Humboldt Peak

Humboldt Peak. Photo Credit: Meniscus – OutThere Colorado.

Humboldt Peak, the 37th highest mountain in Colorado, sits nestled in the rugged Crestone peaks in the Sangre de Cristo Range. The 14,064-foot mountain is named for Alexander von Humboldt, a famed German geographer and explorer in the early 1800s. Humboldt Peak, first climbed by a surveyor in 1883, is a moderate climb up its West Ridge from South Colony Lakes. Most of the 10.6-mile ascent follows a closed road to the lakes and then climbs a switch-backed trail to the ridge. A short scrambling section leads to the summit. The peak offers stunning views across the valley of Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle, two of Colorado’s hardest Fourteeners, and Kit Carson Peak.

Pro Tips

  • Humboldt Peak is not a technically difficult mountain to climb, but it is still a long and serious ascent. The trail gains 4,200 feet in 11 miles from the upper four-wheel-drive trailhead and 5,350 feet in 16.5 miles from the lower trailhead. The route is rated Class 2, with occasional rough trail sections. It’s considered an introductory climb for the harder Sangre de Cristo peaks.
  • Most climbers take two or three days to climb Humboldt Peak and one of the Crestones. They usually backpack to Upper South Colony Lake and camp overnight. The lakes have good fishing for cutthroat trout. It’s a fast hike from camp to summit, usually taking two to three hours to ascend and another one to two hours to descend. If you spend three days at the lake, climb the Needle the first day and Humboldt the second, before packing out.
  • Most of the route up Humboldt is in the 219,776-acre Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area, with regulations and restrictions for camping, campfires, party size, and dogs—they must be leashed at all times. Camping is not allowed within 300 feet of lakes and 100 feet from streams. Follow a Leave No Trace ethic: dig a cat hole for human waste; don’t shortcut trails; and store food in bear containers.
  •  Recommended season(s): Year-round.

    —Stewart M. Green


    Get OutThere

    Signup today for free and be the first to get notified on new updates.

    (0) comments

    Welcome to the discussion.

    Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
    Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
    Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
    Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
    Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
    Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.