Mt Audubon (13,223′), Front Range

Mt Audubon (13,223′), Front Range

Mt Audubon 13,223'

Mt Audubon (13,223′), Front Range

Mt Audubon is the highest peak in the Indian Peaks Wilderness that has an established trail nearly to the summit. It is located in the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, about an hour outside of Boulder.

The great 360 degree view from the summit looks out over the mountains of the Indian Peaks Wilderness to the west, Rocky Mountain National Park to the north, and the Front Range and plains to the east. Beautiful alpine lakes like Mitchell and Blue Lake are scattered in the valleys.

Destination: Blue Lake
Trailhead: Beaver Creek Trail (at Mitchell Lake parking lot)
Round trip: 8 miles / 12.9 km
Elevation: 10,350′ – 13,223′ (2,873′) / 3,155m – 4,030m (875m)

Mountain Range: Front Range
County: Boulder
Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Nat’l Forest: Roosevelt 
Nat’l Wilderness: Indian Peaks

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

The Beaver Creek Trail enters the Indian Peaks Wilderness and climbs through the trees for 1.7 miles. At the first junction head west (left) onto the Mount Audubon Trail as it heads west.

The Mount Audubon Trail continues climbing above timberline. The trail ends at the saddle where, there is a view down into the Coney Lake drainage. For the final half-mile, and 600 vertical feet, follow the rock cairns up the talus to the summit.

Trailhead Directions

Shelf Road (9,494′), Fourmile Canyon

Shelf Road (9,494′), Fourmile Canyon

The Window rock formation near the road

Shelf Road (9,494′), Fourmile Canyon

Shelf Road Gold Belt Tour National Scenic Byway is a dirt road passable with a 2WD vehicle in good weather. It follows the old stagecoach route between Cripple Creek and  Cañon City built in 1892. It twists along Fourmile Creek, with long bands of limestone towering above and below the road. 

The Gold Belt Tour was designated by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation as a National Scenic Byway in 2000. It is one of eleven America’s Byways designated in Colorado. Fremont Peak and the Royal Gorge Bridge are located not far from the southern end of the road and are a favorite in the area..

Destination: Shelf Road
Rating: Easy 2WD
Road: Fremont County Road 9 (also called Red Canyon Road)
One-way: 23 miles / 37 km
Elevation: 9,494′ – 5,331′ (4,163′) / 2,894m – 1,625m (1,269m)

Area: Fourmile Canyon
County: Freemont
Agency: BLM (Bureau of Land Management)

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

A sport climber’s dream, with bolted routes on stable limestone

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Route Directions

When entering the road in Cripple Creek there is a sign that recommends a 4×4 or a high clearance vehicle. The road, however, is well graded and the only issue would occur if snow or heavy rains hit the area. Any passenger vehicle can easily drive this road in good weather.

Trailhead Directions (select map to enlarge)

Fremont Peak (7,273′), Royal Gorge

Fremont Peak (7,273′), Royal Gorge

View of Fremont Peak from the trail

Fremont Peak (7,273′), Royal Gorge

Fremont Peak is the high point along a narrow ridge of hills rising near the eastern edge of the Royal Gorge’s north rim. The desert peak is part of a very small sub-range of mountains called the Gorge Hills. These peaks are relatively low and are covered in desert flora. Great views of the Royal Gorge, the Sangre de Cristo mountain range, and Pikes Peak can be seen along the trail and summit.

Don’t miss the Elkhorn Loop Picnic Area and Overlook to get a closer look of the bridge and the Royal Gorge, only a couple minutes drive from the EastRidge Trailhead. Great views just steps from your car, check out the last two pictures. You can find a map here.

Summers in this area can be dangerously hot, plan accordingly.

  • Destination: Fremont Peak
  • Trailhead: EastRidge Trailhead, Royal Gorge Mountain Park
  • Round trip: 3.9 miles / 6.3 km
  • Elevation: 6,919′ – 7,273′ (+354′) / 2,109m – 2,217m (+108m)
  • Note: over 1000′ total gain

Area: Royal Gorge
County: Freemont

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

The Royal Gorge Bridge is the highest bridge in the United States. It spans 880 feet across the Arkansas river at a height of 955 feet. Built in 1929, it was the highest bridge in the world until 2001.

GPS Track with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

From the Eastridge trailhead head downhill and to the left (heading south) to get on County Road 389B.

Folllow County Road 389B until it ends at the radio towers

From the end of the road, you will see Fremont Peak across a saddle to the southeast. Follow the the trail heading in that direction.

