Santa Fe Peak  
USGS 7.5' Map: Montezuma
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 4 FR 264 4.40 10,270 to 13,000 ft. NA 2-3 hours
County: Summit
Adopted by:      
Managed by: White River National Forest
Dillon Ranger District
680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO 80498
Summary: Santa Fe Peak climbs a series of switchbacks from Montezuma to the saddle below Santa Fe Peak.
Attractions: Scenery
Agency - November 23 to May 20
Best Time: June - Snow may still block upper road
July - Best
August - Best
September - Best
October - Early snow possible
Trail Heads
Morgan Gulch, FT9144 - Hiking, Bike, Equestrian
Continental Divide Trail - Hiking, Equestrian
Camping: There are no dispersed campsites along the road.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp with Peru Creek FR260, Saints John FR275, and Webster Pass FR121, FR285, to explore.
Fall Colors: Poor - Mainly pine forests in the area.
Navigation: From Keystone, CO head east on US-6 E for 0.1 miles. Take the Montezuma Road exit and go 0.2 miles. Continue onto Montezuma Road for 5.2 miles. Turn left onto Co Rd 264/3rd Street and go 0.1 miles. This is the Santa Fe Peak road and will start the switchback climb.
History: In 1863 a prospector named John Coley is credited with discovering the first silver in Colorado Territory on Glacier Mountain. In June of 1865 a group of investors arrived in the mountain valley below John Coley's discovery. D. C. Collier was among the group and suggested that a town be laid out in the valley, naming it after the Aztec emperor, Montezuma. The first store was opened by W. Webster in 1866. By 1868 miners began moving into the town by crossing Loveland Pass. Montezuma became one of the main towns on par with Breckenridge. In 1869 a new route was built over Argentine Pass to connect Georgetown with Summit County. Its original name was the Georgetown and Snake River Road. By 1877 the Colorado Central railroad arrived in Georgetown making this the closest rail link for Montezuma. In 1878 a wagon road was built over Webster Pass to connect the Snake River with South Park. In 1879 a wagon road was completed over Loveland Pass. In 1881 Montezuma was incorporated. In 1882 Montezuma had three hotels, a boarding house, three stores, three saloons, two blacksmith shops, and a shoe maker. By 1883 the Denver, South Park and Pacific railroad arrived along the Blue River. A spur line was built to Keystone with an extenstion graded to Montezuma, but the railroad never laid tracks. Montezuma continued to grow. In 1884 a bank, school house (remaining active until 1958), church and post office had been added.

In 1915 a fire destroyed two saloons, a few homes, and the Montezuma Hotel. In 1949 another fire roared through Montezuma taking a store, a historic log building, as well as another historic structure. Again in 1959 fire visited Montezuma taking ten frame homes and the Summit House Hotel built in 1869. One more hotel, the Rocky Mountain House, was lost in the 1963 fire.

Montezuma is not a ghost town yet. Many of the old homes are summer residents, with the remaining hotels seeing business during tourist season.

Jessen, Kenneth Ghost Towns Colorado Style, Volumn 1, 1st ed. Loveland, Colorado: J.V. Publications, 1998. Print.
From Main Street you will drive up 3rd Street past private homes. Just past Miner Street you will turn southeast and head into the forest. This begins the climb up the side of Tip Top Peak with Morgan Gulch to your south. The road will be maintained up the initial switchbacks. After the tenth short switchback you will cross a longer section. About half way to the next switchback, below the road, are the remains of the Florence Mine. The road will remain in the forest and become more of a two track trail. After doing twelve switchbacks you will come out of the forest and be abive timerline. Just as you leave the forest, behind you and below the road are the remains of the Elise mine.

Section as you climb above timberline

photo by:
Adam M

At the thirteenth switchback are a few remains of the Quail mine on the other side of Morgan Gulch. After the fourteenth switchback you will climb to a saddle between Morgan Peak and Santa Fe Peak. At this saddle the Morgan Gulch hikin trail heads off to the northwest to circle around Morgan Peak. From the saddle there are five more switchback to bring you to the high plateau. You will come to an intersection where the right will take you to the tailings of the Sarisfield mine with views of the valley below around Montezuma.

Plateau area

photo by:
Adam M

Taking the right will continue to climb up to through the twenty through twenty third switchbacks. The road is only officially open past the twentieth switchback. After the twenty third switchback you will have a view down into Geneva Basin to the east. This is a great vantage point on the Continental Divide. From the saddle the old road continues up two more switchbacks to loop around to the south side of Santa Fe Peak. The old road will cross the saddle between Santa Fe Peak and Sullivan Mountain and then drop down to the tailings of the Silver Wave Mine where it ends.

Be aware that the lightning in late afternoon thunderstorms in the summer months can be dangerous at the high altitude at the top of the Santa Fe Peak road.
Data updated - March 2, 2019    4WD Road driven - July 3, 2003    Copyright - 2000-2019