Climbers Gathering

"Climbers Gathering" to be held Friday, Feb. 23 at Camp George West, Bldg. 48 in Golden from 5:30 - 10:00 PM. This informal event is open to the public and intended mostly for Colorado peakbaggers, whether it be 14ers, 13ers or other summits. Please RSVP to: [email protected]. Bring your own food and beverage.


LoJ: #575 (Pre-LiDAR #587) / 13,090' Snowdon Peak

Range › San Juan Range
Quadrangle › Snowdon Peak
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 37° 42' 28.35", W 107° 41' 20.28" (Not Field Checked)
Neighboring Peaks › Peak Icon "N 2" [UN 13046/South Snowden]

Peak Summary

Snowdon Peak is a mostly Class 2 hike with some brief Class 3 as you approach the summit, located in the expansive, West Needle and Molas Pass area. It combines easily with UN13,046 (N 2) for a day hike with easy passenger vehicle access that will get you back with plenty of time for pictures and dinner. Expect expansive views of the San Juans, especially of the central group of the Needle Mountains. Lidar increased elevation by 13 feet.

Snowdon Peak NE Ridge Route

Class 3
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
Climbed with "N 2"
RT From Andrews Lake: 6mi / 2,350'
  • Trailhead
    • Andrews Lake TH

      If coming from Montrose-Ouray-Red Mountain Pass, drive on down US 550 to Silverton and do not go into the town. Rather continue right at the junction just west of town and head uphill on US 550 as it switchbacks and climbs to Molas Pass. At the 10,899 ft. pass, (where there's a large visitor pullout area with vault toilets), drive south and west on US 550 for .9 mile to the signed turnoff for Andrews Lake. The one-lane, paved road to the lake is just over .6 mile to the lower parking area, which is intended for day-use only. There is another fork to this road that heads uphill to a higher, and very large parking area that's intended for overnight horse-packing groups, backpackers and others staying longer term. There are picnic tables here and vault toilets. If climbing for the day of backpacking to Crater Lake, use this higher lot.

      If coming from Durango on US 550, drive to Coalbank Pass, where there are pullouts for day use hikers on either side of the road. Continue driving north on US 550 for an additional 6.4 miles, first dropping in elevation to about 9,800 ft. at a sharp bend in the highway, then gaining steadily back up to the turnoff for Andrews Lake. The turnoff is signed. If you arrive at the summit of Molas Pass, you missed the turnoff. Turn around, drive back down .9 mile and drive on in and follow the directions above for parking.


      Primitive and designated camping opportunities abound in the area. There is a Forest Service campground and trailhead at Little Molas Lake (west of the highway and just north of Molas Pass). The City of Silverton maintains a campground at Molas Lake where you can also find pay showers. The upper parking lot at Andrews Lake we have spent several nights in sleeping in the back of our pickup. There is no tent camping there.

    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Snowdon Peak NE Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2008

    If parked in the upper parking lot at Andrews Lake, hike down to the lake and find the trailhead at the NW corner of the lake near some vault toilets. The trail starts out paved as it goes around the west end of the lake and turns to gravel after crossing the lake outlet. This is trail #623. It goes to Crater Lake. Once on the south side of the lake, it begins climbing uphill through forest on a series of gentle switchbacks, gaining about 400 feet in elevation. This is a well used trail. Continue up 5 switchbacks and then start keeping watch for the trail that cuts off for Snowdon Peak. The turnoff used to be marked by a large cairn. The trail will be on the left (east) side of the main trail for Crater Lake. According to a report from Eddie Mack in 2023, the cairn has been removed and there is now a trail register near where the trail for Snowden turns off. . These coordinates should be close to that turnoff: N37° 43' 15.82" W107° 42' 26.31". You can see this turnoff on Google Earth. This trail to Snowdon will take you past some small tarns, crossing a couple of very minor ridges and to a large, grassy meadow where the trail may fade some. Re-enter a stretch of forest at N37° 43' 10.95" W107° 42' 01.90" and hike to another smaller meadow and on the left side of that meadow, begin the real ascending for the day.
    Follow a large, grassy couloir up to a saddle north of Snowdon Peak and south of UN 12,628. This involves about 1,000 feet of gain. It's never particularly difficult. At the saddle, turn southward and follow the ridge SW to another saddle. The trail stays to the left side of the ridge across ledges. As the ridge levels, slabs of rock appear. Continue following a cairn-marked trail that will lead off the main ridge and onto the east side of the mountain. This is to avoid some more difficult obstacles farther up the ridge. Contour across the east face some, losing perhaps a little elevation and then contour a little more. Begin heading up with some serious ascending, at times on some very steep terrain of combined rock and tundra that requires some 3rd class scrambling. At this point, it's easy to get off any designated route and you may miss the intended access, but continue working upward. At one point, we followed a rubble-filled gully that had beautiful clumps of columbine. Either work back to the NE ridge either just below the summit or emerge onto the summit from the east side of the mountain, depending on route taken. It took us two hours from the lake to arrive at the summit and we found it to be a fairly large, flat area.

    The views from this summit are impressive. The lone summit of Engineer Mtn. will certainly attract your attention, but to the east is the sea of summits that form the Needle Mountains. If you have good map reading and navigation skills, you can pick out any number of 13er summits. Once done admiring the view, either return as you came or continue on to UN13,060/N 2 to the south. We also call this South Snowdon.

    Additional BETA

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