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Uncompahgre Peak via Nellie Creek Road

HARD 40 reviews
#2 of 20 trails in

Uncompahgre Peak via Nellie Creek Road is a 7.7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Lake City, Colorado that features a river and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.7 miles
2,841 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash

cross country skiing


off road driving

rock climbing





wild flowers


Users have reported that the road leading to the trailhead is very rough and steep. 4WD is required.

6 months ago

Please do not take your Subaru up Nellie Creek Rd.

7 months ago

Beautiful trail!! Perfect hike for getting fully immersed in the San Juans. Uncompahgre is a unique, funky, and photogenic mountain and is, for the most part, a Class 1 walk-up. Perfect for novice-to-intermediate 14er hikers. Near the top is a gnarly, steep Class 2 (borderline Class 3) crux. When you get to this part (you'll know it when you see it), I recommend taking the route to the left of the rock tower, not the one to the right. It's less steep. The good news is that it's short.

The Nellie Creek 4WD road to the trailhead is no joke. Large rocks, creek crossings, tight hairpin turns, and dips. High clearance is mandatory-- my Jeep Liberty has 8" of clearance and still scraped bottom more times than I would have liked. Good news is that the creek crossings are running low right now-- about 3" for the first crossing and about 4" for the second crossing.

9 months ago

Started at the beginning of Nellie Creek road which made for a 16ish mile roundtrip. Being as I got an early start (5:30am), the road hike wasn’t all that bad. If one was to start later though I could see where the extra 8 miles would be a slog. As others have said the actual trail is beautiful and there are lots of wildflowers this time of year. The last 1000 feet are tough as the switchbacks and the short scramble is rather steep. There isn’t much exposure though unless you really want it. Took about 6 1/2 hours to complete with some running mixed in on the downhills.

Monday, February 19, 2018

I've hiked seven 14ers so far. This was my least favorite, but still worthwhile. I approached from Matterhorn Creek TH, as I also climbed Wetterhorn the same day.

The people I met on the trail were great!

Big exposure on top if you want it! Don't trip or slip!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Went up September 2015. It was hard for sure. Some of the trail at the top is hard to find. Some terrain is steep with loose rocks. Caution is required. The views on a clear day are amazing and worth the hike.

Monday, August 21, 2017

One of my favorite 14ers (25)! 4x4 trail is rugged but if you can start from the upper parking lot....it's one of the best hikes imaginable. Best views of the San Juan Mt. Range!!!!

trail running
Sunday, August 20, 2017

Gorgeous!!! Beautiful rolling green slopes. Brutally up hill on the way there but manageable. There even some little kids with their parents coming down as we went up. If you have to walk the 5 miles up to the trailhead it adds a lot so be prepared.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Loved everything about this hike minus the 4 mile drive to the TH and out.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The hardest part might be getting to the trailhead. Once you start the hike it is easy to get thrown off the trail towards a 13,000ft peak, don't do that.

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

I did this trail with my parents when I was about 11. It is extremely hard. Needless to say, we made it all the way to the summit, thanks to some hikers we met on their way down. You will need proper equipment if you want to summit the peak.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Awesome trail! 99% of the snow is melted, prime time to hit the summit. The 4 mile road up to the trailhead is intense, two pretty serious steam crossings. Ended up hiking up from the road, 16.3 miles round trip. I reckon this is a good first 14'er to get your feet wet. Epic!

Monday, February 06, 2017

Tried for the summit with my son in Oct. of 2013. We were turned around at just over 13,000' due to the horrific wind that day. Can't imagine what it would have been like on top. Too many nice days to hike, to be out in that kind of wind. I'll be back. Easy trail and great views above tree line!! The road in is god awful though. 4x4 for sure, and very narrow if you meet another vehicle. Luckily we didn't.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Cool 14er!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Very cool 14er! I enjoyed it, and it's great for kids because it's so open. Also a great place for marmots

Saturday, July 09, 2016

The trip up to the trail head was rough but any decent 4x4 should make it. The mileage from the TH is incorrect. It is over 9 miles round trip. I don't know where the extra mile came from but it was approximately 4.6 miles from TH to summit. The trail was otherwise as advertised. Very scenic and fairly challenging especially the last half mile or so. Well worth it. The weather was perfect. I think this is a must for any 14ner hiker.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Ended up being 12 miles because the road was too bad to get all the way to the trailhead, even with 4 wheel drive. In the end was worth it. Very beautiful with a well defined trail

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

3 miles? You kidding? I met a hiker doing 15 miles because he didn't feel confident with his Tacoma pick-up, much less a passenger car. The JEEP TRAIL to the upper trailhead is rough and subject to "change". Only then are you looking at 7.25 miles RT.
*getting water here is difficult, unless you're 100% confident in your filtration. Heavy horse activity in the lowers and just difficult to get at it in the higher. Carry it in.
*don't drink Wetterhorn area either, it's all orange. Seeing the theme here? Carry your water in.
*Uncompahgre is a tough climb and attempts to punch you in the jimmy right prior to the top. If the West side is snowy/wet, you could be in for it.
*beware the mounted hunter during season.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Best 14er hike yet!

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Great views from the top. Not difficult. Easy day hike.

Thursday, August 07, 2014

If you are looking for one of the most picturesque hikes that an "Easy" fourteener can offer, hiking up Uncompahgre Peak is one of the best. It has numerous waterfalls and incredible informal campsites along the access road leading to the trailhead. Once on the trail, the scenery never ends, lush alpine forests blend into aspen stands and tundra reveals hearty and delicate flowers and grasses. The view from the top is "incomparable" , drop-offs on three sides make it seem like you are flying the San Juans with spectacular views of Matterhorn Peak and Wetterhorn Peak to the west.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This is one of the easier 14ers, but it is beautiful and remote. From the top, you have excellent views to the west of Wetterhorn, Sneffels, and the Wilson Group. To the south, you can see Red Cloud, Sunshine, Handies, and most of the peaks in the Weminuche Wilderness. Excellent ski/snowboard descent down the West Face.

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