Gladstone Ridge is Colorado’s 475th highest ranked peak.
Gladstone is a 6 mile long ridgeline that sits in the Sawatch Mountains of central Colorado near the town of Buena Vista. It separates the South Cottonwood Creek Valley from the Middle Cottonwood Creek Valley. The ridgeline starts at a 12250 ft saddle at the base of Jones Mountain and heads east giving rise to several high points before dropping down to a 11300 ft saddle to the west of Sheep Mountain. West to east, the high points are as follows:
1)Point 12962 ft
2)Point 13038 ft
3)Point 13209 ft
4)Point 12661 ft
5)Point 11642 ft
I will refer to Point 13209 ft as Gladstone Ridge Peak.
A road starts in the town of Buena Vista and follows the Middle Cottonwood Creek Valley to reach the 12126 ft Cottonwood Pass. The northern slopes of Gladstone Ridge Peak go down to reach the road at an elevation of 10400 ft. The peak could theoretically be climbed from this spot but I am not aware of any trails that can take you above the tree-line. A better option is to start to the northwest and follow the Ptarmigan Lake Trail to reach the 12250 ft saddle. From there, you will do a long and pleasant ridge-top hike past points 12962 ft and Point 13038 ft to reach Gladstone Ridge Peak. Alternatively, you could drive a Jeep Road up the South Cottonwood Creek Valley and Grassy Gulch to a spot near the 12250 ft saddle. Ormes’ “Guide to the Colorado Mountains” mentions a southerly approach via Jonesy Gulch.
The summit of Gladstone Ridge Peak can provide you with magnificent views of the nearby mountains. The famous Fourteener, Mt. Yale, will be in good view. To the northwest, you can see Cottonwood Pass Road snaking toward the pass. To the east portions of Arkansas River Valley and the town of Buena Vista will be visible.
Getting ThereDirections to Ptarmigan Lake Trailhead:
From the intersection of Cottonwood Pass Road (FR 306) and Route 24 (the traffic light in the town of Buena Vista), drive the cottonwood Pass Rd 14.6 miles west to the well-signed Ptarmigan Lake Trailhead (Cottonwood Pass Rd is a paved road that is closed during snow season).
Views From the Summit:
Red TapeNo fees or permits for day hikes. For other regulations, see the site for San Isabel National Forest.
WeatherSee the forecast for the nearby town of Buena Vista.
Ptarmigan Lake Route PicturesLower Forest
Points 12962 ft and 13038 ft from around the lakes