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LoJ: #117 (G & M: #116) / 13,780' Garfield Peak

Range › Sawatch Range
Quadrangle › Independence Pass
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 39° 01' 50.07", W 106° 35' 42.04" (Not Field Checked)
Neighboring Peaks › Peak Icon "Grizzly Peak A" Peak Icon UN 13460

Peak Summary

Garfield Peak is a Class 2 summit by a route out of the upper waters of Lincoln Creek on the west side of Independence Pass. Many climbers combine Garfield with Grizzly Peak - the highest 13er in Colorado, and they are often accessed from McNasser Gulch as well. The trailhead we suggest, near Grizzly Reservoir,  requires 4WD. The two summits combined make for a nice day of typical Sawatch hiking. 

Garfield Pk - West Flank/No. Ridge Route

Class 2
Peak Icon Peak Icon
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
Climbed with "Grizzly Peak A"
RT From Lincoln Gulch - Grizzly Reservoir TH #2: 9.5 mi / 3,220'
RT From Anderson Lake TH with "Grizzly Peak A": 3 mi / 2,580'
  • Trailhead
    • Lincoln Gulch - Grizzly Reservoir TH #2

      Use this trailhead to access the following summits from the west side of Independence Pass: Grizzly, Garfield, UN 13,460, UN 13,090, both Truro summits, UN 13,631, and Petroleum Peak, all of which are located south of Grizzly Reservoir. The trailhead for Tabor Peak can be accessed from the same 4WD road up Lincoln Creek before reaching the reservoir. 

      From the Town of Aspen, drive east up state highway 82 toward Independence Pass. A little past the Grottos TH, turn south (right) and drive down to the Lincoln Gulch Campground. If in a passenger car, you'll need to park here. If coming from the Front Range, drive to either Leadville or Buena Vista and turn onto SH 82 from US 24 at Twin Lakes. Drive up and over Independence Pass. On the west side of the pass, drive on past the Lostman CG, and in just under 4 miles will be the turnoff for the Lincoln Gulch CG. 4WD or vehicles with better ground clearance may then continue ESE for Grizzly Reservoir. This road is identified as CR23 or FS107. Along the first 3 miles to the New York TH, there are numerous, designated, primitive campsites. The road tends to be slow going with potholes, etc., but no real major obstacles. It may take over a half hour to drive the 6 plus miles back to the reservoir. There is a small campground there with toilet facilities called the "Portal" campground.

      Just past the campground, in prior years, we have found a locked gate across the road as it continues south up the valley. Because there are some private holdings further up valley, we've seen some persons with a key to that gate. We've seen the Forest Service keep that gate closed past the 4th of July weekend, depending on snow melt conditions. The gate may also be closed again in early fall. If the gate is open and you have good 4WD clearance, you may continue to drive up valley as far as "Ruby," and the Ruby Mine, right around, 11,400 ft. If the gate is closed, be prepared to walk up to an extra 4 miles, or do as we did one time , and bring mountain bikes and ride up the road as far as you need to go. The bikes won't seem much faster than walking when going uphill, but will speed your return to the campground considerably.

      Alternate Trailhead for Petroleum Pk: See the trailhead description for Tellurium Creek north of Taylor Park Res.


      There are two designated Forest Service campgrounds: The Lincoln Gulch CG and the Portal CG at Grizzly Reservoir. In addition, for the first 3 miles as you drive SE to Grizzly res., there are numerous (over 30?) "designated" primitive spots for camping. These have been marked by the Forest Service. On summer weekends, both campgrounds and all the designated primitive spots can be fully occupied. Seems to be a very popular area. If the road is open south of the Portal CG, there may be some other, usable primitive sites. Both the Portal and Lincoln Gulch CG have vault toilets, but neither has water.

    • From Lincoln Gulch - Grizzly Reservoir TH #2 via Anderson Lake TH

      As indicated in the trailhead description, there may be a locked gate beyond the Portal campground, blocking vehicle access further up Lincoln Creek. It appears that the Forest Service keeps this road closed beyond the Portal CG up until 4th of July weekend, but it all depends on their assessment of road conditions. Therefore, as we said before, if you have a mountain bike(s), you could ride up this road for the 3.25 miles to where the climb for Petroleum Peak begins. This could save considerable time, especially on the return trip. The road, last time we were on it was in generally good condition and not too rugged. Drive, ride or walk this road to these coordinates, where an old jeep track heads off SW for Anderson Lake. N 39° 01' 51.35" W 106° 36' 54.99" Elev. 11,225

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    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Garfield Pk - West Flank/No. Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 1991

    The mileage and elevation gain for this summit are measured from the coordinates provided to begin hiking from the 4WD road up Lincoln Creek. These will be the minimum distance and elevation gain you'll encounter for climbing this summit. Use the same "approach" and coordinates for parking as described for Petroleum Peak. Park off the main road as best you can then walk back north along the main road to the bottom of an open avalanche chute. Head up the chute staying on the right-hand side on the edge of the forest. A ways up, there will be an area of willows in the open chute. Again, stay on the edge or just in the trees on the right side of the chute to avoid the willows. After the willows, you'll encounter some old mine tailings. Continue upward on generally tundra terrain to about 12,650 feet, on the right side of the developing gully. At that elevation, the tundra will begin to thin out. Begin veering upward and to the right (south) aiming to intercept the ridge north of Garfield. The terrain will change over to more talus, scree, embedded rock, etc., and footing a little more of a challenge the remainder of the distance to where you intercept the ridge. 

    Once on the ridge north of the summit, head south, generally along the ridge crest. Depending on where you intercept the ridge, you may find a couple ridge steps where if you stay on the ridge, there will be some light, 3rd class scrambling. At any of these points, you can avoid the 3rd class work by staying on the west side of the ridge and contouring below the crest, then returning back to the ridge after any difficulties have been bypassed. From the summit, Grizzly seems to loom high above, about a mile north on the connecting ridge. It's also possible to reach UN 13,460 by following the ridge south, but it's a long 2 miles. The summit offers expansive views of the Lincoln Creek drainage, and both McNasser and Peeaboo Gulches to the east. 

    Additional BETA

    Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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