Saints John

4.8/5 (50 reviews)
Montezuma, Colorado (Summit County)
Last Updated: 10/30/2022
Zoom in to see trails...

Trail Information

Highlights

First, yes, it is Saints John, not Saint Johns. Keep reading to learn why. This 4WD trail runs along high alpine ridge lines for several miles with spectacular 360-degree views. And lest you get bored, there is a couple of hill climbs to keep things interesting. The trail's north end drops down into the forest below, making its way into the tiny town of Montezuma. In 1863, John Coley made the first silver strike in Colorado. He founded the boom town of Coleyville. However, in 1867, a group of wealthy Free Masons bought up much of the area claims, renaming the town Saints John for the two patron saints of the Free Masons: Saint John the Baptist and Saint John the Evangelist. Thus Saints (plural) John. The current 4WD trail follows the route once taken by ox or mule-driven ore carts hauling the mined ore over the Continental Divide and down the Swan River Valley to the mills and rails in Breckenridge. The mines of Saints John produced silver until the 1950s. Now, feel free to correct everyone you meet who will probably call this Saint Johns. (Full disclosure: The author was one of those people until 2016.)

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.8/5 (50 reviews)
Trint Ladd
Official Crew
34600
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/30/2022

I ran the trail south out of Montezuma. I made it to somewhere between waypoints 10 and 9 where the trail is narrow in the trees. There was packed snow starting back in Montezuma. By the time I turned around the snow was a few inches deep. It was not the depth of the snow that turned me around, it was the ice underneath. When I started sliding sideways toward trees, I called it and turned around. There will be more snow higher up. So, is the trail passable? Not by me, but maybe by someone else.
Trail Review: Saints John - Trint Ladd
Trail Review: Saints John - Trint Ladd
View More Images
Status: Open
Rated 4/5
Visited: 10/19/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

Ran this trail on Friday, October 19, 2022 in a Subaru Forester Wilderness with 2 inch lift. Ran it from Montezuma to Waypoint 8. Nice views from Waypoint 8. Didn't scrape on the berms between Waypoints 8 and 14. Since it was getting dark returned to Keystone. We'll be back next summer to run the entire trail.
Trail Review: Saints John - Roger P.
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 10/17/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Ran Saints John and Deer Creek with detour to top of Radical Hill then back down to Montezuma. Almost no snow/ice anywhere, though a little more in a few spots on the Deer Creek side; no issues, just got the 4Runner a little dirty. Stopped for a bit to photograph pika in their talus habitat, getting ready for winter. The water breaks sure made for a rollercoaster feel to the trail. Only scraped hitch once on one of them.
Trail Review: Saints John - Mike Molloy
Trail Review: Saints John - Mike Molloy
View More Images
Trint Ladd
Official Crew
34600
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/11/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Easier

As noted by the previous review, the USFS is working on trails in this area. On Sunday, 9/11/22, we ran the trail as mapped, from Deer Creek (which is also getting work done) to Montezuma. The changes to this trail have, in my opinion, really changed the "flavor" of the trail. I have updated the guide to show some of these changes. In the tundra section, a lot of the big, embedded rocks have been scraped off, leaving the trail much smoother. The added water breaks are MASSIVE, 4 or 5 feet tall. Several have been added to the various hill climbs (including one that buried the rock ledge, the only thing approaching an "obstacle" on this trail... gone.) This along with the scraping off of most of the big rocks totally changes the hill climbs. They are much easier and less dramatic. Only one water break is "sharp" enough that my 3" lifted Taco Supreme scraped going over and this was on the steepest part of the steepest hill climb, really messing with the rhythm of the trail. Above the switchbacks (on the Montezuma side) there are a ludicrous amount of water breaks (as pictured, six in less than a quarter mile). The switchbacks have also been smoothed and widened.
Trail Review: Saints John - Trint Ladd
Trail Review: Saints John - Trint Ladd
View More Images
Status: Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 09/10/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

I ran this trail on 9/2 and again last Saturday on 9/10 going up Saints John and down Deer Creek. The berms the previous two comments really do change the character of the trail at the top a bit. I drive a stock Jeep Gladiator Overland and scraped on nearly every berm and one I thought I was going to get stuck on but thankfully did not! The first time I drove this trail I only scraped in 2-3 spots mainly from poor line choice. Really beautiful views at the top and my parents had a blast!

From the Community

Start a free trial and get this level of detail on every trail guide
Start Free Trial