Peak(s):  Unnamed 13811  -  13,811 feet
Unnamed 13832  -  13,832 feet
American Peak  -  13,806 feet
Jones Mountain A  -  13,860 feet
Niagara Peak  -  13,807 feet
Crown Mountain  -  13,569 feet
"North Crown Mountain"  -  13,599 feet
Date Posted:  06/26/2020
Date Climbed:   06/20/2020
Author:  kwhit24
Additional Members:   jbradish
 Lake City Centennial Weekend   

Lake City Centennials

The San Juan Mountains just seem endless. The number of high peaks is staggering and honestly overwhelming for those trying to hike them all. We don't get to make many trips there from Denver but when my hiking partner told me he was heading to Moab on Sunday night so I suggested we head to the San Juans. Our initial plan was to hike the unnamed cents by Lake City using a car shuttle from Silver Creek-Grizzly Gulch TH to Williams Creek TH (since we would have two cars on this trip) and then drive around to Burns-Grouse TH to go for the Jones Mtn group.

Peaks Hiked:

  • Day 1
    • PT 13,811 - 13,811' (#99 in CO)
    • PT 13,832 - 13,832' (#90)
  • Day 2
    • American Peak - 13,806' (#102)
    • Jones Mountain A - 13,860' (#78)
    • Niagara Peak - 13,807' (#101)
    • Crown Mountain - 13,569' (UnR)
    • North Crown Mountain - 13,599' (UnR)

Trail Description:

Day 1 - PT 13,811/PT 13,832

Day 1 - I arrived in Denver on Friday morning and we got on the road shortly afterwards. We arrived at Williams Creek TH (if you get to the Williams Creek Campground you've go too far on the road) which is just a small pull off but has a TH sign. We woke up at 5:30 AM, drove in his 4Runner to the Silver Creek TH, and started shortly after 6:30 AM.

Looking back at Silver Creek/Grizzly Gulch TH
Early Morning Light

We followed the easy path to the Redcloud saddle and headed NE. The trail past the saddle is faint but still pretty easy to follow. Since many people hike these as an out and back there is a bypass trail below PT 13,811. We got caught up talking and dropped below the ridge following the bypass. It didn't us too far out of the way though. After a quick snack on PT 13,811, and not missing the conga line on Redcloud, we continued on the faint trail to PT 13,832. As we approached the summit we could see the trail down to Williams Creek along the grassy ridge. I believe there is a trail to left hand side off PT 13,832 but we decided to scree ski down part of the slope and rejoined it after a few hundred feet.

Leaving the Recloud Saddle
Faint Trail to PT 13,811

Grassy Route to PT 13,832
Heading Down Toward Williams Creek Trail

Looking Back at PT 13,832 with Redcloud and Sunshine in the Background
Lake on Williams Creek Trail

The Williams Creek Trail is relatively easy to follow. Any time you think you've lost it just keep walking straight and it should show back up. Even though this added a little bit of distance and an additional 1,250' of elevation loss I still enjoyed it. We only saw two other people on the way down so it was nice to stay away from the crowds. A fair amount of this descent is also in trees so it's somewhat shaded unlike the returning back to Silver Creek. Also the creek is nothing to worry about at least at this time. It's very small and easy to navigate.

A Fair Amount of Treefall on the Paths
Faint Trail in Some Spots

Day 2 - Jones Group

Day 2 - After our hike we headed back in town to grab a bite to eat and check in with friends and family. Stopped at Southern Vittles which hit the spot and the music was on point (also was the only thing open at the time). We verified that we wanted to go after the Jones group from Cuba Gulch and downloaded a GPX file. We slept at the Cataract Gulch TH area and woke up at 5:30 AM again, drove the 4Runner up to the Cuba Gulch TH, and started at 6:30 AM. We started up the long slog up the Snare Stairs.

Early Morning Light on Cuba Gulch TH with 4Runner in Background
View Down the Snare Stairs

Old "Gunnison Field Office"
View Up American Peak

Looking Back Where We Left The Road
Heading Up American Peak

Once we got to the old Gunnison outpost we started up the ridge to American Peak. After gaining the summit there is a faint path but decent path to Jones Mountain and same over to Niagara Peak. We took a little break and my buddy called his dad for Father's Day (I called on Crown Mountain).

Handies Peak and American Basin
The Objective (From American Peak)

Heading Over to Jones Mountain
Looking Back at American Peak

Burns-Grouse Gulch TH Area
Trying to Pick a Route Back

Again there is a faint but decent trail to Crown from Niagara. From the summit of Crown we dropped our packs and made the quick jaunt over to North Crown and back. This little addition of the Crowns was worth it in my opinion. Minimal effort and pretty much all ridge line. From the summit of Crown we could see the old road and the Snare Stairs but we just had to navigate through all the lakes and snow fields. The GPX track below jumps around a little because we kept getting blocked off. We eventually made it through without losing any elevation but it probably would've been better to stay more left instead of trying to make a straight shot. Regardless, there were sooo many lakes which was enjoyable. Once back to the road we started the long rocky slog back to the Snare Stairs and down to the car.

Crown/N. Crown Ridgeline
Where We Headed Descended

Cool Little Lakes
So Many Lakes

Car Target Shooting

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Great report
06/27/2020 21:18
Looking to do pt 13811 and 13832 in three weeks; thx for the pics
Going out and back but the one way is a cool

I agree
08/04/2020 09:34
These are on my list for the fall and I was really dreading having to regain on the return trip. This is an excellent alternative and I love loops and lines. Thanks for the idea!

10/04/2021 11:04
So a great route for your two unnamed centennials, and a fannnntastic choice if you do these during aspen season. The descent was miles of beautiful aspen walking. A note for people doing it in the future, the Williams Creek Trail is really hard to spot when you intersect the old 4x4 road at 10,000 ft. Do not follow the 4x4 road uphill.

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