This mellow route leverages a dirt road for much of its distance. How much you cover by foot and how much by wheel is up to you until the road closure is reached. The bushwhacking is reasonable by Puma Hills standards, with the hiker encountering less dense timber and less down-fall than on other slopes in the area. The final scamper to the boulder summit is easy and pleasant.
Roundtrip Distance: 5 miles or a bit less, depending on where you park
Elevation Gain: 1,200 feet or a bit less, depending on where you park
YDS Class: 2 (Off-trail travel with mostly hands-free boulder moves near the summit)
• From Hwy 24 west of Lake George and east of west of Harsel, take Park County Road 23 northbound.
• At first, the road weaves due north through a rural housing development, then begins turning generally northwest to circumvent the Puma Hills.
o You may notice signs calling CR 23 “Turner Gulch Road.”
• Cross into Forest Service land.
• FS 237 is approximately 8 miles from Hwy 24. Turn right / east onto FS 237.
• After roughly 1 mile of travel on FS 237, go straight/south on FS 237A.
• Depending on road conditions, vehicle type and personal preference, you may continue nearly another 2 miles on FS 237/ FS 237A from CR 23.
REMINDER: Forest Service road signage can be missing, vandalized or just simply, sorry to say it, inaccurate. Rely more on a map and judgment than those little brown fiberglass posts.
• From the road closure of FS 237A, continue southeast-ish up the old roadbed, passing the Lost Trail on your left.
• You will arrive in a turnaround in a semi-clearing where the roadbed ends.
• Leave the roadbed, heading south-southeast through the trees toward the saddle.
• Continue your south-southeastern course through the woods until you reach the saddle. The saddle is broad, lightly forested and a fantastic place to take a break and have a snack.
• From the saddle, ascend to the southwest up the slopes of Schoolmarm Mountain to the summit. The summit is a jumble of boulders with an old surveyors triangulation structure on top.
In addition to outerwear and gear appropriate to the season, tools for navigation are essential. A detailed map plus a compass and/or GPS and the knowledge to use all of the above will get you to the summit of Schoolmarm – and back to your vehicle – safely. A Colorado Gazetteer is very useful for navigating Park County roads and Forest Service roads.