OverviewThe North Ridge has a good trail up to the summit of Sheep Mountain. This is a good year round trail, but is steep enough in places that ski poles will be useful when the trail is covered with snow. An ice axe may even come n handy if the snow is really hard.
This route is about six miles round trip and with 2000 feet elevation gain and can be completed in half a day.
Other routes to the summit of Sheep Mountain are probably blocked by private land.
Getting ThereOn Highway 40 between Granby and Tabernash, turn west on County Road 53, which is also the entrance to Snow Mountain Ranch. Follow the road for 1.1 miles to the headquarters/program building. Since the route to the peak crosses a short section of Snow Mountain Ranch (owned by the YMCA) Property you should enquire here as to if you need a day pass (if you are there during working hours 8-5 pm).
Continue on County Road 53 for 0.3 miles. Keep right on County Road 53 and drive another 1.3 miles to a three-way junction. Take the middle road posted for Columbine Point. Drive up to the top of hill to a parking lot at the reservoir. It is suggested that you park here since there isn’t much parking at the actual trailhead.
Route DescriptionFrom the suggested parking area, follow the road (or trail closer to the water) around the reservoir on the west side. Once you circle the reservoir half way you will notice a big sign marking the beginning of the trail (note: the sign labels the mountain as Snow Mountain rather than Sheep Mountain).
The trail climbs through the mostly dead lodgepole forest and aspen forest until the views begin to open up about 1.3 miles into the climb and when the trail reaches the north ridge. Once reaching the north ridge of Sheep Mountain, the trail mostly follows the ridge south to the summit.
There are steep sections as well as a false summit you have to climb over, but the trail is well marked and has great views of the Vasquez Mountains and the mountains to the west and to the north (Rocky Mountain National Park, Parkview Mountain and Elk Mountain to list a few).
If you head south from the summit a short ways, you can get better photographs of the views. After enjoying the summit, return the same way.
This route is marked for winter use at least half way up the mountain.