmelter Mountain, Colorado 81303, USA

Smelter Mountain is part of the La Plata Mountains range which is a subset of the Rocky Mountains of North America. Smelter Mountain rises over 1,200 ft above the town, and the lower slope of the mountain was home to the Durango smelter, hence the name of the mountain. A 1.2 mile hiking trail leads to the summit, and other recreational activities include hunting and paragliding.

Sunlight Peak
Sunlight PeakSunlight Peak, Colorado 81122, USA

Sunlight Peak, the 39th highest, is one of three 14ers located deep in the rugged Needle Mountains of Southwestern Colorado. The standard route up Sunlight Peak is from the south, known as the "Red Couloir". It is a non-technical scramble, but achieving the top of the summit block does require an exposed rock climbing move.

Turret Peak
Turret PeakTurret Peak, Colorado 81122, USA

Turret Peak is the highest of three Turret Peaks in Colorado, the 89th highest peak in the state and less than a half mile southeast of Pigeon Peak. It was named because of its interesting rock faces and turrets and is the highest of the Turret Needles. The summit provides a great view of Pigeon Peak's east face and the Grenadier Mountains to the north.

Windom Peak
Windom PeakWindom Peak, Colorado 81122, USA

Windom Peak is the 34th highest peak in Colorado and is part of a group of three fourteeners- Sunlight, Windom, and Eolus. The mountain was named in honor of Minnesota senator William Windom. It have a strong wilderness character; however they can be popular in summer.

Map of Mountain Peaks to explore in La Plata County