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#191 / 13,598' Electric Peak Electric Peak A

Quadrangle › Electric Peak
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 38° 10' 54.70", W 105° 42' 29.88" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

In 1996, we did a backpack trip up the South Brush Creek trail that combined Electric Peak with De Anza, Gibbs and Marcy. A high camp up S. Brush Creek puts you in close proximity to all four summits. This is a classic, Sangre de Cristo ridge walk that never exceeds Class 2 hiking. As is often the case with this range, high winds can be expected much of the year. The main problem is the trail access. The east side of this range has numerous private property rights that limit access. For these peaks, if accessing from the east side of the range, you'll need to choose either the Gibson Creek TH or the Ducket Ck. TH, both accessible by passenger car driven carefully. The Ducket Creek access will save perhaps a little over a mile. Both access points utilize the Rainbow Trail before intersecting the S. Brush Creek Trail. When we did this trip in 1996, we were able to gain access from the Verdemont Road by way of permission to cross some private property. More recent reports indicate that this area is now frequently posted with "No Parking" and "No Trespassing" signs. If you attempt to come in from that access, do so at your own risk.

There are usable reports on Lists of John for these peaks. John Kirk did a 21 mile, one-day loop that took him from the Gibson Ck. TH to Lakes of the Clouds, Silver, Marcy, Gibbs, De Anza and Electric, then down S. Brush Creek to the Rainbow Trail and back to Gibson. He has way more energy than us! Follow our links to these peaks on Lists of John to read those reports.

Electric Peak A SSE Ridge Route

Class 2
Peak Icon Peak Icon Peak Icon
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
Climbed with Gibbs Peak + Mount Marcy
RT From Gibson Creek TH: 23 mi / 6,400'
RT From End of Rainbow Trail A Approach with Gibbs Peak + Mount Marcy: 3.5 mi / 1,900'
  • Trailhead
    • Gibson Creek TH

      From the Town of Westcliffe: Alternate A: Drive north on HWY 69 and in about a mile, turn west onto CR170 (Hemenway Road) which will first head NW, then west. CR170 will take a brief jog to the north and then back to the west at CR175. Continue west and make another jog to the north at Pines Rd. then back to the west again. At a "Y" intersection, turn left onto CR171, (Ute Mesa Trail, but the Forest Service map seems to identify this as FR173. There should also be a Forest Service sign here for the Gibson TH.) driving through open fields and homes to CR172 (N. Taylor Road) where you will turn right (west), then head SW to the trailhead. The road officially ends in a short circle. A road continues on to private property. A trail heads north from this trailhead location to intersect the Rainbow trail (N38° 08' 28.87" W105° 36' 04.92").  There is private property all along this access. Please be respectful. At the bottom of all this description is a link to the San Isabel NF trailhead description for Lake of the Woods Trail and the Gibson Creek TH.

      Alternate B: From the main intersection of Highways 69 and 96 in Westcliffe, drive south on 69 .3 mile and turn west (right) onto Hermit Road (CR160). Drive 5.9 miles west and then the road will turn north to intersect CR172. Hermit Road becomes Sampson Ridge Road as it switchbacks to make the connection, passing residences and ranches and working around "The Hogback." At CR172, turn left to finish the short drive to the TH. It's another 1.5 mile to the trailhead from the turn off Hermit Road. The last .2 mile on 172 may be rough and rutted according to one more recent source. Passenger cars may have some difficulty. If you're unable to park at the trailhead parking, park back along the road but be respectful of private property.

      For another trailhead access to either South or North Brush Creeks, see the Ducket Creek TH, which is about 5 miles north on the Rainbow Trail of the S. Brush Creek trail and probably has less unnecessary elevation gain and loss. Look under our trailhead listing.

      For an alternate access to the west side of the Sangre de Cristo Range and peaks in the same areas as Lake of the Clouds, try the "Cotton Creek" trailhead. Look for that name under the Trailhead listings. We have never used this trail, but it does show on the Rio Grande National Forest map and the Trails Illustrated Map # 138. The link below goes to the Rio Grande National Forest description of the trail:

      http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/riogrande/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=29310&actid=50

      Forest Service description of Lake of the Woods Trail and Gibson Creek TH: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psicc/recreation/recarea/?recid=12756&actid=104 


      Camping

      Since there is so much private property along the access to the Gibson trailhead, we do not advise camping. Even at the TH, there is private property close by. You may be able to camp right at the TH but probably nowhere else on the way in.

    Approach Map
    • Via Rainbow Trail A

      This approach description begins at the Gibson Creek Trailhead (which makes it longer than the Ducket TH) because we have actually been to and used the Gibson TH. The approach goes north on the Rainbow Trail for 6.2 miles before turning west up the South Brush Creek Trail for another 3.5 miles to a possible campsite. Because the Rainbow Trail crosses so many drainages, there is a lot of cumulative elevation gain and loss over that 6.2 miles resulting in an estimated 2,200 feet of unnecessary gain before reaching the S. Brush Creek Trail. If coming from the Ducket TH, we estimate 1,200 feet of unnecessary elevation gain and about 5 miles to the S. Brush Creek turnoff. Pick you poison.

      From the Gibson Creek TH, head NNW on a lesser trail to gain the Rainbow Trail and continue north on the Rainbow through the numerous and tiring ups and downs. Turn west up the signed South Brush Creek trail (6.2 miles and up to 3 hours with packs) which works its way steadily up the valley. The trail intersection is signed and has a register. Hike through forest to the Goat Creek crossing (usually a trickle) and then climb more steeply a half mile up to a ridge, then drop down to South Brush Creek. You may have to search for a place to cross the creek, especially in higher runoff season. Regain the trail on the north side and head west up the valley. The trail will from this point on stay on the north side of the creek and usually a good distance from it. Our 1996 visit found the trail in good shape - not too rocky or worn. The middle section of this trail was the steepest and slowest. Hike/backpack to the last trees around timberline and look for a campsite as described in the Camping section.


      Camping

      At some of the last trees near timberline, at about 11,600 - 11,700 feet, we found a good campsite about 100 yards north of the creek, in a little "hollow" protected on 3 sides by trees and on the fourth side by the mountain slope. If it's windy, this is a somewhat protected location. Sorry - don't have GPS coordinates of the exact location. The location provided on the Google Earth photo is only a guess.


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    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Electric Peak A SSE Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 1995

    From timberline and/or a high camp, continue hiking up the South Brush Creek trail to the central ridge at the trail crosses just above 12,800 ft. the trail works through mostly tundra with some rock. Turn north and hike over Pt. 13,060 and drop north to a saddle at 12,820 ft. Continue hiking NW to the easy summit of Electric Peak which has a nice view looking down onto Banjo Lake, nestled in a bowl a thousand feet below. This final section is still mostly tundra, embedded rock and some rubble. Since this part of the range is less frequented by human visitors, you may have some wildlife viewing opportunities including elk, bighorn or mountain goats.

     For the return, retrace your route back to your S. Brush Creek campsite or continue hiking the central ridge south to De Anza Peak.

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