OverviewThe Keyser Creek route is on the north side of Bills Peak and is less used than the eastern or southern routes. This is the most scenic route to Bills Peak. From the north, Bills Peak shows its best side with its rugged north face cirque.
ApproachEast of Parshall (not far east of Kremmling) and on Highway 40 between mile post 197 and 198, turn south onto Country Road 3. Follow County Road 3 until you reach County Road 32 (FR-139), mile 12 (formerly between mile markers 15 and 16?) on County Road 3. Follow County Road 32 for 4.7 miles and turn right on FR-136 on the road marked for Lake Evelyn and Bottle Pass Trail. The small parking area at the trailhead is reached after another 3.9 miles. The last road is sometimes rather rough in places, but if you drive slowly, most vehicles can make it.
Route DescriptionFrom the trailhead, follow the marked trail (an old logging road) for Bottle Pass on the left side of the parking lot. The trail heads south up the Kesyer Creek Valley. You will pass a trail junction, with a trail marked for Bottle Pass, but continue along the old logging road.
The trail reaches a marked junction after 1.8 miles. Stay right and follow the trail along Keyser Creek. Since the next part of the route up Keyser Creek requires routefinding and paying close attention, make sure to have a map in hand.
The faded trail follows Keyser Creek, makes a few crossings, and then follows the east bank of Keyser Creek (the topo map is in error). The trail then ascends to the Keyser Creek Cirque with Byers and Bills Peak towering above. After reaching the cirque, cross the stream and several smaller creeks and look for the faint trail ascending the slope to the west. The trail is tricky to follow, but is marked with cairns. The trail reaches the top of a spur ridge and offers incredible views. Follow the spur SE a short distance to a junction at point 11,829. From here, follow the faint path staying along the ridge south to the summit of Bills Peak. The one way distance to the summit of Bills Peak is 4.5 miles with 3800 feet altitude gain.
From the summit, it is possible to make this hike a nice semi-loop. Return down the north ridge of Bills Peak to the junction mentioned above at point 11,829. From there you can turn left and take the good trail down to Lake Evelyn and then back to the trailhead. If you do this semi loop, the round trip distance is 10.1 miles.