This route combines limited trail walking with off-trail navigation to reach the top of two Kenosha range 12ers. Starting in dense timber, the route then pushes through sub-alpine brush, including our beloved willows. The higher reaches of the route are a wide-open romp through rocky tundra to bouldery summits. The views are divine.
Roundtrip Distance: 9 miles
Elevation Gain: 3,100 feet
YDS Rating: 2+
To reach the Long Gulch Trailhead from Jefferson, Colorado:
• Head north on Highway 285 for roughly 1 mile to Lost Park Road (FS 56).
• Turn right on Lost Park Road, and drive approximately 11 miles.
• Turn left on FS 817 and continue a short way on a rougher road to the rustic parking area.
FS 56 is a graded dirt road and suitable for most passenger vehicles. FS 817 is a roughly road and, conditions depending, may not be suitable for low-clearance cars. While the trailhead is technically open year-round, it may not be accessible in deep snow conditions or during the mud/thaw season.
• Head eastbound (to the southeast) on the Colorado Trail from the parking lot.
• Ride the Colorado Trail uphill, gaining about 600 feet elevation, as it switches back through the trees.
• Near the crest of a ridge, a footpath departs the Colorado Trail. The footpath strikes out in a northeasterly direction while the Colorado Trail heads east.
• Ascend a gully on a faint footpath for approximately one mile until the trees give way.
• Push another half mile uphill, roughly north-northeast, to the saddle between “Peak X” and “Peak Y.”
• From the saddle, turn west-northwest (left) to the summit of “Peak X.” The summit is the northern boulder outcrop and is rocky but easy scrambling will carry you to the top.
• The summit of “X-Prime” is only about 1 mile away.
• From “Peak X,” descent northwest down a broad ridgeline toward the saddle with “X-Prime,” loosing 600 feet of elevation.
• The “X-Prime” summit sits atop the little “wart” on the south end of the summit plateau. The easiest footing is obtained by wrapping around the summit to the north.
• To return, descend “X-Prime” to the saddle with “Peak X.” From here, you can traverse across the southwestern slopes of “Peak X.”
• Return to the area just below the saddle between “Peak X” and “Peak Y.” Be careful to descend the proper gully! Head down the gully you ascended, re-join the Colorado Trail, and return to the parking area.
• Wear and bring outerwear appropriate to the season
• Flotation will be necessary in snow season
• USGS Quad: Topaz Mountain
• Planning Map: Trails Illustrated #105 Tarryall Mountains/Kenosha Pass Trail