Huron Peak (14,003 ft)
14er Peak Rank #52/53
Barely qualifying as a 14er by only three feet, Huron Peak – featured on Colorado 14ers Map 7 of 16 – still beats out Sunshine Peak (at 14,001 ft) down in the San Juan Mountains, staving off last place amongst Colorado’s mountain giants. Though it is nearby some of the other Collegiate Peak 14ers (Missouri, Belford and Oxford), it is on a separate flank of the range and is not usually climbed on the same day as the others (it is less popular than some of others too.)
The origins of the name Huron Peak are murky, but likely originally stems form the Huron native American tribe (whether named after the tribe itself or named after something/place named after the tribe). Though a group of Huron Indians were relocated to the Ohio Valley in Kansas in 1842, there is no indication of their presence in Colorado. As with Missouri Mountain about 3 miles due east, it was not named by the US Geological Survey until 1956.
Flight for Life Colorado is an organization that provides critical care transport with a fleet of five helicopters, assisting with transferring patients to and between facilities as well as mountain rescue and search and rescue assistance. In 1994, a hiker in the area of Huron Peak broke an ankle, and a helicopter was called to the scene. While approaching for landing, the helicopter blades touch the slope and crashed and rolled 800 feet down them mountain. Both the pilot – Gary McCall – and flight nurse – Sandy Sigman – were unfortunately killed in the crash. A memorial plaque can be seen in the nearby ghost town of Winfield en route to the Huron Peak Trailheads.
Flight for Life helicopter similar to one that crashed on Huron, “Flight For Life Colorado” (CC BY 2.0) by bkkrause
The standard route leaves from either the lower Winfield trailhead for low clearance 2WD vehicles, just south of the ghost town of Winfield (10,270′ elevation) and follows the 4WD road to the end at the South Fork Clear Creek Trailhead (10,600′ elevation). From here, the Class 2 (more difficult hiking) trail begins south and east before turning east and beginning a series of steep switchbacks through the forest before getting to the tree line at 12,000′ after 1.6 miles. From here the trail continues due east into the basin before turning southeast for a series of switchbacks to the summit. From the 4WD trailhead, the trail is 3.3 miles with a net elevation gain of about 3,400′.
Some of the more adventurous may try to climb Huron Peak from the east side from Clohesy Lake, but despite a trail being shown in some maps (possibly a very old, unmaintained trail that is no longer followable), this is a primitive route and not for most beginner hikers.
Huron Peak is a fun Sawatch 14er right on the edge of the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, and if you decide to climb this peak, please remember to drink plenty of water, know your physical limitations, watch the weather for sudden changes and don’t forget your 14ers maps and compass! Huron Peak is one of the six fourteeners featured on Outdoor Trail Maps Colorado 14ers Series Map 7 of 16.
Directions to Trailhead:
To get to the ghost town of Winfield, take Chaffee County Road 390 for 11.8 miles west from US Hwy 24 (about 1.75 miles south of the small town of Granite, CO). The low-clearance 2WD trailhead is just south of Winfield on the left, where as the 4WD continues on for about 2 more miles to the South Fork Clear Creek Trailhead and the beginning of the trail.
14ers Series Maps
14ers Map 7 of 16: Columbia, Harvard | Belford, Huron, Missouri, Oxford