Kit Carson Peak Summmit Markers to commemorate your hike!
Kit Carson Peak is 14,165 ft and ranks at the 23rd highest 14er in the state of Colorado. It lies in the Sangre de Cristo Range near Crestone Peak and Crestone Needle and is named after the frontiersman Kit Carson. The peak is also known as Kit Carson Mountain, a name that is used for both the massif with three summits (Columbia Point, Kit Carson Peak and Challenger Point) or to describe the main summit only. Kit Carson Peak has two summits above 14000 feet.
One popular route on Kit Carson Mountain climbs from the west side of the range, starting at Willow Creek Trailhead (elevation: 8,900 ft/2,700 m). This route first climbs Challenger Point, just to the west of Kit Carson. Climbing from the saddle between Challenger Point to Kit Carson peak involves crossing a path commonly called 'Kit Carson Avenue'. Total elevation gain for this route is 6,250 ft (1,905 m), in a 14 miles (23 km) round-trip.
Kit Carson can also be reached from the east side of the Sangre de Cristos via the South Colony Lakes access. (A four-wheel drive road currently provides relatively a high elevation trailhead; however this road will be closed half way up on October 13, 2009.) This route starts by using part of the trail for Humboldt Peak, and then traverses a ridge and plateau toward Kit Carson. A sub-peak named Columbia Point (informally known as "Kat Carson") is climbed on the way to the main summit.
Kit Carson does not have any glaciers but it does have a semi-permanent ice patch on its rugged north face, which rarely melts even in the driest years (such as 2002 and 2006). During the summer Kit Carson and the neighboring peaks are hit with a diurnal cycle of thunder storms, which often form within a short time period; lightning occurs almost daily.