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Mountaineering: Colorado > Pike and San Isabel National Forests > San Carlos Ranger District

Quick Facts

St. Charles Peak

Difficulty: Easy From Greenhorn Road
Difficulty: Moderate From Lake Isabel
Elevation Gain: 2,700 Feet (841.6 Meters) From the trailhead sign near Greenhill Divide on Highway 165 to the peak
Elevation Gain: 1,000 Feet (311.7 Meters) From Greenhorn Road
Length, One-way: 5 Miles (8.33 Kilometers) From the trailhead sign on highway 165 to the peak
Length, One-way: 2.5 Miles (4.17 Kilometers) From Greenhorn Road to peak
Length, One-way: 6 Miles (10.0 Kilometers) From Lake Isabel to peak
Summit Elevation: 11,784 Feet (3673.3 Meters) St. Charles Peak summit
Usage: Moderate

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Wild geranium
Copyright: Unknown
Wild geranium
St. Charles Peak can be climbed from three different starting points. Two are easily accessible from Lake Isabel, the other comes from Greenhorn Mountain Road.

Greenhorn Mountain Road
The shortest and easiest access to St. Charles Peak is from Greenhorn Mountain Road 369. Follow this road for about 2.1 miles, at this point an old logging road takes off from Road 369 and peters out after about a mile. Most vehicles will want to park at the junction. It is a little over two miles to the summit. The peak is barely above tree line, dome shaped, with 360 degree views.

Lake Isabel
The other access to the peak is from Highway 165. It is about 6 miles from the Cisneros Trailhead, a mile above Lake Isabel. Day parking is available at Lake Isabel for $3.00. Follow Cisneros Trail to the Saint Charles Trail junction. From the junction, the peak is a short climb up Saint Charles Trail.

Greenhill Divide
One can also reach the peak from the trailhead on Highway 165, which is 2 miles south of Bishop Castle and 4 miles north of the entrance for Lake Isabel. This is a moderate way to do the climb.

Directions from Highway 165: On Highway 165, 2 miles south of Bishop Castle and 4 miles north of the entrance for Lake Isabel you will find the trail beginning. It heads southwest.

Directions from Lake Isabel Recreation Area: Another route is to begin at the Cisneros Trailhead, in Lake Isabel Recreation Area, across from Spruce and Ponderosa Group campgrounds.

Directions from Greenhorn Mountain Road: Take Forest Road 369 2.1 miles to where an old logging road takes off to the east. Most vehicles stop here as the road peters out after about a mile.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Accessible: Mid-June through Mid-October (NOTE: Weather dependent) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: M. Mitten (PUEBLO WEST, CO)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: From highway 165 trailhead, April 7, 2011. 5 miles from parking area to summit. Winter conditions.
Conditions: Snow on the trail, getting deeper with elevation. It snowed fairly consistently on the hike up. I had never been on this trail before. The trail was completely obscured by snow, requiring route finding skills and snowshoes. The summit was very windy, low storm clouds. Hiking out, my own tracks were almost lost to the wind and fresh snow.
Water Availability: I took winter gear (snowshoes, gaiters, snow pants, gloves, balaclava, layered jackets). I needed it all! Could have used goggles, but sunglasses kept the blowing snow and wind out of my eyes for this trip.
Recommended Clothing: On an ascent in winter-conditions, be prepared for the extremes. If you are unsure of your route-finding skills, be honest and turn back if uncertain. Don't forget, in snow you DO leave footprints...but in wind and falling snow they may be gone when by the time you are hiking out. Study your back trail.
Suggested Accessories: snowshoes

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Family Camping La Vista, St. Charles and Southside Campgrounds
ICON Group Picnicking Spruce and Ponderosa Group Campgrounds
ICON Hiking & Walking Cisneros Trail as well
ICON Mountain Biking Cisneros,St. Charles, Snowslide and Pole Creek Trails
ICON Mountain Climbing St. Charles Peak
ICON ATV Riding On Cisneros, Snowslide and Pole Creek Trails
ICON Motorcycle Riding On Cisneros,St. Charles, Snowslide and Pole Creek Trails
ICON Picnicking Lake Isabel Picnic Grounds

More Information

Visitor Information:

Colorado Tourism Office, 1625 Broadway, Ste. 1700 , Denver, CO, 80202, Phone: 800-COLORADO


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