Santa Fe Peak

Montezuma, Colorado (Summit County)

Last Updated: 01/10/2019
4.6 / 5 ( 5 reviews )
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Impassable
Typically Open: 06/01 - 10/31
Length: 4.8 miles
Highest Elevation: 13090 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Montezuma
Nearest Town w/ Services: Keystone
Official Road Name: 264
Management Agency: White River National Forest
District: Dillon Ranger District
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Santa Fe Peak
The 4WD road to the summit of Santa Fe Peak offers truly epic vistas and truly butt-clenching thrills. At the summit, just over 13,000 feet, the trail traverses the highest and scariest shelf road this writer has ever experienced. Peering over the edge to the valley 2000 feet below (yes, really) is not for the faint of heart. Then, you have to turn around and do it again to get back down!

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Santa Fe Peak

Route Information

Technical Rating:
( MODERATE )

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Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
The trailhead is little more than a sign along the road as you leave Montezuma. If you choose to air down with a group, it might be better to do it back on the wider Montezuma Road where you'll be less of a distraction to home owners.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 39.582370, -105.866200

Starting Point: Keystone, CO

From US 6 at Keystone, take CR 5, Montezuma Road, east for 4.9 miles to the tiny village of Montezuma. At the towns only stop sign, turn left (north) onto a rutted dirt road. The trailhead is just a couple hundred yards from Montezuma Road.

Camping

Dispersed

Trail Reviews (14)

Author:
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Down tree blocking the trail about 15 minutes in.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Drove this in a Stock 2019 Tacoma SR on 31". Amazing drive would do this again. Only passed a few hikers after the treeline. Didn't have any problems going up. Hit the skid plates a few times going down.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail was less crowded than others around which is always a plus, it's got some boulders and tight switchbacks to negotiate but nothing too crazy. I was looking for an excuse to hike so we actually stopped about a mile short of the peak and walked the rest. The off-camber shelf road at the top would have made me nervous to drive but it was definitely doable. Great views at the top, you can watch vehicles descend Red Cone, it also overlooks Geneva Creek, Saints John, Webster, Deer Creek, and mountains galore.

Author:
Status: Not Reported
Offroaded on:
FYI, something I noticed while browsing the official MVUM GIS data from the Forest Service. The MVUM route for this trail shows the official designated route as ending an an arbitrary point shortly after waypoint 7, at 3.96 miles. I don't know if this was an error in the last travel management process or deliberate, but the maps from the most recent White River NF travel management plan show the remainder of the trail as only open to horse and hike. I doubt anyone will actually care, but it appears the last mile of the route shown here is not technically a legal motorized route. See the attached Google Earth screenshot for reference, with the MVUM route from the Forest Service GIS data shown in red and the GPX track provided here shown in blue. Note that the red line ends shortly after the fork at waypoint 7.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
No snow blockages at this point. Very nice 4wd road, decently varied and fun. Views up top are excellent, with a 360 sweep and Grays right there. Impressive. Didn't go around the shelf at top. No reason to, it peters out quickly with no additional views, but it is clear of snow as well.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
This trail is wide open to waypoint 3. After that it continues to be blocked by snow. It is clearing up fast. Even the lower part was an enjoyable trip with great views and a couple of small challenges. Very nice for a short out and back trip.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Impassable
Offroaded on:
Rating:
I didn't make it over to Santa Fe, but I did fly my drone up from Webster Pass. The shelf road is snowed over. VERY DANGEROUS! DO NOT ATTEMPT!!

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
This trail was spectacular from start to finish- a beautiful forest approach with tight switchbacks and waterbars, then out above treeline for long stretches of rocky, off-camber trail with a few fun obstacles that were challenging but more than doable in my stock '12 Xterra Pro4x with fresh 33" tires. As soon as you think you're there, you hit the sketchy shelf road- not somewhere I'd want to be when it's wet! The views from the summit area are stunning, and the ride down is just as fun. Highly recommended.

Author:
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
We were able to make it to the fork at 2.5 miles, but had to turn back due to deep snow covering the road at this point.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Rating:
Summit County has had a couple of snow storms now. Most trails that go above treeline are blocked with snow. The image here is a drone shot of the summit of Geneva Peak (Sante Fe's sister to the south) taken from directly above the Webster Pass trail. Please DO NOT attempt the shelf road if there is snow or ice. It's a long way down.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Super trail with amazing views from just over 13,000 ft. altitude. Nothing challenging on this trail except a few tight switchbacks, and the off-camber shelf road at the top requires 100% full attention. Vehicle: '98 Jeep XJ 3" lift

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
A little more loose rock than what is in the description, but overall in good condition. Stock 2012 Xterra

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Beautiful day - Up and back. Trail was in good shape. Wild flowers were awesome. 1974 Toyota Landcruiser.

Author:
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Very simple, straight forward trail. If you have a fear of heights you might not enjoy this

Questions & Answers (2)

Q: Any recent updates on Santa Fe Peak? Thanks in advance! :)
–Shawna (07/12/2019)
–Trint Ladd (06/22/2020)
Q: Are your photos from waypoints 1-3 mixed up? Looks like those are from over near deer creek/swan
–JV (07/13/2018)
–Trint Ladd (07/13/2018)
–Trint Ladd (07/13/2018)

Writer Information

Trint Ladd

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Trint grew up riding dirt bikes in the creek beds of the Texas Panhandle. While attending college in Colorado in the late 1990's, he saw a magazine article about a Ford Explorer four-wheeling club. He never saw his Explorer as an adventure vehicle before, but quickly joined up and caught the bug. With his engineering background, Trint has always respected the factory design of a good truck (and recognized when manufacturers put cheap parts into something marketed for off road use). "A good driver, with a well built, stock truck can do trails that would break a $50k, built-up rig with an inexperienced driver." He put that 1st gen Explorer though hell and it always held up, earning great respect from the "big dawgs" in the club. (And earning the nickname, "The Idiot Stocker.") The truck was christened "BamBam" because of the frequent sounds ringing out from the factory skid plates. Now that Trint is "grown-up" (quotation marks intentional), he's a bit less inclined to dent up his pretty Toyota Tacoma, but still feels the same way about superior engineering. Trint's love for the mountains was ingrained at a very early age. 8mm film exists of 18-month-old Trint in a backpack on his dad's back while riding dirt bikes through the mountains of Red River, NM. Although Trint does enjoy a good, tough, technical rock trail, he can often be found on easier, winding, Alpine roads just taking the glory of God's country.
For individual use only, not to be shared.