• Date - 06/10/2023
  • Elevation - 13,794'
  • Route - Southeast Ridge
  • Miles - 7.4
  • Elevation Gain - 2,999'
  • ACME Mapper - Link
  • CalTopo - Link
  • Partners - Kevin Smith


Kevin and I left the Denver, Colorado, metro area late on Friday evening and made our way to Florence, Colorado, where we had a great and inexpensive dinner at Quincys.  After our meal, we meandered over to Louie's Place and hung out with Loretta and Porter from Texas in order to watch the end of the Denver Nuggets basketball game.  We left the local watering hole after the Nuggets win and made our way to Westcliffe, Colorado, and up the awful Hermit Road.  We finally found a pull off and went to bed in preparation for our hike the next day.

We didn't get up until 7:30 am and then drove a few more miles up the road for our attempt on Rito Alto Peak that didn't start until 8:30 am.  Rito Alto is a bi-centennial peak with fairly easy statistics that we thought was a good objective to start our summer hiking season.  The hike basically follows the Hermit Road to Hermit Pass.  From there, it's a one mile off-trail hike to the summit at 13,794'.  We cut a few road switchbacks in order to summit and made the top after 2 hours and 45 minutes of hiking.  Kevin had to wait for me several times throughout the morning, but he was patient and didn't yell at me too much.

After 15 minutes on the summit taking photos, contacting our significant others, and refueling, we reversed our route and headed back down to the trailhead.  There were a few other folks in the area fishing, hiking, and over-landing.  In my opinion, the road requires a four-wheel drive vehicle.  On our drive home, we stopped in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to visit a close friend, Jeff Kunkle, in order to eat his food, drink his beer, and catch up with him and his family.


Kevin and our first look at Rito Alto Peak in the background.

The east face of Rito Alto Peak.

Kevin looking at Hermit Pass.

Looking up the southeast ridge of Rito Alto Peak.

Kevin putting in steps on the snowy ridge of Rito Alto Peak.

The final summit ridge of Rito Alto Peak.

James and Kevin on the summit with the Crestones in the background.

Summit Photo

Kevin's Summit Photo

Kevin heading back down the summit ridge.

Kevin in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range.

Rito Alto Peak from Hermit Pass.

Hermit Peak from Hermit Pass.

Horseshoe Lake with Eureka Mountain in the far background on the hike out.