OverviewThis Class 2+ route is 12 miles round trip and is perhaps the most logical route to climb the mountain. From Trappers Lake and the Wall Lake Trailhead, the route follows the Wall Lake Trail to Wall Lake. From Wall Lake, the route heads cross country to the south and to a minor saddle between Trappers Peak and Point 11673. From there, the route climbs west to the summit.
Getting ThereThere are four main ways to reach the trailhead. I have only driven to two of them. The trailhead is near Trappers Lake.
There is a road from the west and Meeker, one from the east and Yampa or Phippsburg, one from the northeast and Oak Creek, one from the north and Hayden, and one from the northeast and Pagoda (village) and Hamilton. I know only the roads from Hamilton and Pagoda, but very few Coloradoans will be coming from that direction (Craig), so it seems rather pointless to describe the drive in detail. Most people will be driving in from the Meeker or Yampa areas. After Pagoda or not far past Buford, all roads are gravel and in good condition in summer.
From just north of Meeker and along Highway 13, turn east on County Road 8. Follow County Road 8 to Buford. Follow the road another 17 miles and turn right (south) on FS Road 205 to the Trappers Lake Lodge. There are several roads here, but they are well marked. Follow the road (FR 209) marked for the Wall Lake Trailhead and Park there.
From Yampa or Oak Creek:
I haven’t come in this way, so directions will be brief. Use a map. Briefly put you can reach country road 8 (see above) from either CR 25 from Oak Creek or CR 21 from Yampa. From there, you follow the road all the way over Ripple Creek Pass and down to FR 205. Turn left and follow the directions above.
I haven’t come in this way, so directions will be brief. Use a map. Briefly put you take CR 53 south to CR 29. Turn left (east) and follow CR 29 to CR 55. Turn right (south) and follow the road to the junction with CR 8. Take CR 8 over Ripple Creek Pass and follow the route above.
Unless you live in Craig, few Coloradoans will use this route and thus the directions won’t be detailed. From Hamilton (13 miles south of Craig and along Highway 13), drive east on Highway 317 to Pagoda. Highway 13 turns into county road 29. Turn right on CR 55 and follow the remaining directions from the route from Hayden.
Route DescriptionNote: The trail has been rerouted in recent years and none of the maps are accurate.
From the trailhead, follow trail #1818 posted for Wall Lake. The trail is rolling and mostly flat at first and then intersects the Carhart Trail at a four way junction (maps are inaccurate here). From the junction, turn right towards Wall Lake passing several pothole and beaver lakes (mosquito heaven) The trail steadily gains elevation until in a cirque and then the trail zig-zags up the cirque and meets the rim at another trail junction with the Oyster Lake Trail. This is 3.5 miles from the trailhead.
Turn left here. You will pass several pothole lakes (mosquito heaven #2) and have a pleasant walk with only a few hills to climb before reaching Wall Lake after 1.5 miles from the junction.
Trappers Peak rises over 1000 feet above Wall Lake. From Wall Lake, notice the minor saddle to the south and to the east of Trappers Peak. The stream valley just to the west of Wall Lake looks like an inviting route, but there are a bunch of willows to wade through. Head south up the stream valley hugging the left side to avoid all the water and willows the best way possible. After a flat area, the willows end, but now the climbing begins. Climb to the saddle using the best route that you can find. There are sheep trails on the left (east side) of the saddle, but the pebbles are loose there and it might be easier just to head up the boulders and grass. Eventually you will find yourself on the broad and grassy saddle.
From the saddle, the objective is clearly visible. Head west up the grassy slope and towards the peak. Much of the route is grassy and easy, but there is one section of willows to get through (easy). The top pitch is very steep and rocky. At the top pitch, head left (south) to climb it. We found the right side to be loose and we felt the rocks move beneath our feet. The slabs to the left are steeper, but more stable. This route would be rated Class 2+, possibly an easy 3 depending on the route.
Once on top, the summit is broad and you can wander around visiting many fine viewpoints. There are two almost equal heights. The grassy summit is just higher, but the rocky summit with the cairn is where the register is. After enjoying the fine views, return the same way.
This route is 12 miles round trip and can be done in one long day, but get an early start to avoid thunderstorms. Two days is a really good option as well and there are other peaks and lakes to visit in the area as well.