Overview12.8 miles round trip
class 2 to the summit area, class 3/3+ to climb the true summit
Getting ThereFrom Ft. Collins, take US 287 north to the intersection with CO 14 at Ted's Place. Turn west on CO 14 and head up the Poudre Canyon. A little ways after the Ansel Watrous Campground, turn left onto Pingree Park Road (CR-63E). Follow this gravel road for about 15 miles until you see the turn off for the Tom Bennett Campground on the righthand side of the road. Turn right onto this road and about a quarter mile past Tom Bennett Campground you'll see the Emmaline Lake Trailhead, also called the Cirque Meadow Trailhead.
Route DescriptionThis is the shortest and easiest route up Comanche Peak, and also not very well known, since it's not marked on any maps. Start at the Emmaline Lake TH (N40.57641 W105.58430, WGS84). Follow it for just over a mile to an intersection with the Old Morrill Trail (N40.56770 W105.59965). Turn right and follow this trail past intersections with the Sky Ranch Cutoff Trail (N40.56803 W105.60514), Beaver Falls Trail (N40.56763 W105.60620) and Surprise Pond Trail (N40.56188 W105.61173), turning left, left and right at the three intersections, respectively. During this stretch, you'll pass through the area of the 1994 Hourglass Fire that destroyed much of the Colorado State Pingree Park campus for its Forestry department.
Continue to follow the trail as it makes its way up the eastern ridge of Comanche Peak. As it approaches the Golgotha rock outcrop (N40.55899 W105.64155) the trail becomes faint and you must follow occasional cairns toward the rocky outcrop. From here, either scramble through lots of rocks up and over Golgotha or stay in the krummholz and push your way west through the dense brush. From timberline, continue to follow the eastern ridge of Comanche Peak to the relatively flat summit area. There are however, three "bumps" at the summit. The USGS Topo map marks the easternmost one as the summit, although the westernmost one is the true summit. Choose whichever one you prefer and carefully climb to the top.
Sorry I don't have a map of the route, but I don't have NG Topo software. :-(
Essential GearThe usual 10 essentials
External LinksClick here for a photo album showing a hike by this route.
Also check out the "via Old Morrill Trail" trip report for Comanche Peak.