Humboldt Peak in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains of Colorado is considered one of the easier Colorado 14ers, and makes for a fantastic backpacking trip or day hike. This peak is often combined in an overnight trip with Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle (significantly more technically difficult peaks). Here, we will give you everything you need to know to hike Humboldt Peak.
Distance – 11.2 miles round trip (18.02 km)
Height – 14,064 feet (4286.40 m)
Elevation gain – 4,212 feet (1283.82 meters)
Duration – 10 – 12 hours (book time dependant upon trailhead start)
Difficulty – Strenuous
Class: Class 2 Hike
Trailhead Location – South Colony Trailhead (both 2WD and 4WD vehicle options)
Need To Know Information
- The road to the 4wd trailhead is rough, and requires a good clearance vehicle. Recent improvements to the road mean that Subaru Forester like vehicles can also make it to the trailhead with careful driving.
- Dispersed camping is allowed in Sangre De Cristo Wilderness. There are many campsites utilized near at South Colony Lakes, but be sure to read on the rules and regulations here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psicc/recarea/?recid=80754
Hiking Route Options
There is really only one common route to the summit that we will cover in this article.
South Colony Trailhead (4WD) | 11.2 Miles Round Trip (18.02 km) – 4,212 Feet Elevation Gain (1283.82 meters) | Class 2
Hikers begin at the South Colony Trailhead and follow the very well marked path that leads them directly to a forest service access road. Hikers hike on this road for 2.5 miles before reaching the next junction. Here hikers will then bear right towards South Colony Lake. Once reaching the lake, hikers will come across various campsite areas that may make a great overnight spot.
Hikers continue past the first lake and ascend up the very clear and well traveled path to the upper lake. At the upper lake the trail begins to switchback up the steep slope towards the west ridge and saddle of Humboldt. The trail has fantastic switchbacks and gains elevation via a gradual but steep grade due to these switchbacks. Hikers gain the ridge at 12,850 feet. Here, hikers climb along the ridge which remains gradual and simple.
The last .2 miles of the hike the terrain gets a little more difficult in the class 2 range, but still relatively straightforward. Follow cairns and the pretty well traveled path to the summit.
We also created a GPX file of the route that you can download here so that you can make sure the route is in your GPS device or phone.
South Colony Trailhead (2WD) | 16.2 Miles Round Trip (26.07 km) – 5,490 Feet Elevation Gain (1673.35 meters) | Class 2
Camping For Humboldt Peak
There are various camping options available. It is worth noting that camping options for this hike are in the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness, so those regulations need to be followed.
The most common camping areas are by South Colony Lake. This is a busy area with dozens of tent sites with incredible views. Hikers must stay at least 300 feet away from the lake when camping. There are also campsites on South Colony Lakes road.
Fishing South Colony Lakes
Current Weather Conditions:
Here is the detailed weather forecast for the next few days. We highly recommend you check out the mountain forecast for this peak the morning of your hike.
Blowing snow and a chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 20. Wind chill values as low as -1. West southwest wind around 15 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
Blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 2. Wind chill values as low as -17. West wind 15 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Blowing snow before 10am, then blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 13. Wind chill values as low as -22. West wind 30 to 40 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Blowing snow before 5am, then blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers. Partly cloudy, with a low around 5. Wind chill values as low as -18. West wind 30 to 40 mph, with gusts as high as 60 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Blowing snow and a slight chance of snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 22. West wind 25 to 40 mph, with gusts as high as 65 mph. Chance of precipitation is 20%.
Patchy blowing snow. Partly cloudy, with a low around 16. West wind 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as high as 40 mph.
Patchy blowing snow before 1pm. Mostly sunny, with a high near 28. West wind 15 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 35 mph.
Directions & Parking
Directions To South Colony Lakes 4WD Trailhead:
Directions to 2wd Trailhead:
Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued his frequent adventures in the mountains, always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about