Lower Gold Camp Road to Jones ParkWith my wife out of town visiting family I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and attempt a summit of Mt. Garfield (10,930'), the highest point between the Bear Creek and Ruxton Creek drainages on the east slopes of Pikes Peak. Mt. Garfield is not as visible from Colorado Springs as it's lower neighbor to the north Cameron Cone. I headed out from home for the short drive to the trailhead excited for the days events.
I got an early start from the Lower Gold Camp Road Trailhead and began the roughly
3/4 mile hike up Gold Camp Road to the beginning of the Seven Bridges Trail (#622).
I followed the Seven Bridges Trail along North Cheyenne Creek below the south
slopes of Mt. Kineo past the scenic Undine Falls. Above Undine Falls I passed through
a few scree slopes before the trail veered away from North Cheyenne Creek along a
smaller tributary to the northwest. After following this tributary for a short time I
entered a scenic young aspen forest. I took a right at a fork in the trail within the
aspen forest and shortly attained the saddle to the west of Mt. Kineo. After heading
down from the saddle on the north I crossed Bear Creek and took a left on Trail
#667 into Jones Park.
Jones Park to the Summit
Once in Jones Park I took a moment to rest and grab a light snack. I reviewed my
Pikes Peak Atlas and confirmed my proposed route to the summit. After about five
minutes I continued northwest along Trail #667 into the upper Bear Creek Valley. As
the minutes flew by I came to a point where Tuckaway Mountain came into view
near the head of the valley. This meant that I needed to begin looking for a decent
route up to the ridge between Tuckaway Mountain and Mt. Garfield to the north.
There are two saddles located between Tuckaway Mountain and Mt. Garfield and I decided to bushwack
up to the western of these two. The bushwack to this saddle from Trail #667 was relatively easy. Once
on the saddle however, things got a little more rough. I made the decision to traverse around the minor
summit separating the two saddles on the north - this involved about a quarter mile of rough
scrambling over large boulders and downfall. I got the distinct feeling that no one had been around
here in a long time as I noticed more than one boulder cave that looked like a good den site - a
little scary. After a solid half hour of rough scrambling I arrived at the eastern saddle below Mt. Garfield.
I would recommend to anyone reading this to reach this saddle directly from Trail #667 - it would seem
to be much easier.
From the saddle up the west ridge started off relatively easy. About half way to
the summit I encountered some boulders and rock pinnacles that involved some
fun and airy Class 2+/3 scrambling. The views towards Tuckaway Mountain and
Pikes Peak to the west and Cameron Cone to the north were great from this
scramble route. As weather was approaching from Pikes Peak to the west I
quickly finished the route to the summit and eventually found the true summit
and a really cool summit register. It was from the 1970's with me being the first
to sign in 2005.
With weather approaching I chose to head down the southwest slopes through a fairly extensive
boulderfield system to reach the floor of the Bear Creek Valley. The views of the headwaters of the
Bear Creek Valley and Tuckaway Mountain were quite nice from the southwest slopes.
Once back to Trail #667 my feet were happy to be off of the steep boulderfield. As I was feeling good
I decided to take a slightly different route back to the trailhead. I detoured onto Trail #668 and then
the pipeline trail to access the aspen forest south of Mt. Kineo. From near the highpoint of this route
there was a nice view of Mt. Garfield - it seemed so far away!
Once back at the trailhead I decided that Mt. Garfield was harder than some of the easier fourteeners
I have summited. After relaxing at the trailhead, I headed home, showered and crashed while watching
a baseball game on the tube. Overall a great day! It still amazes me that I can summit a peak like
Mt. Garfield and see no one above Jones Park with over a half million people below in the Colorado
Springs metro area - what are they all doing? I should look on the positive side and let them have
their urban jungle - I'll take the mountains any day.