Mount Sniktau: 13er Hike Review

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Mount Sniktau (13,240ft.) is a 13er mountain located in Colorado’s central Front Range, within the Arapaho National Forest. Located on the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass, Mount Sniktau is extremely close to Loveland Ski Area and Arapahoe Basin Ski Area and offers an excellent introduction to 13er hiking. Indeed, an adventure to the summit of Mount Sniktau is very straightforward and relatively easy in comparison to many other Colorado 13er and 14er mountains.

The standard route to the summit of Mount Sniktau is via its Southwest Ridge. The route begins at the parking area off of the east side of Loveland Pass Road (US-6), right at Loveland Pass. At 3.7 miles roundtrip, with approximately 1,250ft of elevation gain, the hike is mostly along a Class 1 trail with a small bit of scrambling at the summit. If you’re looking for a longer hike and bigger challenge, consider adding in nearby 13,427ft. Grizzly Peak.

Hike Review Series: Mount Sniktau

Mountain Information

Mount Sniktau, located in Colorado’s Arapaho National Forest, is named after Edwin H. N. Patterson, who was a notable Colorado journalist, editor, and friend of author Edgar Allen Poe. In 1875, Patterson became editor of the “Colorado Miner” magazine in Georgetown, CO. On occasion, Patterson would use the pen name of Sniktau, which he had said was bestowed upon him by Native Americans. However, others have inferred that Patterson took the pen name from another journalist, W. F. Watkins, who went by Sniktaw (a reverse spelling of Watkins). 

Either way, Mount Sniktau is named in honor of Patterson’s pen name and his contributions to Colorado history. At an elevation of 13,240ft., Mount Sniktau is an incredibly popular 13er given its location on the Continental Divide and proximity to the Denver metro area.

Mount Sniktau

  • Summit Elevation: 13,240ft.
  • Range: Front
  • Sub-Range: Central Front
  • Location: Arapaho National Forest
  • Nearest Town: Silver Plume

Trail Guide


The Class 1 Southwest Ridge route to Mount Sniktau begins at the top of Loveland Pass, across the road from the Continental Divide sign on Loveland Pass Road (US-6). The trailhead has a parking area for about 30-40 vehicles, but given the close proximity to the Denver area, only the earliest of arrivals are likely to secure a parking spot here during peak season (and even during winter when backcountry skiing is popular).

From the Loveland Pass parking area, the route is almost completely along a Class 1 trail, save for some simple scrambling to Mount Sniktau’s summit. At about 1.0 mile into the hike along the Mount Sniktau Trail, a junction is reached with the Mount Sniktau Trail heading to the left and the Grizzly Peak Trail heading to the right. Head left to continue the ascent toward Mount Sniktau for about another 1.0 mile and scramble up to the summit for some amazingly vast views.

Route Information

  • Route: Southwest Ridge
  • Class: 1
  • Type:Out-and-Back
  • Trailhead: Loveland Pass
  • Trailhead Elevation: 11,990ft.
  • Route Length: 3.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1,250ft.
Fun Factor

Route Instructions

Planning Tips

Provisions and Dining

The closest town to Loveland Pass is Silver Plume, but there are also a number of ski resorts within reasonable proximity, including Loveland Ski Area, Arapahoe Basin Ski Area, and Keystone Ski Resort. The towns of Dillon and Silverthorne are also a fairly short drive from the pass. Thus, there are plenty of options for provisions and dining within about 20 to 30 minutes of driving. 

We recommend bringing along a topographical map of the area, such as the “National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for Idaho Springs and Loveland Pass.” You’ll be able to see US-6 W on most of this hike, but a good topo map is always nice to have in addition to a GPS device, if you’re using one. In addition, we included a couple of our favorite field guides for plant and bird identification to aid in the enjoyment your outdoor adventure. Lastly, we included Gerry Roach’s “Colorado Thirteeners: From Hikes to Climbs” guidebook, which does not cover Mount Sniktau specifically, but does provide an amazing amount of information on other 13er hikes in Colorado that may be of interest. 

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