View our COVID-19 guidelines

Pigeon and Turret Peak

Satiate your sense of adventure w/ two 13ers in one trip!


Pigeon and Turret Peak trip overview

Pigeon can be seen from the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad as it proceeds along the Animas River from Durango towards Silverton. Located in the Needles, a subrange of the San Juan Mountains, Pigeon rises 6000′ above the Animas River. Its East Face is a 1000′ sheer wall that dwarfs the terrain surrounding it. These peaks typically sees much less traffic than 14ers such as Windom, Sunlight, and Eolus and as a result you are rewarded with solitude unlike anywhere else in Colorado.  Climbing Pigeon requires endurance, skill and a sense of adventure and we do recommend completing a peak like Vestal as a warm up for the likes of Pigeon and Turret. 


intermediate difficulty


Duration Scale 3 days v2



Trip Itinerary

Day 1
  • First, we met at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge railroad station to board the iron horse that will deposit us at the bottom of the Animas valley and reduce our approach considerably.
  • After we get off the train and gather our packs at the Needleton train station, we locate the trail and begin our trek up Ruby Creek towards Ruby lake.
  • By late afternoon we will arrive at Ruby lake and set up camp for the night but not before a well-deserved break and some trail food. 
  • Before calling it a night, we encourage you to take some time and soak in the star-studded skies that are void of any form of light pollution. You might even see a shooting star.
Day 2
  • We will wake up very early to have some breakfast and set out to begin hiking up to the base of the peak. The exact time will be determined by your guide the day prior.
  • At a point, your guide will transition you to a roped team and the technical climbing section will begin. Progressively getting steeper the further up the ridge you get.
  • After some route-finding and technical sections, we will reach the summit bloc no later than noon. If we have time we will take some time to enjoy the summit, snap some photos before we begin our descent.
  • Descending before afternoon weather systems roll in we will arrive back at camp and enjoy the rest of the afternoon with some free time before turning in for our second night in the basin.
Day 3
  • We wake up at a more reasonable hour and have some breakfast before packing up camp and heading back down the primitive trail along Ruby Creek.
  • Arriving at the Needleton train station, we wait for our train to stop and pick us up to take us out of the wilderness in style. Most often enjoying a hard-earned cold beer on the way out.
  • Upon arriving in Durango, your guide will gather all company gear debrief you on your trip, and let you go to tell all your friends about the unforgettable experience you just had.

Where You Will Stay

Durango, Colorado

Historical Durango is nestled in the Animas River valley. A high desert paradise, the downtown is laced with delectable restaurants and thirst-quenching bars and breweries. There are a variety of hotels to pick from but when considering the best option, convenience is king. Since this trip departs from the Durango & Silverton train station, we suggest finding a place to lay your head within walking distance to simplify pre and post-trip logistics. Some of our personal favorites include The Rochester Hotel, The Best Western Plus Rio Grande Inn, and The Strater Hotel.

where we will meet

Prior to the first day of the trip you will meet with your guide locally in Durango to have a pre-trip meeting on the general trip plan and complete a gear check. After all your gear has been checked by your guide a time will be determined to meet at the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad station the next morning to load up your packs onto the train cars and find your seats for the trip into the mountains. The train station is located in downtown Durango and is very easily located. 

SJE HQ Asset

What is Included in the cost?

included in trip cost icon

– Three days with an AMGA certified & trained guide

– Federal land usage surcharge (USFS/BLM)

– Camping equipment and all meals

Not Included Icon

– Guide gratuity

Train fees (approach via the iconic Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway!)

– Personal clothing/gear

* If you need to rent equipment locally visit our friends at Backcountry Experience. If you are coming from the Front Range reach out our partners at Cripple Creek Backcountry.

Course Gallery

(Click for full size image)


Anyone participating in our programs must fill out a waiver beforehand. If you are under 18, please have your parent/guardian complete.


Please familiarize yourself with our Booking & Cancellation Policies.


Skiers/riders should be in good physical condition, and confident/comfortable on their method of snow travel (backcountry touring skis or splitboard).