Hayden Pass (10,709′), Sangre de Cristo Range

Hayden Pass (10,709′), Sangre de Cristo Range

Looking back west shortly after the trail starts climbing

Hayden Pass (10,709′), Sangre de Cristo Range

Hayden Pass road crosses the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Villa Grove in the west, and Coaldale to the east. The road is most challenging and scenic when started from Villa Grove, on the southwest side. With grades up to 20%, great views of the San Luis valley below can be seen.

This is one of only two vehicle passes over the Sangre de Cristo range. The other vehicle pass being Medano Pass, on the southern tip of the range. This pass travels through the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

Destination: Hayden Pass
Rating: Moderate
4×4 Road: Forest Road 6 Coaldale to the east or Villa Grove on the west
One-Way: 16 miles / 26 km
Elevation: 7,986′ – 10,709′ (+2,723′)/ 2,434m – 3,264m (+830m)

Area: Hayden Pass
County: Saguache
Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Nat’l Forest: San Isabel

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

Trekking Colorado made the first jeep crossing over Hayden Pass in 2020 (May 23rd)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Route Directions

Start by accessing Hayden Pass RD (FR 6) from Coaldale on the east side of the Sangre de Cristo mountains or from Villa Grove on the west side.

The pass is more difficult if started on the west side (Villa Grove) because you are climbing on a very rocky trail.

Hayden Pass summit is a large flat area after a continuous climb. The views from the road here are blocked by thick forest.

The road on the east side of the pass is better maintained and not as rocky.

Trailhead Directions

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

Tincup Pass (12,154′), Sawatch Range

Tincup Pass (12,154′), Sawatch Range

Tincup Pass 12,154' - part of the Continental Divide Trail (CDT)

Tincup Pass (12,154′), Sawatch Range

Tincup Pass gets its name from prospector Jim Taylor, who in 1860 brought his gold strike back to camp in his tin cup. The pass was used to move supplies between St. Elmo and the town of Tin Cup starting in 1881, when a wagon road was built.

The views and hiking opportunities along the road are abundant. There are 13,000′ peaks that can be easily accessed from 267 (Tin Cup Peak, PT 13,050, and Fitzpatrick Peak). In addition, the prominent Continental Divide Trail and Colorado Trail cross Tin Cup Pass Rd (267) about 4 miles from St. Elmo.

The Sawatch Mountain Range is home to fifteen 14,000′ peaks, such as Huron Peak, La Plata Peak, Missouri Mountain, Mt Antero, and the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains, Mt Elbert.

  • Destination: Tincup Pass
  • Rating: Difficult (moderate except for 2 small areas on the south side)
  • 4×4 Road: 267
  • Round trip: 24 miles / 38.6 km (St Elmo to the town of Tin Cup and back)
  • Elevation: 9,961′ – 12,154′ (+2,193′)/ 3,036m – 3,705m (+669m)County:

County: Gunnison
Agency: U.S. Forest Service
Nat’l Forest: San Isabel & Gunnison

Elevation Map (select to enlarge)

GPS Route with Elevation

Video Tour

Trail Directions

Starting from the south side of the pass at St. Elmo, the 4WD road climbs west toward Tincup Pass following the North Fork of Chalk Creek.

After 4 miles the road climbs to the north toward Tincup Pass.

Another mile in brings you to treeline with a good view of the remainder of the route to the pass. The switchbacks ahead are very narrow.

Once up the ledge road and switchbacks you will be at Tincup Pass, about 6 miles from St. Elmo.

Heading down the north side of the pass, the road is rough for the first mile while it winds through the tundra.

The road gradually widens and becomes more maintained.

After crossing a creek you will drive on a section of road made up of large talus along the edge of Mirror Lake. This section is rough so use caution.

Once past the lake the road becomes passable by passenger vehicles.

Trailhead Directions

Mt Antero (14,269′) and Mt White (13,667′), Sawatch Range

Mt Antero (14,269′) and Mt White (13,667′), Sawatch Range

At 13,800" looking at the summit of Mt Antero

Mt Antero (14,269′) and Mt White (13,667′), Sawatch Range

Mt Antero is one of only a handful of 14,000′ peaks that has a road that travels to within a short distance of the summit.  The road up the mountain is difficult, rough and rocky, requiring four-wheel drive, eventually topping out at 13,800′. From the end of the road at point 13,800 it’s a 1/2 mile and 470′ scramble to the summit.

In 1881, a Salida man by the name of Nelson Wanemaker discovered gems high on Mt Antero. His discovery was publicized a few years later, and the mountain became a famous collecting area for aquamarine, phenacite, fluorite, topaz, and smoky quartz crystals. It has the highest concentration of these minerals anywhere in the US. With findings far above timberline, this is the highest known gem field in the lower 48.

The Sawatch Mountain Range is home to fourteen other 14,000′ peaks, such as Huron Peak, La Plata Peak, Missouri Mountain, and the highest peak in the Rocky Mountains, Mt Elbert.

Destination: Mt Antero to 13,800′
Rating: Difficult
4×4 Road: 277, 278, 278A
Round trip: 18.8 miles / 30.3 km (Mt Antero and Mt White)
Elevation: 9,400′ – 13,800′ (+4,400′)/ 2,865m – 4,206m (+1,341m)

GPS Route with Elevation

From the end of the very steep road at 13,800′, it’s a 1/2 mile and 470′ climb to the 14,269′ summit of Mt Antero

Video Tour

Route Directions

Turn onto #277 jeep road (Baldwin Gultch) and drive 3 miles to a road junction at 10,850′. Turn left on the #278 road and cross Baldwin Creek.

Continue another mile to tree line as it climb’s Mt Antero’s west slopes. Stay left on 278A at the next 2 junction’s, reaching 13,200′.

From 13,200′ to 13,800′, the road becomes extremely steep with hairpin
switchbacks. You may want to consider parking here as most vehicles
wont make it. Continue up the steep south side to reach the end of the road, Point 13,800′.

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