Uncompahgre Peak from the west
|Elevation||14,321 ft (4,365 m) NAVD 88|
|Prominence||4,277 ft (1,304 m)|
|Location||Hinsdale County, Colorado, U.S.|
|Range||San Juan Mountains|
|Topo map||USGS Uncompahgre Peak|
|Easiest route||Hike (class 2)|
Uncompahgre Peak is the sixth highest mountain peak in the U.S. state of Colorado and is the highest peak of the San Juan Mountains. 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 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 boasts 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.
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]
- In the journal of Francisco Silvestre Vélez de Escalante's 1776 expedition 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).
- "Uncompahgre". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- "Uncompahgre Peak, Colorado". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 2011-02-23.
- Louis W. Dawson II. Dawson's Guide to Colorado's Fourteeners, Volume 2. Blue Clover Press. pp. 115–126. ISBN 0-9628867-2-6.
- Jarom McDonald (ed.). "The itinerary and diary of Francisco Atanasio Domínguez and Francisco Silvestre Vélez de Escalante". Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities. Retrieved 2013-01-27.
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