La Garita Mountains

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La Garita Mountains
San Luis Peak, San Juan Mountains, Saguache County, Colorado, USA 01.jpg
San Luis Peak
Highest point
Peak San Luis Peak
Elevation 14,014 [1]  ft (4,271 m)
Coordinates 37°59′12″N106°55′53″W / 37.9867825°N 106.9312952°W / 37.9867825; -106.9312952 Coordinates: 37°59′12″N106°55′53″W / 37.9867825°N 106.9312952°W / 37.9867825; -106.9312952 [2]
USA Colorado location map.svg
Red triangle with thick white border.svg
La Garita Mountains
Country United States
State Colorado
Counties Saguache and Mineral
Parent range San Juan Mountains, Rocky Mountains

The La Garita Mountains are a high mountain range in the San Juan Mountains, a sub-range of the Rocky Mountains. The mountains are located in Saguache and Mineral counties in southwestern Colorado and are almost entirely managed as public land within the Gunnison National Forest and the Rio Grande National Forest. [3]


Meadow in the La Garita Mountains wilderness area A249, La Garita Wilderness, Colorado, USA, trail to Wheeler Geologic Area, 2008.JPG
Meadow in the La Garita Mountains wilderness area

The La Garita Mountains lie within the La Garita Wilderness, one of Colorado's lesser known, but more picturesque, wilderness areas. "La Garita means "the lookout" in Spanish, and this wilderness amply deserves the name. From the summit of this wilderness's single fourteener (14,014 foot San Luis Peak), climbers can gaze across the upper Rio Grande Valley and down the long stretch of the San Luis Valley. About 35 miles of the Continental Divide lie well above a sprawling forestland that provides ideal habitats for huge numbers of elk and mule deer. [4]


During the Oligocene epoch, a series of caldera building eruptions of titanic proportions, some as large as VEI-8, devastated what is now Colorado and raised up the mountain chain, part of the San Juan Mountains. The La Garita supervolcano's mega-colossal eruption created 5000 km3 of tephra, the largest eruption known. The volcanic area has been extinct for tens for millions of years and is of no danger to anyone.


According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the following peaks are part of the La Garita Mountains: [3]

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La Garita Mountains
PeakGNIS Feature IDLocation
Stewart Peak 190154 38°01′24″N106°55′24″W / 38.02333°N 106.92338°W / 38.02333; -106.92338 (Stewart Peak)
San Luis Peak 190463 37°59′13″N106°55′53″W / 37.98694°N 106.93143°W / 37.98694; -106.93143 (San Luis Peak)
Mesa Mountain 189506 37°54′16″N106°38′05″W / 37.90444°N 106.63476°W / 37.90444; -106.63476 (Mesa Mountain)
Pool Table Mountain 189570 37°49′47″N106°41′31″W / 37.82972°N 106.69199°W / 37.82972; -106.69199 (Pool Table Mountain)
Bowers Peak 189511 37°57′03″N106°35′22″W / 37.95083°N 106.58948°W / 37.95083; -106.58948 (Bowers Peak)
Lookout Mountain 189525 37°59′13″N106°28′46″W / 37.98694°N 106.47948°W / 37.98694; -106.47948 (Lookout Mountain)
Lake Mountain 190194 38°00′37″N106°23′56″W / 38.01028°N 106.39892°W / 38.01028; -106.39892 (Lake Mountain)

See also

Related Research Articles

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Crestone Peak

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Sierra Nacimiento

The Sierra Nacimiento, or Nacimiento Mountains, are a mountain range in the northwestern part of the U.S. state of New Mexico. They are just west of the more prominent Jemez Mountains near the town of Cuba, and are separated from them by the Río Guadalupe and the Río de Las Vacas. This article will consider them as a unit together with the San Pedro Mountains, which are a smaller range contiguous with the Sierra Nacimiento on the north, and which are also part of the Nacimiento Uplift and lie at the edge of the greater San Juan Basin, which sits atop the Colorado Plateau. The combined range runs almost due north-south with a length of about 40 mi (65 km). The highest point in the combined range is the high point of the San Pedro Peaks, known unofficially as San Pedro Peak, 10,605 ft.

La Garita Caldera

La Garita Caldera is a large supervolcanic caldera in the San Juan volcanic field in the San Juan Mountains near the town of Creede in southwestern Colorado, United States. It is west of La Garita, Colorado. The eruption that created the La Garita Caldera is among the largest known volcanic eruptions in Earth's history, as well as being one of the most powerful known supervolcanic events.

Weminuche Wilderness

The Weminuche Wilderness is a wilderness area in southwest Colorado managed by the United States Forest Service as part of the San Juan National Forest on the west side of the Continental Divide and the Rio Grande National Forest on the east side of the divide. It is about 5 miles (8.0 km) south east of the town of Silverton and about 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Durango. At 499,771 acres (2,022.50 km2), it is the largest wilderness area in the state of Colorado. The wilderness was named after the Weminuche Indians.

