Profile image by SP member Ed F.
“Turret Dome” is a dominant granite outcrop in Eleven Mile Canyon capped with a turret-like summit block. Rising above the Platte River, “Turret Dome” offers non-stop scenery accompanied by the ever-present roar of the river slicing through the canyon. “Turret Dome” supplies a variety of routes running from stiff 4th class or low 5th class scramble (also doubling as the decent route for the numerous technical climbs) around the back or north side of the mountain and on up the Yosemite Decimal scale. Moderate trad climbs like Guides Route (5.6 YDS) and Schooldaze (5.5 YDS) ascend the slabby, south-facing lower portions of the dome toward the steeper terrain guarding the summit turret.
Highly accessible, not far from the road cutting through the canyon and only about 4.5 miles into the canyon, solitude is surprisingly easy to find on this rock. Once the “Turret” is overcome, the final few steps to the summit can be an easy scramble on huge granite boulders. The views up and down the canyon from the top of “Turret Dome” are fantastic, the roar of the passing South Platte River is calming and, as most visitors to the canyon are there for the river, you just might find you and your climbing partners alone on “Turret Dome.”
Colorado Rank: Unranked
Prominence: 80 feet
USGS Quad: Elevenmile Canyon
Rank & Prominence Source: Lists of John
Driving From Hwy 24 in Lake George
• Follow CR 96 to the mouth of the canyon. There is a welcome booth here where a small (presently $5) fee is collected. From here, the road is graded dirt/gravel, suitable for travel in a passenger car. Occasional wash board is annoying, but high clearance is not needed.
• Turret Dome is located 4.3 miles up the canyon on the north / right side.
Approach Hike from CR 96
• Park at the Elevenmile picnic area, cross the sturdy footbridge over the South Platte River, turn left and head upstream.
o If attempting the scrambling route from the back/north of the dome, you will depart the fishing path shortly after crossing the bridge for a very faint trail toward the saddle north of “Turret Dome.”
o Otherwise, continue on to the base of the dome along the river, heading upstream. For south-facing routes, the base of “Turret Dome” is only about ¼ mile upstream from the footbridge. It will be obvious to you when you have reached the base of “Turret Dome.”
I encourage you to view this fantastic area map contributed by Ed F for the location of “Turret Dome.”
• Note: Elevenmile Canon is managed by the Pike National Forest. This is NOT part of the Elevenmile Reservoir State Park, and your Colorado State Parks pass is not valid for entry.
• A fee of $5 is required upon entry to the canyon, at the welcome kiosk.
Several first-come, first-served car camping sites are operated by the Forest Service in Elevenmile Canyon. SP contributor Ed F has graciously listed these in order from the northeastern entrance of the canyon soutHwest toward the reservoir.
• Riverside Campsite
• O'Brian Gulch Campsite
• Springer Gulch Campsite
• Wagon Tongue Campsite
• Cove Campsite
• Spillway Campsite
I encourage you to view this fantastic area map contributed by Ed F for the location of camp sites in Elevenmile Canyon.
Weather & Seasons
Summer: The Elevenmile Canyon area can be a bit hot and dusty in the summer, and very crowded, but the road should be dry and accessible and the breezes on top of “Turret Dome” pleasant.
Spring: The snowpack is less deep here than in the high country and melts out faster than higher areas to the west. None-the-less, be aware that encountering ice on the routes up “Turret Dome” could be unpleasant.
Fall: Cooler temperatures and relatively dry conditions (before the snows hit) would make autumn a nice time to visit “Turret Dome.”
Winter: Thanks to proximity to US Hwy 24 and “primary dirt road” 96, this dome is accessible year-round, though deep snows/drifts and dirt road closures would limit accessibility. Also, encountering ice on any of the routes up “Turret Dome” could be unpleasant.
Click for weather forecast
Click for weather forecast