Driving to the Trailhead
The maze of backcountry forest roads between Park County 77 and the Observatory
Rock trailhead was full of scenery. Not long after passing Tarryall Reservoir we came
upon Eagle Rock, our first destination for the day, with Observatory Rock standing
in the distance. After summiting Eagle Rock we proceeded on to the Observatory
Rock trailhead. As we approached, Observatory Rock became more and more
As we neared the trailhead we passed through a very nice aspen forest in full fall
colors. The view of the south slopes of Observatory Rock amid the fall aspens was
quite impressive from the trailhead area. Another interesting find was a teepee
frame and the remnants of a small paddock - if anyone knows the history of these
items I would be interested in hearing from you.
The Route to the Summit
After passing the strange teepee frame we scrambled up the south slopes. After a
few minutes I made my way to the top of a rock outcropping to obtain nice views
down to the south and to the west. After enjoying these views we began to climb
up the south slopes and angled west to skirt the large south facing cliffs and attain
the west ridge.
Once on the west ridge we came to a nice vantage point of the aspen below
between two large rock towers. There were also nice views of Eagle Rock to the
southeast. We eventually came to the base of the west summit gulley. The
lower portion was fairly steep Class 2/2+ with a short section near the top that
would be considered easy Class 3 by some. The large tree which guards the
bottom of the west summit gulley was quite obvious when looking back down.
From the summit the views were great in all directions including the aspen to the
west, the Twin Cones to the north and the Tarryall River to the east.
After spending some quality time on the summit, which included a nice picnic, we
headed back to the trailhead. On our way out we enjoyed the small aspen forest
one last time and agreed the combination of Eagle Rock and Observatory Rock
make for a great day in the Puma Hills area.