Tanner Peak is a scrappy little semi-arid peak in the northern Wet Mountains south of Cañon City, Colorado. Known more as a mountain biking or motor-bike destination than a hiking objective, this mountain nonetheless makes a fine off-season destination and is a great conditioning outing when the high country is uninviting. Served by no fewer than three trailheads, the peak is easy to access and the Tanner Peak trail system provides for nice options in out-and-backs, semi-loops and even shuttle hikes.
The lower reaches of the peak are dusty and dry, speckled in cholla, scrub oak and ground cactus. The middle ranges are covered in stands of Ponderosa Pine, while Douglas Fir grow on the northern aspects higher up. To the north, Pikes Peak and the Almagres dominate the skyline, but the Sangre de Cristos steal the show on the western horizon. The views from the top of Tanner Peak are simply stunning. Plan plenty of time to sit back and enjoy the scenery!
Rank: 2,707th highest peak in Colorado
Prominence: 680 feet
USGS Quad: Curley Peak
Rank & Prominence: Lists of John
Tanner Peak sits in southern Fremont County, about 8 miles south of Cañon City, Colorado and 35 miles east as the crow flies from Pueblo, Colorado. Most visitors to Tanner Peak will access the mountain via Oak Creek Road (CR 143) running south out of Cañon City. The peak is accessed entirely on-trail. The trails see moderately heavy ATV and motorbike usage.
From Cañon City:
• From US 50, take CO 115 (9th Street) south 1 ½ mile to Elm Ave. (See cemetery.)
• Turn right onto Elm Ave.
• Follow Elm Ave. 1/3 mile to Oak Creek Grade Road.
• Turn left on Oak Creek Grade Road.
Tanner Trailhead: The lower elevation, northern trailhead is about 4 miles south of Cañon City on CR 143.
East Bear Gulch Trailhead: The higher elevation, southern trailhead is about 11 miles south of Cañon City on CR 143.
Stultz Trailhead: A third option would be to take the Stultz Trail spur to the Tanner Trail. The trailhead is roughly 8 miles south of Cañon City on CR 143.
There are no use or parking fees in the vicinity of Curley Peak. Note that the trails in this area see heavy ATV use, particularly in the summer months.
The Oak Creek Campground, operated by the National Forest Service, is less than 1 mile southwest on CR 143 from the East Bear Trailhead. The campground sits at 7,600 feet above sea level features 16 camp sites and a vault toilet. Presently, there is no fee for staying at this campground.
Weather & Seasons
|The Wet Mountains generally tend to be warmer and drier than most mountain ranges in Colorado. (They are considered "wet" compared to the arid Pueblo and Cañon City areas, however.) |
Summer: Expect summers to be relatively hot compared to other mountainous areas of Colorado. ATV and trailbike crowds are thick in this area in the summer.
Fall: The autumn leaf display in the Wet Mountains is simply spectacular. In addition the ubiquitous golden-hued Aspen, these mountains also boast thick stands of orange-to-crimson Gambel Oak.
Winter: Nowhere near as high or steep as the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to their west, many of the Wet Mountain summits sit below timberline. Combined with a generally smaller snow-pack, much (though not all!) of the Wet Mountains can be enjoyed in snow season without that tingling fear of avalanche experienced in much of the Colorado high country.
Spring:The Wet Mountains generally tend to be warmer and drier than most mountain ranges in Colorado and, as a result, may melt out earlier in the Spring than higher ranges.