The kaleidoscope summit of Grizzly Peak

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The kaleidoscope summit of Grizzly Peak

Tall San Juan thirteener to be respected
Climbers are nestled among protective boulders on Grizzly’s small crest. Twelve peaks over 14,000 feet can be seen from this vantage point. Seen here are El Diente Peak, Mount Wilson and Wilson Peak.
Walk northerly on-trail to Grizzly Meadows. Off-trail, ascend northwest to a prominent couloir. At the top of the gully climb north on a social trail to the peak. Return as you came or take the more challenging blue-line route down the south ridge.

The kaleidoscope summit of Grizzly Peak

Climbers are nestled among protective boulders on Grizzly’s small crest. Twelve peaks over 14,000 feet can be seen from this vantage point. Seen here are El Diente Peak, Mount Wilson and Wilson Peak.
Walk northerly on-trail to Grizzly Meadows. Off-trail, ascend northwest to a prominent couloir. At the top of the gully climb north on a social trail to the peak. Return as you came or take the more challenging blue-line route down the south ridge.
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Trail basics

Travel: In a four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicle with sturdy tires, from Durango drive north on U.S. Highway 550 and turn left at Purgatory Resort. Measure from the base of the hill. Advance to the upper parking lot. At 0.3 mile, turn right on Hermosa Park Road, Forest Service Road 578. There is a small brown sign marking this dirt road. At 3.2 miles, go right staying on Hermosa Park Road. At 3.6 miles, turn right on Relay Creek Road, Forest Service Road 579. The main road branches left at 3.9 miles. At 4.8 miles, go right on Cascade Divide Road, staying on FSR 579. The rocky road is riddled with tire-sucking divots and gigantic potholes. The switchbacks start at 13.8 miles. There is room for several vehicles at the end of the road at 15.4 miles. Allow 1 hour, 15 minutes driving from Purgatory.

Distance and Elevation Gain: 7.0 miles, 3,000 feet of vertical

Time: 5½ to 7 hours

Difficulty: Trail, off-trail; navigation challenging; no exposure on couloir route; Class 3 with mild exposure on the south ridge route; this hike is exposed to electrical storms, so pick a day with a dependably clear forecast.

Maps: Ophir; Engineer Mountain, Colo. 7.5’ USGS Quads