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LoJ: #522 (G & M: #520) UN 13153 UN 13153 B

Quadrangle › Horn Peak, Crestone Peak
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 38° 00' 48.02", W 105° 36' 53.94" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

An easy, half-day summit when accessed from Willow Lake. Could also be accessed from North or South Crestone Lakes as well. Backpack in to Willow Lake and spend a few days climbing several higher neighboring peaks including two 14ers, Mt. Adams and three, tri-centennial 13ers.

Willow Lake Access Route

Class 2
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Willow Lake Trail: 15.6 mi / 5,300'
RT From Willow Lake: 6 mi / 2,600'
  • Trailhead
    • Willow Lake Trail Trailhead

      From the town of Crestone, from the second stop sign, turn right on Galena. Follow the gravel road 1.5 miles to a location where 2WD vehicles can park. 4WD vehicles can proceed another .75 mile to the trailhead parking. South Crestone Lake trail #860 heads out straight ahead. Willow Lake trail # 865 veers to the right and crosses the creek.


      Primitive sites are available along FR949 once you get on Forest land. Be careful about private property through here, especially on the south side of the road. Some limited car camping at the trailhead.

    • From Willow Lake Trail TH via Willow Lake

      Last visited this trail in 2002. At that time, there was no official bridge crossing Crestone Creek at the TH. We were able to get across on fallen logs, but in higher runoff, you may have to wade. After crossing the creek from the TH, the trail climbs east up an open hill, then begins a series of switchbacks through forest, crosses a ridge and then contours up valley, well above Willow Creek. As the trail approaches a large waterfall it climbs on switchbacks more steeply, heading in a more southerly direction, crosses Willow Creek below the waterfall on a log bridge, and climbs steeply up an area of rubble as it turns back to the east and begins to level out as it approaches the beautiful Willow Lake. A scenic waterfall plunges into the far eastern end of the lake. Overall, this is a moderately strenuous backpack. Trail is maintained and easy to follow except where it crosses back over Willow Creek above the waterfall and a little before the lake.

      Note: Expect high weekend traffic at the trailhead because this is an access for climbing Challenger and Kit Carson and has become very popular.


      Main camping on the approach is at Willow Lake. In keeping with FS camping policies, campsites are located away from the lake and along the northern side, somewhat elevated above the lake. Also, there are sites well before reaching the lake on the hike in. Watch for FS signs designating where to camp. Camping locations may have changed due to FS regulations since our last visit in 2002.

      Note: This area has become very popular with the 14er bagging crowd. Competition for campsites at Willow Lake on weekends may result.

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    Peak Icon Route Map

    Route Info Willow Lake Access

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2001

    From the Willow Lake campsites back from the west end of the lake, hike east to the lake and follow the trail on the north shore until you're about 1/3rd of the way around the lake. Some trails leading up to the north to some campsite areas can provide access through the trees to a steeper, open, grassy slope. Gain over 400 vertical feet to where the valley begins to open up and flatten out some. Proceed through willows (you may want to cross the stream here if running to the west side to get above some willows), and continue north walking through abundant wildflowers to the Mt. Adams/UN13,546 saddle. The last 400 feet to the saddle will involve some scree. At the saddle, it's probably best to lose about 500 feet elevation as you continue hiking north, dropping into the basin above South Crestone Lake. This will keep you out of a huge rock field of loose boulders on the west face of Mt. Adams. In earlier season, some snowfields may expedite the descent with ice axe help.

    Once down in the basin, continue north to the saddle between Mt. Adams and UN13,153 on mostly easy tundra. At the saddle, turn NW and follow the ridgeline to the summit, avoiding one minor rocky outcrop. Hiking will be mostly tundra, some small scree and a little rock. The summit area is a gently sloping tundra-covered area with great views of the Crestone Lakes to either side. Both lakes appeared to offer some nice camping. A scree slope from near the summit can be taken for a quick descent south back to the basin above South Crestone Lake.

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