Topographic maps usually mark the summit about 0.4 miles to the northwest, but the Forest Service has a sign just below the summit described here, stating that this is Mount Margaret (see map in section 3 for details). The rest of the discussion here will pertain to the Forest Service-indicated summit.
Mount Margaret is definitely a small, unspectacular forested summit; it does not have enough prominence to be ranked, and in reality, involves very little actual elevation gain. Despite these qualities that make Mount Margaret seem like more of a hill then a mountain, it has a quite popular trail all the way to the summit and does offer a nice little hike in the summer and snowshoeing trip during the winter. A large system of trails and forest roads en route to the summit create loop possibilities and nearby ranked outcroppings can add interest to a possible trip around the area. The popularity of the little summit can be attributed to the nearby village of Red Feather Lakes.
While the Mount Margaret Trailhead (8100’) is higher in elevation then the summit (7959’), there is about 200 feet of actual elevation gain over around 4 miles. Needless to say, the trail is flat, making it an attractive cross-country skiing route.
7959’ 3.8 miles 2.5 hours (winter) one way
Mount Margaret Trailhead: 13T 0454915mE 4514774mN
Gate and intersection (FS road 503A): 13T 0453873mE 4516126mN
Major intersection (FS roads 503, 503C, Dowdy Lake trails): 13T 0454730mE 4517308mN
Intersection near fenced wetlands: 13T 0455516mE 4517752mN
Mount Margaret Summit: 13T 0456020mE 4518329mN
From the Mount Margaret Trailhead, follow the sandy double track road that will serve as your trail through meadows and across a small stream bed. In January, the stream was frozen solid so crossing was not a problem; however there was no bridge, so crossing in the summer might become interesting. Pick up the trail across the stream and follow it as it meanders through the meadows and passes by two campsites. You will eventually re-enter the forest and reach a gate and subsequent intersection with Forest Service road 503C. Continue straight past a few more campsites until you come upon a major junction with Forest Service road 503 and its branches. From this point signs do mark the way towards Mount Margaret, 1.5 miles away. You will pass four more small intersections (forming Loops A&B) and enter a small meadow with a fenced wetland depression in the center of it. After the small meadow the wide road turns into a small rocky trail as you descend to the saddle. About 100 feet of ascent will take you to the summit, marked with a sign. Although climbing the actual summit block looks to require high class 4/ low class 5 moves up a crack on the backside of the block, great views can be found without entering the realm of technical climbing. To the north sits Prairie Divide and Many Thunders Mountain, below you sits a working ranch in the Lone Pine Creek drainage.
Mount Margaret is located in multi-use national forest. Contact the US Forest Service for any specific rules and regulations.
Dogs, horses and mountain bikes are all allowed on the trail, and FS road 503 is open to everything shown in this picture.
CampingThere are seven designated campsites with fire pits along and near the Mount Margaret Trail. Contact the US Forest Service for any specific rules and regulations.
Campsites 1 & 2 sit relatively close together in the meadow near the trailhead. Campsites 3-5 are located past the gate and before FS road 503. Campsite 6 is near the wetland on Loop B, while campsite 7 is located off of Loop B a short distance on an unnamed trail. Pictures of each individual site 1-5 can be found below.
External LinksMount Margaret Trail Slideshow
Good overview of TH and Mount Margaret