This is a very simple route that takes in two neat little summits. However, the route is a trail-less journey through sometimes dense timber with limited line of sight and should only be attempted if your navigation skills are honed. The initial ascent to the ridge-top is a bit of a calf burner, but does not last long. This is typical Puma Hills bushwacking, complete with fallen logs and almost no view of the summit until you’re “there.” Once on the ridge, this is a pleasant bushwack between the two summits.
Roundtrip Distance: 3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet net
The nearest access road is CO Rd 23 (Turner Gulch Road), which can be reached by traveling north from US Hwy 24 or south from CO Rd 77.
From CO Rd 77, FS 279 is roughly 11 miles via CO Rd 23. Turn off on CO Rd 23 south of the Tarryall Reservoir CO Rd 23 is rutted in spots. 4x4 may not be necessary in dry conditions, but should the road get wet, you will need 4x4. High clearance is, however, necessary. This road could be unpleasant in a passenger vehicle, but I guess it is doable in dry conditions. This surprisingly scenic route travels through high semi-arid rangeland and has views that will knock your socks off.
From US Hwy 24, FS 279 is approximately 6 miles north through a semi-rural subdivision. I do not know the condition of CO Rd 23 from Hwy 24 except that I assume the road is dirt and probably graded until reaching the Forest Service boundary.
High-clearance vehicles can continue south on FS 279 to the “End” signpost. There is parking here for a handful of trucks.
• From your vehicle, continue uphill on FS 279. What is left of the road ends shortly after the “End” signpost.
• Continue southbound for less than ¾ mile through the timber up-slope toward the saddle between Rishaberger and UN 10412.
• UN 10412 is just ½ mile west once you reach the ridge crest. Upon reaching the top of the ridge, turn west toward UN 10412, avoiding a sub-summit / outcrop to its north.
• The exact summit of UN 10412 is difficult to discern, so visit all the higpoints.
• Retrace your steps east toward the saddle between UN 10412 and Rishaberger. Cross through a less densely wooded area with some aspen. The summit of RIshaberger Mountain is about ½ mile from here.
• Continue across the saddle on gentle terrain, then begin the ascent of Rishaberger.
• Ascend the steepening, rocky and wooded west slopes of Rishaberger to the summit ridge. Head a bit south-southeast along the rocky ridgeline to the summit cairn. Explore the rocky ridge of Rishaberger Mountain before descending to the saddle.
• From the saddle, descend back to your vehicle, using caution not to mistakenly get sucked into the gulley to the east of the descent gulley. (I speak from experience.)