Uncompahgre Peak

Uncompahgre Peak (/ənkəmˈpɑːɡr/ (listen)) is the sixth highest summit of the Rocky Mountains of North America and the U.S. state of Colorado. The prominent 14,321-foot (4365.0 m) fourteener is the highest summit of the San Juan Mountains and the highest point in the drainage basin of the Colorado River and the Gulf of California. It is located in the Uncompahgre Wilderness in the northern San Juans, in northern Hinsdale County approximately 7 miles (11 km) west of the town of Lake City.

Uncompahgre Peak
Uncompahgre peak.jpg
Uncompahgre Peak from the west
Highest point
Elevation14,321 ft (4365.0 m)[1]
Prominence4277 ft (1304 m)[2]
Isolation85.0 mi (136.8 km)[2]
Coordinates38°04′18″N 107°27′44″W / 38.0716581°N 107.4620893°W / 38.0716581; -107.4620893Coordinates: 38°04′18″N 107°27′44″W / 38.0716581°N 107.4620893°W / 38.0716581; -107.4620893[1]
Uncompahgre Peak is located in Colorado
Uncompahgre Peak
Uncompahgre Peak
LocationHigh point of Hinsdale County, Colorado, United States[2]
Parent rangeHighest summit of the
San Juan Mountains[2]
Topo mapUSGS 7.5' topographic map
Uncompahgre Peak, Colorado[3]
Easiest routeHike (class 2)

Uncompahgre Peak has a broad summit plateau, rising about 1,500 ft (500 m) above the broad surrounding alpine basins. The south, east and west sides are not particularly steep, but the north face has a 700 ft (210 m) cliff. Like all peaks in the San Juan Mountains, Uncompahgre is of volcanic origin, but is not a volcano. The rock is of poor quality for climbing, precluding an ascent of the north face.

The most popular route for climbing Uncompahgre Peak is Uncompahgre National Forest Service Trail Number 239, which starts from the end of the Nellie Creek Road, east-southeast of the peak. The Nellie Creek Road is a four wheel drive road accessed from the Henson Creek Road, about 4 miles (6.4 km) west of Lake City. The trail to the summit is a strenuous hike rising 2,919 ft (890 m) in elevation in about 3.5 mi (6 km). It accesses the summit in a winding ascent, starting from the east, passing over a south-trending ridge, and finishing on the west slopes of the summit plateau.[4]

The peak's name comes from the Ute word Uncompaghre, which loosely translates to "dirty water" or "red water spring" and is likely a reference to the many hot springs in the vicinity of Ouray, Colorado.[a]

Uncompahgre Peak (center) and the San Juans from Slumgullion Pass, July 2002

Historical namesEdit

  • Mount Chauvenet - 1873[6]
  • Unca-pah-gre Mountain
  • Uncompahgre Mountain
  • Uncompahgre Peak – 1907 [3]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "UNCOMPAHGRE". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d "Uncompahgre Peak, Colorado". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved January 2, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Uncompahgre Peak". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved November 14, 2014.
  4. ^ Louis W. Dawson II. Dawson's Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, Volume 2. Blue Clover Press. pp. 115–126. ISBN 0-9628867-2-6.
  5. ^ Jarom McDonald (ed.). "The itinerary and diary of Francisco Atanasio Domínguez and Francisco Silvestre Vélez de Escalante". Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
  6. ^ Ruffner, E. H. (1884). Reconnaissance in the Ute country. Letter from the Secretary of War, transmitting a report and map of a reconnaissance in the Ute country, made in 1873 by Lieutenant E. H. Ruffner, of the Corps of Engineers. Ex. Doc. No. 193. Washington D.C.: U.S. House of Representatives. pp. 31, 42. Retrieved 2022-02-09.


  1. ^ In the journal of Francisco Silvestre Vélez de Escalante's 1776 expedition[5] the author states that the Native American name for the Uncompahgre River was Ancapagari, which translated to Spanish as Laguna Colorado and referred to a hot, bad tasting, red lake from which its waters came. The Spanish name for the river at that time was Rio de San Francisco, apparently so named by explorer Juan Maria de Rivera on one of his two earlier expeditions (1761 and 1765).

External linksEdit