San Luis Peak

San Luis Peak is the highest summit of the La Garita Mountains range in the Rocky Mountains of North America. The prominent 14,022-foot (4273.8 m) fourteener is located in the Gunnison National Forest portion of the La Garita Wilderness in Saguache County approximately 10 miles (16 km) north of Creede. It is situated rather far to the east of the other fourteeners in the San Juans, and has more of a wilderness setting than many of the others.

Geography of Colorado Overview of the geography of Colorado

The geography of the U.S. State of Colorado is diverse, encompassing both rugged mountainous terrain, vast plains, desert lands, desert canyons, and mesas. In 1861, the United States Congress defined the boundaries of the new Territory of Colorado exclusively by lines of latitude and longitude, stretching from 37°N to 41°N latitude, and from 102°02'48"W to 109°02'48"W longitude. Starting in 1868, official surveys demarcated the boundaries, deviating from the parallels and meridians in several places. Later surveys attempted to correct some of these mistakes but in 1925 the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the earlier demarcation was the official boundary. The borders of Colorado are now officially defined by 697 boundary markers connected by straight boundary lines. Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah are the only states that have their borders defined solely by straight boundary lines with no natural features. The southwest corner of Colorado is the Four Corners Monument at 36°59'56"N, 109°2'43"W. This is the only place in the United States where four states meet: Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah.

Rio Grande National Forest

Rio Grande National Forest is a 1.86 million-acre (7,530 km²) U.S. National Forest located in southwestern Colorado. The forest encompasses the San Luis Valley, which is the world's largest agricultural alpine valley, as well as one of the world's largest high deserts located around mountains. The Rio Grande river rises in the forest, and the Continental Divide runs along most of its western border. The forest lies in parts of nine counties. In descending order of land area within the forest they are Saguache, Mineral, Conejos, Rio Grande, Hinsdale, San Juan, Alamosa, Archuleta, and Custer counties. Forest headquarters are currently located in Monte Vista, Colorado, but plan to move to Del Norte. There are local ranger district offices in Del Norte, La Jara, and Saguache.

Wheeler Geologic Area

The Wheeler Geologic Area is a highly eroded outcropping of layers of volcanic ash, in the La Garita Mountains of Mineral County, in southern Colorado in the western United States about 10 miles east north-east of Creede. The ash is the result of eruptions from the La Garita Caldera approximately 25 million years ago.

Stewart Peak (Colorado)

Stewart Peak, elevation 13,990 ft (4,264 m), is a summit in Colorado. The peak is the second highest thirteener in the state. It is located in the La Garita Mountains, sub-range of the San Juan Mountains, in Saguache County, within the La Garita Wilderness. Stewart Peak is the 55th highest peak in Colorado by most standard definitions, just missing the list of Colorado fourteeners. At one time, the peak's elevation was measured to be over 14,000 ft and it was believed to be a fourteener, but more recent and accurate surveys have dropped it below that threshold.

Cochetopa Hills

The Cochetopa Hills are a ridge of uplands on the Continental Divide in Saguache County, southern Colorado, United States.

Conejos Peak

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Rio Grande Pyramid

Rio Grande Pyramid, elevation 13,827 feet, is a summit in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. The peak is in the Weminuche Wilderness of the San Juan National Forest northeast of Durango.

La Garita Wilderness

The La Garita Wilderness is a U.S. Wilderness Area located in the La Garita Mountains of southern Colorado. The 129,626-acre (524.58 km2) wilderness established in 1964 in Gunnison and Rio Grande National Forests includes segments of the Colorado Trail and the Continental Divide Trail. At 14,014 feet (4,271 m), San Luis Peak is the highest point in the wilderness area.

South River Peak

South River Peak, elevation 13,154 ft (4,009 m), is a summit San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado. The mountain is in the Weminuche Wilderness of Rio Grande National Forest.

Baldy Cinco

Baldy Cinco, elevation 13,379 feet, is a mountain in Hinsdale and Mineral counties in southern Colorado. The mountain, a thirteener, is located on the Continental Divide in the San Juan Mountains. Different areas of the slopes of Baldy Cinco lie in the Rio Grande National Forest, the La Garita Wilderness, and the Gunnison National Forest. The mountain is located just north of Snow Mesa and east northeast of Spring Creek Pass.

San Luis Hills

The San Luis Hills are a group of small mountain ranges in Conejos and Costilla counties in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado. The individual mountain ranges that make up the San Luis Hills include the Fairy Hills, the Brownie Hills, the Piñon Hills, and the South Piñon Hills. The San Luis Hills' highest point is Flat Top, elevation 9,206 feet


  1. "San Luis Peak, Colorado". Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  2. "San Luis Peak". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  3. 1 2 "La Garita Mountains". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  4. "La Garita Wilderness". Wilderness Net. Retrieved 22 May 2020.