Nonans Peak is a prickly little desert peak in the Gorge Hills west of Cañon City. From the top of Nonans Peak, the visitor enjoys neat views into the Royal Gorge of the Arkansas River and dynamite vistas of the Sangre de Cristo range, plus an unusual scene to the north of Pikes Peak rising over a rocky desert ridge.
For better or for worse, however, few seem to take in this view. Nonans Peak is a bit out of the way, and it is unranked (has less than 300 feet of prominence), causing many purists to forego a visit to the summit of this little mountain. As a result, a visit to Nonans Peak is a solitary, quiet experience. Aside from a small summit cairn and evidence here and there of some old and small refuse, the only prominent sign of mammalian visitation on this peak are the vague trails and droppings of the Bighorn Sheep that call this part of the Gorge Hills home.
Colorado Rank: Unranked
Prominence: 240 feet
USGS Quad: Royal Gorge
Trails Illustrated Map: #135 (Pikes Peak, Cañon City)
*Rank and Prominence Reference: Lists of John
Nonans Peak rises near the mouth of the Royal Gorge on the north rim, only three miles as the crow flies from the center of Cañon City, in Fremont County, Colorado. The main major road servicing this area is US Highway 50. Cañon City is 90 minutes or less by vehicle from the city of Colorado Springs and, thus, within 3 hours of most of the Denver metropolitan area.
Nonans Peak resides in and is accessible via the Cañon City Royal Gorge & Park.
Though a hefty fee is required to access the Royal Gorge bridge and amusement park area, it is free to access Fremont Peak from the city park to the north of the peak. Parking is free, as well.
Cañon City Royal Gorge Park
Cañon City Recreation & Parks operates a simple first come, first served campground that would be very convenient for those attempting this peak from the north.
Red Canyon Park
According to the Trails Illustrated map of the area, camping is available in this Cañon City park located north of Cañon City via Rt 9 (which becomes Shelf Road).
Shelf Road Recreation Area
The Bureau of Land Management operates two campgrounds in the Shelf Road Recreation Area about 12 miles north of Cañon City. The Bank (13 sites) and Sand Gulch (16 sites) each have tent pads, picnic tables, fire grates and a vault toilet.
The National Forest Service operates a free, year-round campground about 16 miles south of Cañon City via County Road 143 (Oak Creek Grade Road). There are 16 sites, but no water is available (haul your own).
Weather & Seasons
The mountains around Cañon City are typically warmer and dryer than other mountains of higher elevation in Colorado. Summers in this area can be painfully – or even dangerously – hot, and very dusty. The record high temperature for Cañon City is 118°F (48°C). If visiting Nonans Peak the summer, you may wish to opt for an early morning sunrise hike or a late evening sunset hike. Fall would be a pleasant time to visit Nonans Peak, with moderate temperatures and dry roads making for easy access. It is tempting to visit this area in Winter and Spring when access to the high country is limited by deep drifts blocking roads and high avalanche danger, but note that steep, rocky areas may be slick or even dangerous when snow covered and the north-facing slopes of the ridge Fremont Peak (used to access Nonans Peak) could be impassible in very deep snow.