A day-climb route of Hunts Peak is difficult to find due to private property issues on the east side of the range out of the Arkansas Valley. The nearest trailhead on that side (Bear Creek) would require a 20 plus mile day. The Kerr Gulch would require even more. On the west side of the range, the trailhead we describe here is the best one-day climbing approach to Hunts, but requires a 4WD with good clearance. Most stock SUV's should be able to access along with perhaps some carefully driven crossover types, but don't hold us responsible for damages. In addition, the route associated with this trailhead takes you through a recent burn area. Because the old road up S. Rock Creek has been closed off, we expect this route to become overgrown and difficult to follow in the coming years.
To reach the South Rock Creek trailhead, if approaching from the north on US285, drive south over Poncha Pass watching for County Road Uu52. The turnoff will be shortly past there. So from the pass, measure about 4.8 miles to a dirt road turnoff on the east side of the highway that immediately circles around an abandoned gravel pit. If coming on US285 from the south, measure just under 10 miles to the same dirt road while driving north from Villa Grove. Across the highway on the west side is another dirt road that maps show leading to "Alder." This turnoff is difficult to spot and if coming from the north, you'll have to turn across traffic, which can be heavy and dangerous. Coordinates are: N 38° 22' 10.65" W 106° 02' 19.80".
Once on the dirt road follow it down to the east to another intersection where you will bear right and descend to a crossing of San Luis Creek. You may have to pass through a closed gate (be sure and leave it closed after passing through) then drive up a steep, short hill to a multiple road intersection. You may encounter yet another closed gate. Of the three most visible forks, take the right most. This should put you on FR980. Coordinates are: N 38° 22' 22.93" W 106° 01' 46.39". Follow 980 SE for 1.2 miles to a crossing of Decker Creek. This section of road is not too bad. Just on the other side, there will be another intersection. Stay left. Coordinates: N 38° 22' 14.93" W 106° 00' 47.28". The other road, FR982, we found to be less used, rockier and more difficult to follow. Staying on FR980 is a better choice and easier on your vehicle. Follow FR980 NE for 2 miles to the Wilderness Boundary and another intersection. The road diminishes in quality, passes through some scrub oak that may scratch your paint and becomes rockier, but is still easy to follow. On the way up, there may be yet another closed Forest Service gate. Farther up, you'll pass a very nice campsite on the left on a rounded ridge just above the road. This is where you'll first encounter some trees - aspen and ponderosa. At the intersection, turn right onto a road that parallels a diversion ditch and which contours SE to South Rock Creek. This is FR982. There's another good campsite just after you make the turn. After that campsite, it's about another .8 mile to where you'll park. This section of road appears to be kept clear for servicing the ditch and since it runs nearly level, has few hazards of any kind. Just before it makes a drop down to cross S. Rock Creek, there's a small area on the right where about two vehicles can park or use this for a turnaround.