You quickly come across a trail junction with a sign for the Summit trail. Follow the trail towards the peak (southeast).

Once underneath the peak, pick a social path up the steep slope to the summit. There is no maintained trail.

Trailhead Directions

The Crags (10,856′), Front Range

The Crags (10,856′), Front Range

Fantastic views

The Crags (10,856′), Front Range

The Crags Trail #664 follows Four Mile Creek through deep forests and lush meadows, ending at a rocky dome with unobstructed views in all directions. At the summit of the windswept dome there are views of the Rampart Range, Pikes Peak Mastif, Catamount Reservoirs, and distant mountain ranges to the west and north.

The majority of the Crags trail has a gentle elevation gain, with the first and last half-mile gaining the most elevation.

  • Destination: The Crags
  • Trailhead: The Crags/Devils Playground
  • Round trip: 7.3 miles / 11.7 km (winter mileage)
  • Elevation: 9,665′ – 10,856′ (+1,191′)/ 2,946m – 3,309m (+363m)

County: El Paso
Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Nat’l Forest: Pike

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

Take the clear and well-used path over a bridge and through the forest.

After climbing for 1/2 mile you will see the trail junction with the Devil’s Playground #664A, stay to the left on 664 to The Crags.

Continue following Fourmile Creek northeast through a valley. The trail will be wooded at first, but will eventually open up into a meadow with views of rocky cliffs and the rough western flank of Pikes Peak.

During the last 1/2 mile the trail re-enters the forest and gains elevation as it turns north along a small ridge.

The trail ends on the top of a rocky outcropping with excellent views all around.

Trailhead Directions

Hallett Peak (12,713′), Front Range

Hallett Peak (12,713′), Front Range

Hallett Peak (12,713')

Hallett Peak (12,713′), Front Range

Hallett Peak, viewed from east Rocky Mountain National Park, is distinctive with it’s slanted square structure towering over the landscape. As you near the summit however, the square melts away and you are left looking at a more traditional mountain silhouette.

Rising along the Continental Divide, Hallett Peak divides Chaos Canyon to the south and Tyndall Gorge to the north.

The route to the summit first traverses the summit of Flattop Mountain on a well maintained trail. The Arapaho Indians called the Flattop Mountain corridor “The Big Trail”.

The trail was formally constructed in 1925, was rehabilitated by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1940, and is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Destination: Hallett Peak
Trailhead: Bear Lake
Round trip: 10 miles / 16.1 km
Elevation: 9,475′ – 12,713′ (+3,238′)/ 2,888m – 3,875m (+987m)

County: Larimer
Agency: National Park Service
Nat’l Park: Rocky Mountain

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

From Bear Lake take the well maintained Flattop mountain trail to the summit of Flattop Mountain. No maintained trail reaches Hallett Peak, so cross the saddle above Tyndall Glacier and scramble up steep talus to the summit.

Trailhead Directions

Lake Helene (10,630′), Front Range

Lake Helene (10,630′), Front Range

Notchtop Mountain towers over the valley

Lake Helene (10,630′), Front Range

There is no signage and you must follow a social trail to get to the lake, but despite it’s obscurity, Lake Helene is a spectacular destination inside Rocky Mountain National Park. The lake is situated at treeline, between Flattop Mountain (12,324′) and Notchtop Mountain (12,129′).

Even lesser known Two Rivers Lake is a short walk from Lake Helene, and also worth the visit while in the alpine valley.

Destination:  Lake Helene
Trailhead: Bear Lake
Round trip: 7.2 miles / 11.6 km
Elevation: 9,475′ -10,630′ (+1,155′)/ 2,888m-3,240m (+352m)

County: Larimer
Agency: National Park
Nat’l Park: Rocky Mountain

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

Follow the Bear Lake trail for less than 1/2 mile to the Odessa Lake Trail Junction and take the trail to the right. The trail climbs above Bear Lake to the Flattop Mountain trail junction. Continue towards Odessa Lake, climbing through forests and meadows. After approximately 3.5 miles from the trailhead you will see social trails on your left for Lake Helene. The lake is partially concealed from the trail and spurs are fairly easy to miss. If you make a sharp hairpin turn north (right) and begin descending, you’ve passed it.

Two Rivers Lake is near treeline just downstream of Lake Helene. A thick forest and boulder field stand between the main trail and lake, making it easier to walk east from Lake Helene through the forest and meadows.

Trailhead Directions