OverviewThe south route starts from the Big Thompson River, just inside Rocky Mountain NP. It uses a network of game and social trails and avoids going over any rocks (unless you want to). It's a half-mile and about 1000 feet elevation gain to the summit.
Getting ThereThere are three approaches to the start of the climb, all of which get you to a bridge over the Big Thompson River.
From the YMCA, follow the horse trail south to the bridge.
From Bear Lake Road, park at a turnout just before the first bridge after Moraine Park (or the Museum). Hike down the left bank of the Big Thompson to the bridge.
From the historic entrance, go through the locked gate and hike upriver to the bridge, respecting the private property you cross. The historic entrance begins at the Dunraven Inn/Swiftcurrent Lodge parking lots on Highway 66, but you can’t park in their lots. You might walk a half mile or so from the last stop on the shuttle bus up this road.
From the junction of trails on the north side of the bridge, look up the mountain. One option goes up the road that goes uphill to the right to a private residence. There's a trail that becomes visible once you crest the hillock.
In addition to that, you should be able to see roughly two options, a larger trail that goes right and up around a hillock, or a smaller network of trails to the left. You can’t go wrong - - everything leads up - - but if you veer left when given the choice, you’ll eventually have a chance at an easy class 3 move up a V in the rock. If you just want to climb the darned mountain, stay on the wider horse trail on the right.
All the trails go up the grass and brush slope and start to converge in a lightly wooded area with large rocks clearly visible on the left. Continue up and you’ll see an obvious saddle with two visible peaks. The summit is the more distant of the two, and the trails merge into one as you traverse the slope a little below the saddle. Continue on up and there’s a clear trail/stairway to the top.
Live a little. Take a different path down.