Hiking Wetterhorn Peak, Colorado – Trail Map, Pictures, Description & More

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Article Categories: Hiking
Article Tags: Camping | CO 14er | Colorado | Day Hikes

Wetterhorn Peak is an incredibly stunning Colorado 14er in the San Juan Mountains that sits adjacent to Lake City and Uncompahgre Peak. This Class 3 peak features exposure, stunning meadows, incredible views, and a is a great hike to practice for some class 4 hikes in the near future. We will cover everything you need to know to hike Wetterhorn Peak.

Distance – 6.8 miles round trip (10.94 km)
Height – 14,015 feet (4271.77 m)
Elevation gain – 3,300 feet (1005.84 meters)
Duration –  7-9 hours (book time dependant upon trailhead start)
Difficulty – Strenuous
Class: Class 3 Hike
Trailhead Location – Matterhorn Creek Trailhead

 

Quick Navigation:
Routes | Trail Map | Camping Info | Weather | Directions | Pictures

 

Need To Know Information

    • Wetterhorn Peak’s main trailhead is 4wd, but there are 2wd options as well which are discussed below.
    • Dispersed camping is allowed in Uncompahgre Wilderness, but be sure to read on the rules and regulations here: https://wilderness.net/visit-wilderness/?ID=618
    • This is a class 3 hike with solid exposure, so it should only be completed by those that have experience dealing with other class 3 mountains.

 

Hiking Route Options

There are several routes that all take hikers to WIlson’s Southwest Ridge. We will explain all of these options below. All three routes feature the same class 3 route to the summit which features fun scrambling, exposure, and great views. The route is well traveled, and well cairned, making route finding relatively simple, but of course preparation and route finding skills need to be used for this hike.

 

Matterhorn Creek Trailhead (4WD) | 6.8 Miles Round Trip (10.94 km) – 3,300 Feet Elevation Gain (1005.84 meters) | Class 3

This is the most common starting point for hiking Wetterhorn Peak and features an easy to follow and gradual gain approach towards Wetterhorn Peak. Hikers follow a very well traveled trail into the basin which quickly rises above treeline and has incredible views of the peaks surrounding the basin. Matterhorn Peak is visible very early on, and Wetterhorn becomes visible as hikers continue into the basin.

At about 12,000 feet, hikers bear left into the basin. The hike is very straightforward, and gradually gaining until this point. Hikers switchback up through boulders on steeper trail through this portion but end up on the saddle of Wetterhorn’s southeast ridge. This is when this hike begins to get more difficult. Once gaining the saddle, the route becomes more difficult with rock scrambling, and route finding skills being helpful.

The trail does have Cairns and is well traveled, but paying attention to the route is necessary here. Pictures of this route are below to help guide you.

 

Matterhorn Creek Trailhead (2WD) | 8 Miles Round Trip (12.87 km) – 3,730 Feet Elevation Gain (1136.90 meters) | Class 3

This is the same route as a bove, but hikers park at the 2wd trailhead and walk about .6 miles and 425 feet of elevation gain along the 4wd road to the 4wd trailhead.

 

Wetterhorn And Uncompahgre Combined | 16.3 Miles Round Trip | 6,350 Feet Elevation Gain

Many hikers will also choose to combine both peaks from the Matterhorn Creek Trailhead. This is a fantastic long day hike / trail run option.

 

 

Trail Map

Wetterhorn Peak Trail Map - Colorado

 

Camping For Wetterhorn Peak

 

There is not a ton of great camping options for Wetterhorn. There are campsites along the first 9 miles of the road to the trailhead as well as some one North Henson Creek Road. This area is heavily camped in due to people using all terrain vehicles on these roads.

Backcountry camping is also available. See rules and regulations for the Uncompahgre Wilderness.

 

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.

 

Ouray, CO

This Afternoon
Sunny, with a high near 46. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph.

Tonight
Clear, with a low around 29. East wind 10 to 15 mph.

Sunday
Sunny, with a high near 47. Southwest wind 10 to 15 mph.

Sunday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 31. West southwest wind 10 to 15 mph.

Monday
A chance of snow showers and a chance of thunderstorms between noon and 5pm, then a chance of thunderstorms and a chance of rain and snow showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 46. West southwest wind around 10 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

Monday Night
Partly cloudy, with a low around 32. New snow accumulation of less than half an inch possible.

Tuesday
A chance of snow showers and a slight chance of thunderstorms after noon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 45. Chance of precipitation is 30%.

 

Directions & Parking

 

Directions To Matterhorn Creek Trailhead:

 

Additional Pictures

4WD Trailhead

4WD Trailhead

Wetterhorn Peak 2WD Trailhead

Wetterhorn Peak 2WD Trailhead

Route over rocks near Wetterhorn Peak Summit

Route over rocks near Wetterhorn Peak Summit

Wetterhorn Summit Views

Wetterhorn Summit Views

Trail just before summit of Wetterhorn

Trail just before summit of Wetterhorn

Rock slab near summit

Rock slab near summit

The steepest part of Wetterhorn Peak

The steepest part of Wetterhorn Peak

Views near treeline and Matterhorn in view

Views near treeline and Matterhorn in view

Views from saddle

Views from saddle

Junction at 12,000 feet where hikers need to bear left

Junction at 12,000 feet where hikers need to bear left

Max DesMarais
Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of Hiking & Fishing. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor 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. You can read more about him here: hikingandfishing/about

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