Our Work CFI completed major trail construction and restoration on Sunlight Peak in 2007 and from 2009-2010. This year, CFI returns to Chicago Basin to work extensively on Mt. Eolus.
Recommended Route Chicago Basin Route—use of this route will help to reduce impacts to these Fourteener’s fragile alpine environments. For detailed route information including photos, maps, and elevation profiles, click here.
Route Information and Additional Resources Two approaches are available to the Chicago Basin. One is a 18-mile backpack from Purgatory Trailhead off Highway 550 near the Purgatory Ski area. The second is to take the Durango & Silverton Railroad to the Needleton Stop. From the Needleton stop, you hike another 6.5 miles east to the Chicago Basin.
For Windom Peak, gain the Twin Lakes Trail out of the Chicago Basin. From Twin Lakes, hike east to the saddle between Windom Peak and Peak 18. Continue east to the summit of Windom.
Sunlight Peak is often climbed in conjunction with Windom Peak. From Windom Peak travel north-northeast to Sunlight. From Sunlight, you can descend by the same route, or drop down the southern talus ridges. Sunlight can be climbed by itself from the south slopes.
Contact the Durango & Silverton Railroad, at 970-247-2733 for tickets, departure schedules and reservations. Check backpacker policies in place at that time.
The above information does not replace the need to consult additional maps and Colorado Fourteener Guidebooks for more detailed route descriptions. We suggest checking multiple resources before departing on any hike. Keep in mind that not all guidebooks list this recommended route and that each guidebook’s description or route name may vary slightly.
Peak Specific Environmental and Safety Concerns No wood fires are allowed anywhere in the Needle Creek Drainage.
No wood fires or camping are allowed in the Twin Lakes Basin.