For those wishing to warm up and get back in shape for some serious mountain climbing, the early season hikes along US 34 like Crosier and Round Mountain can become monotonous pilgrimages one seems to make every year. While these two mountains offer a good amount of elevation gain and mileage, the hike up does become a little too familiar if you do them every spring. It certainly took me a few years to discover the existence of little Triangle Mountain, but the mountain offers great views and solitude that makes a rewarding hike as an alternative to the taller, more popular hikes in the area. Although no trail appears on any map I’ve ever seen, a pretty well worn trail leads all but a half mile to the rocky summit. The mileage and elevation gain are not comparative to nearby mountains (at a leisurely pace we made it to the summit in just over an hour) but for someone simply tired of climbing Round and Crosier, Triangle Mountain is a refreshing early season hike. Triangle Mountain is a ranked peak inside Roosevelt national Forest, 147th tallest in Larimer County.
1415’Ev gain 1.4 miles 1 hour up, 35 minutes down
Lower North Fork picnic area (TH): 13T 0463552mE 4478531mN
Triangle Mountain Summit: 13T 0461855mE 4479536mN
From Loveland, drive west on US Hwy 34 to Drake, where you take a right on to the Glen Haven road (Larimer County Road 43) and drive about 7 miles to the Lower North Fork picnic area. The picnic area is just around the bend from the Rainbow Pit TH and the Dunraven Glade road (LCR 51B). The Lower picnic area has about five parking spots, but two picnic areas about a quarter mile up the road can provide more parking if necessary. An outhouse is located at the Lower North Fork picnic area.
At the Lower North Fork picnic area, look directly across the road for a faint path leading up the hill near a reflector along the road. This path will serve as a great trail before it becomes a faint trail of flattened grass marked by cairns about a half mile to the summit. Follow this trail carefully as it straddles private property and leads over and around rock outcroppings. If you do lose the trail, simply follow the open scrubby ridgeline as it ascends to the summit, you can’t go wrong if you only go up. Pay attention. The summit rock is fairly obvious and gives you good views in virtually every direction, Crosier Mountain to the south, the high peaks of Rocky Mountain National Park to the west, Signal Mountain to the north and Storm, Palisades and Round Mountain to the east.
Red TapeThe most immediate concern when climbing Triangle Mountain should be to stay off of private property, which is marked by several signs. Also, because the trail winds through scrub and grass, it would be a good idea to wear light colored clothing and check for ticks after you make it back to the picnic area. As a rule of thumb for unofficial trails like the one to Triangle Mountain, hiking is all that is allowed, perhaps dogs given that they are on a leash. But who am I to tell you how to use your National Forest? As the first secretary of the USFS Gifford Pinchot said, “The Earth and its resources belong of right to its people.”
CampingPlease respect the regulations for camping in Roosevelt National Forest found here. There is a large fire ring built about halfway up the trail to the summit in a nice meadow with room to put a few tents.
External LinksLists of John Profile with TRs
Roosevelt and Arapahoe NF information