This is a super-short route with low-elevation gain. It leverages the Colorado Trail for a bulk of the distance, then transitions to a bushwack on a steep, timbered slope followed by pleasant scrambling on grippy rock.
Roundtrip Mileage: 2 miles
Elevation Gain: Less than 500 feet
Maps: Jefferson Quad or Trails Illustrated #105 (Tarryall Mts. / Kenosha Pass)
- From Hwy 285 about 5 miles southwest of Kenosha Pass, you will reach the town of Jefferson.
- Turn right/northwest on County Road 35 (see brown Forest Service signs to Jefferson Lake) and follow this road for about 2.25 miles to County Road 37 (again, see brown Forest Service signs to Jefferson Lake).
- Turn right/due north on County Road 37. Follow County Road 37 just over a mile to FS 401.
- Turn left on FS 401.
- Look for the Beaver Ponds picnic area, where the Colorado Trail crosses FS 401.
- Parking is spotty near the junction of FS 401 and the Colorado Trail and there . Locate parking where you can find it, and walk to the trailhead.
- Head east on the Colorado trail, gently ascending a slope. Jefferson Hill may occasionally show itself through the trees to your southeast, depending on the season and leaf coverage on the Aspen.
- At about 1 mile, you will reach a broad, gentle highpoint in the trail. If you reach a beat-up barbed wire fence an a walk-through gate, stop; you have gone far enough on the Colorado Trail.
- Head roughly south toward the peak. The slope will begin by rising gently, then become quite steep and rocky as you gain altitude.
- Gain the ridge by scrambling on the rock you are most comfortable with. The scrambling options are virtually limitless. The ridge is surprisingly rugged and rocky and getting from one point to another may require minor down-climbing.
- Jefferson Hill has two candidates for highpoint, a northern point and a rocky outcrop to the south.
- To return, simply scramble down from the rock ridge and follow the northern slopes back to the Colorado Trail, then follow the Colorado Trail back to FS 401 and your vehicle.
- Trail map (Trails Illustrated #105 Tarryall Mts, Kenosha Pass would meet most needs)
- Sturdy hiking boots with grippy soles
- Long pants to save your skin during the bushwack
- Water and snacks
- A camera to save memories of the high country views
- First aid kit
- Other standard backcountry essentials