ApproachSee Getting There
Route DescriptionTrailhead Elevation:9850 ft
One Way Distance per my GPS: 3.2 miles
Approximate Hiking Time (one way uphill): 3:15 hrs
Most of the Richmond Pass Trail is well-defined but in some places you will have to look for cairns or ribbons on the trees to find your way.
Hike the trail up the switchbacks in the Aspen forest on the eastern slopes of Hayden Mountain. At around 11000 ft, the Aspen forest ends. Meadows and groves of Pine trees come to cover the slopes.
I lost the trail near the treeline (11500 ft). If you too lost the trail, go up the grassy slopes veering north toward Full Moon Gulch and away from McIntyre Gulch to the south (where an old mining road can be seen). You are sure to find the trail again at 11800 ft.
After this, the trail goes diagonally up a treeless slope to an elevation of 12100 ft where a fairly flat grassy plateau appears. Richmond Pass and the summit of Hayden Mountain will come into view. Hike the easy grassy plateau to Richmond Pass (12657 ft and 2.5 miles from trailhead).
At the pass, you will have to turn north and traverse a relatively narrow rocky area 0.25 miles long. This will be a Class 2 (and at worst possibly a class 3) hike. You will find a beaten path that goes over the crest of the first set of "spires" (for lack of a better word. They are not that bad) and bypasses the second set to the right (east) of them until it reaches a small grassy area. For the 3rd and final set, the path descends 50 or more ft to the left (west) of the spires and then comes back up to reach the base of Hayden Mountain at 12800 ft. (You could probably avoid all difficulties if you descend 200 ft to the west of Richmond Pass and hike the slopes below the spires).
The final 400 ft will be a hike over a big pile of white/orange-colored rock.