Getting to the Trailhead
Rogers Pass Trailhead: Elevation 11,100'
Take exit 232 north from I-70. Follow U.S. Highway 40 over Berthoud Pass to the Winter Park Ski area. Look for the second forest access turnoff to the east, about 1 mile past the Lakota development turnoff. You want Grand County Road 80, or the Moffat “Hill Road”, which lead to Rollins Pass. After 3.7 miles, the county road forks. Take the middle fork, straight ahead, which is Forest Road 149. The entire length of this road is passable for passenger cars if they go slowly. There are camping possibilities starting at about 6 miles up the road. At 10.4 miles a railroad trestle comes into view. Continue another 0.3 miles to a parking area next to the trestle. The elevation here is 11,200’ and the Rogers Pass trailhead is right there.
Follow the trail, which used to be a road, south for 2.3 miles to Rogers Pass. This is the start of James Peak’s north ridge, at about 11,800’ elevation.
Leave the trail and head straight up the ridge. The ridge quickly narrows and you soon reach the first of two obstacles – small cliffs in the ridge. (photo) Skirt both obstacles on the west (right hand) side, regain the ridge, and continue climbing.
Way below you, on your right, is a trail paralleling the ridge. This is trail 803, which eventually crosses the ridge at a 12,000’ saddle. You could have picked up this trail at two large cairns just below Rogers Pass, but it wouldn’t be as much fun to climb as the ridge. The trail continues east from the saddle, and will not take you to the summit.
From the 12,000’ saddle, continue up the north ridge, which is very broad from this point onward. The summit is in view most of the way.
Standard day hiking gear.