Summit Centennial Peak in the La Plata Mountains via Sharkstooth Trailhead

Details

Distance

6 miles

Elevation Gain

2162 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Added by Katherine Haveman

Enjoy stunning views of the San Juans as well as the surrounding desert by climbing the lesser traveled peaks of the La Platas.

From the western end of the town of Mancos, follow CR 42 north until it enters the national forest and becomes FR 561. Go right on FR 350 and keep right at any junctions (there are two of them) until you reach the signed Sharkstooth Trailhead about 19 miles from Mancos. 

Enjoy your drive through a beautiful aspen forest, and if you are here in spring, you’ll even see some wildflowers and buttercups lining the roadway as you climb steadily up the gravel road. 

While Sharkstooth can be reached from the east, from the town of Durango, the approach will be longer.

The last mile and a half of this road can be rough without high clearance, so park your car if need be and approach the trailhead on foot. 

Once you reach the trailhead, you’ll see Hesperus looming above you. Take the path on the left to begin your gradual climb towards Sharkstooth Pass.

Follow the well-graded trail up meandering switchbacks, Hesperus in sight for most of the climb. Enjoy a few small stream crossings, and depending on the season, some lingering snow banks. Finally, reach the saddle of Sharkstooth Pass, with a few large carins (and a stick) leading you towards stunning views of the La Platas. To your left is Sharkstooth, a scree filled scramble, and to your right the path to Centennial continues, also with some scree. Start up the scree for a short, but steep scramble, where towards the top, a few carins again guide the way. You come upon a talus field, and keeping the edge you just climbed to your left, approach the obvious ridge line leading to the summit of Centennial. There will be some exposure here, so use three points of contact when necessary, and enjoy an even closer look at Hesperus as you make your way to the false summit. Push on, through some scree and lose rock as the path will become more defined for the final push to the summit. Congratulations, you are at 13,062 ft.  

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Forest
Scenic
Wildflowers

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