La Plata Peak (Southern Approach) is a 7.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Buena Vista, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from May until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length7.1 miElevation gain3625 ftRoute typeOut & back
Dogs on leashHikingNature tripsForestViewsWildflowersWildlifeMuddyRockyScrambleSnow
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Reviews (99)
Photos (180)
Recordings (89)
Completed (176)
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Jeff Van Dellen
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HikingGreat!Rocky

This trail was great to hike on a beautiful clear day. The drive in from Granite is slow, bumpy and will require some ground clearance once you get past Winfield. At the sign for South La Plata you can turn right and get closer to the trailhead. The first section is a bit steep through the forest but then it opens up to a much more gradual hike through the valley. The hike up to the saddle/ridge was loose and steep but only took 1 hour to get there. From there it was another hour and 15 to summit. The cairns and worn trail are much easier to find on the descent so keep an eye out on the way up. Gorgeous views of Elbert, Massive and many other 14ers surround this peak. Had my summit beer and then hustled back down for a 4 hour total hike. I'd definitely recommend it to any avid hiker. Ended up being 7.37 miles for me so nice and short.

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Caleb Wright
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Hiking
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Andre Torres
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Hiking

Hard as hell but it’s worth it

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Monika Orawiec
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HikingMuddyRockyScramble

This is 7 miles one way, just an FYI! I feel like many people who were up there with me had no idea that it's 14 miles RT.

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Chris Cascio
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Hiking
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Cory Voight
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Hiking

A long 4x4 trail to the trail head. Make sure you have a full sized truck or SUV. my Ram 1500 with a leveling kit and 1in taller tires bottomed out twice on the side steps. The initial walk up to the valley is somewhat steep, but not bad. It's then pretty flat and easy through the valley. You hit the head wall next. The start isn't bad, but the second half of it is pretty steep and slippery. I would highly recommend using poles. After the wall its an easy walk to the first boulder field. The first boulder field is the biggest, and the toughest. It also seems to have an infinite amount of trails going up it. So just pick one. I found a little center and right is the fastest, but farther to the left isn't quite as steep and a little easier. You still have 1,500ft to gain after the first boulder field. Theirs two more false summits. Stay in the middle going across them. The third one is a little easier to swing around to the left. The the actual peak will be right in front of you after that. Pretty solid peak. Not the best, not the worst. More people up top that come from the traditional route.

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TurtleHermit627 TurtleHermit627
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Hiking
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Louis Szasz
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Hiking
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Louis Szasz
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Hiking
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Tom .
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Hiking
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Dan Stone
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Fun trail. Definitely nothing like back home in Missouri.

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Jay Prevedel
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Stayed at the end of the basin overnight. Stunning in there. Steep climb up the top of the ridge. The trail on the top of the ridge leads to the right and I saw a cairn. Scrambled up the middle and it was very tough with big boulders everywhere. Never saw another cairn after that. Research the route and have it saved so you can look at it again! Stay left and look for the cairns over there. Came back down that way and it would have been a bit easier. Up top as mentioned it's a false summit and you still have about 500 feet to go. Beautiful views though. Saw one person in two days on the trail.

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Nichole Sellon
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HikingGreat!

I enjoyed this approach a lot more than the North. Less traveled and views are absolutely stunning. The last mile or so to the trail head is rough, but worth it for the scenery. The head wall is for sure steep, but so worth it! I recommend this approach over the North. Trail is clear.

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Jim Randa
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Hiking

Beautiful area, challenging hike. Ascending the headwall is brutal, and the descent is worse.

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Linh Nguyen
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HikingMuddyRockyScramble

This was a beautiful (non-standard) approach to the summit of La Plata. The views were amazing throughout. I really enjoyed going through the valley. 360 views. The trail is very well-defined in the beginning and moving towards the first ridge climb. After that, lots of loose rock, then a good amount of huge boulders and talus hoping up to a false summit. A few false summits here... Hiking the ridge line towards the summit during the last 500’ was not bad at all. I would do this route over and over again because of how beautiful it was. Only saw/passed two groups on my way up (Sunday). Fair amount of people at the summit coming from the standard approach.

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Danielle Shamburger
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HikingNo shadeScramble

Research this hike. When you're done doing that, research it again. This hike is not for the faint of heart. The scramble leading to the top is challenging enough, but the *top* is just a false summit. The scramble is marked with cairns, that's it. Very beautiful, very challenging. The steep climb up turns into a steep slide down the scree.

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Michael Levin
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Hiking

One of the hardest hikes ive ever in terms of steepness.

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Dave Kluge
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HikingMuddyRockyScrambleSnow

Plan on parking at least 0.6 miles from then trailhead unless you’ve got a heavy duty 4x4. There’s a deep creek crossing that I only saw 2 cars beyond. The scree field to gain the ridge and the boulder field up to the first false summit are steep. Lots of mud in the basin.

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Kyle Moore
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HikingMuddyNo shadeRockyWashed out

Hiked yesterday 6/21. Loved this route. Such a nice basin in the beginning of the hike. Real work comes when ascending the headwall out of the basin, and then again when you’re climbing the bouldery false summit to reach La Plata’s summit ridge. We made it to 0.6 miles from the upper West Winfield (S. La Plata) trailhead in our Jeep Compass where we parked at the second creek crossing and hiked the rest of the way.

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