Take I-25 from the north or south to Exit 141 and take Take US Highway 24, also known as Cimarron Street or the Midland Expressway, to 21st St. Go south on 21st St., which changes into Cresta Rd. Follow Cresta to Cheyenne Blvd. and take a right. When you come to a fork in the road, take the right fork, which is North Cheyenne Canyon Road. The left fork goes to Seven Falls and the Starsmore Discovery Center is between the two. Take Cheyenne Canyon Rd. past the Mt. Cutler trailhead and Helen Hunt Falls until it ends at the Gold Camp Rd. parking lot where you will need to park. Gold Camp Rd. is on the left side of the parking lot. This part of the road is closed to vehicles, but open to hikers and bikers. This is where the St. Mary’s Falls route begins.
Of the two routes that I have posted for Stove Mountain; this is the much longer of the two. It is approximately 11 miles and gives you a full day hike. Start at the parking lot for Gold Camp Road and hike 1.25 miles to the collapsed tunnel #3. There is a clearly marked trail to the left that takes you up and over the tunnel. This is Trail 624, which is the primary trail of the hike. Trail 624 will quickly begin to parallel St. Mary’s Creek to your left, which will be your babbling brook companion for most of the route. Go 1.5 miles to the base of the falls. There will be signs directing you to the base, which is an excellent spot to take a break and enjoy the views. Continue up many switchbacks. Once the switchbacks are done and you start to hear the water of the creek again you will begin to see through the trees to your left the ridge that you will eventually need to attain for the final summit push. From the falls go another 0.9 miles until you cross a small branch of the creek. Shortly after this crossing Nelsons Trail will merge from the right with Trail 624. Continue straight, keeping the creek to your left. After this merge the trail becomes Trail 381, although there are no signs for it. You will cross small branches of the creek two more times. Follow this trail another ~0.7 miles to a saddle clearing. This is the location of an abandoned mine and the junction of numerous trails. Many of these trails are old mining roads that now serve as ATV and dirt bike hotspots. At this point you are at ~ 10,100 ft. and actually above the 9782 ft. summit, which is about a mile away. The mine junction is the key to the route. This is where the route finding fun really begins. It serves as the beginning of the ridge that you will follow to the summit. I strongly recommend a good topo map, compass and/or GPS from this point. Turn northeast and follow this undulating ridge for one mile. At the start there are numerous old mining roads that run along the beginning of the ridge. You need to stick to the one that stays on the ridge crest as much as possible. Shortly after the first couple rise and falls these roads will peter out and you will need to start bushwhacking through the lightly wooded ridge. Fortunately, there is not too much undergrowth and scrub brush. Keep an eye out for the summit through the trees and angle for the southwest base of the summit. The east face of the summit is steep and technical. You will drop down into a small clearing at the base. Scramble up the southwest edge of the summit for ~ 500 ft. and enjoy the views!
Good hiking boots, appropriate seasonal attire and plenty of water. Be prepared for back country conditions, as this is hike is almost a full 11 miles.
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