Redcloud, Sunshine attractive Colorado fourteeners, but Sundog scramble deserves its due

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Redcloud, Sunshine attractive Colorado fourteeners, but Sundog scramble deserves its due

The footpath switches steeply up the north slopes of Redcloud Peak. The grade decreases when the trail turns south to take a direct ridgecrest shot at the carmine cloud house.
From the 14,034-foot summit of Redcloud Peak, the trail can be seen following the ridge to Sunshine Peak, elevation 14,001 feet. Sundog is the mountain with the flat backbone.
The initial climb on Sundog’s backbone is steep with some easy scrambling.
Sundog’s southeast ridge levels out but gets a bit narrow. Sunshine Peak, Colorado’s lowest fourteener, is behind the climbers.
Rich Butler stands on the ridge between Sunshine Peak and Sundog, the more difficult of the two.
The route is a clockwise loop that incorporates two fourteeners on the way to Sundog. The trail goes over Redcloud and terminates on Sunshine. Sundog is off-trail to the west.
Travel Basics

Travel From Durango Via Cinnamon Pass: In a four-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicle, in Silverton drive up the main drag to the northeast end of town. Zero-out your trip meter as you make a soft right onto San Juan County Road 2. The dirt road is good at first but degenerates to a slow, rocky surface. In 11.5 miles, half a mile before reaching Animas Forks, go right toward Cinnamon Pass. At 11.8 miles, stay right. At 12.1 miles, there is a sign where the roads to Engineer Pass and Cinnamon Pass diverge. Make a sharp switchback to the right. The track is steep, narrow and rocky. Reach the pass, elevation 12,640 feet, at 14.3 miles. Negotiate four tight and ledgy switchbacks. At 16.1 miles, continue straight at the spur road to American Basin. Reach the Silver Creek Trailhead at 20.4 miles. There is an outhouse but no water. Allow 2 hours, 15 minutes to 2 hours, 45 minutes from Durango.
Travel Via Lake City: Drive about two miles south on Colorado 149 and turn right on County Road 30, the Alpine Loop, toward Lake San Cristobal and Cinnamon Pass. Zero-out your trip meter. After 12.5 miles, the track becomes rough. and between 13 and 14.5 miles, it is a shelf road. The Silver Creek Trailhead is just shy of 16 miles, with a large parking lot on the right. When it is dry, two-wheel-drive vehicles with good clearance should be adequate. Allow an hour from Lake City.
Distance and Elevation Gain: 10.8 miles, 4,860 feet of vertical for the three-summit circuit. Redcloud and Sunshine without Sundog is 12.2 miles with 4,800 feet of climbing.
Time: 7 to 8 hours
Difficulty: Redcloud and Sunshine are on an excellent trail with easy navigation. The Sundog circuit is off-trail; navigation moderate; mild exposure
Map: Redcloud Peak, Colorado 7.5 USGS Quad

Redcloud, Sunshine attractive Colorado fourteeners, but Sundog scramble deserves its due

The footpath switches steeply up the north slopes of Redcloud Peak. The grade decreases when the trail turns south to take a direct ridgecrest shot at the carmine cloud house.
From the 14,034-foot summit of Redcloud Peak, the trail can be seen following the ridge to Sunshine Peak, elevation 14,001 feet. Sundog is the mountain with the flat backbone.
The initial climb on Sundog’s backbone is steep with some easy scrambling.
Sundog’s southeast ridge levels out but gets a bit narrow. Sunshine Peak, Colorado’s lowest fourteener, is behind the climbers.
Rich Butler stands on the ridge between Sunshine Peak and Sundog, the more difficult of the two.
The route is a clockwise loop that incorporates two fourteeners on the way to Sundog. The trail goes over Redcloud and terminates on Sunshine. Sundog is off-trail to the west.
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