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Whale Peak
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Whale Peak

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Whale Peak

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Colorado, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 39.49417°N / 105.86595°W

Object Title: Whale Peak

Activities: Hiking

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Elevation: 13078 ft / 3986 m

 

Page By: SenadR

Created/Edited: Oct 8, 2013 / Dec 18, 2013

Object ID: 871075

Hits: 1655 

Page Score: 85.61%  - 21 Votes 

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Overview

Winds of Whale Peak
Winds of Whale Peak

Whale Peak lies on the Continental Divide, on the boundary between Pike and Arapahoe National Forest. The Hall Valleyis named after Colonel William Jairus Hall, a local mine owner.

Whale peak is excellent hike in late September, when aspen stands of the Hall Valley are at their golden peak and the thundra above Gibson Lake turns to a deep, autumn crimson.

In the summer months the high alpine meadows and gentle peaks of the area make fine hiking destinations. Gibson Lake, nestled under Whale Peak during the summer is very popular destination, but only few continue to the top of Whale Peak.

From the lake it is only a moderate hike off-trail to the summit of Whale Peak and excellent views of Summit County.


13er Rank in Colorado: 533 of 584

13er Rank in Front Range:57 of 59

Distance: 4.0 miles each way

Starting Elevation: 10,316 feet

Top Elevation: 13,078f eet

Elevation Gain: 2, 832 feet (includes 35 feet extra each way)

Trail: Most of the way, faint in the places

Nearby City: Webster

Season: Early June to Early October

Jurisdiction: Pike National Forest

Maps: USGS 7 ½­ - Jefferson; County – Park #1

USFS – Pike National Forest ; Trails Illustrated #104

Guide Book: Colorado Summit Hikes
Whale Peak
Whale Peak from the road (October 2013)
Whale Peak
Hiking bellow Gibson Lake (October 2013)

Getting There

Getting to the trailhead: Drive on U.S. 285 to the junctionof Park County Road 60 (Hall Valley Road), 4.3 miles north of Kenosha Passand 3.1 miles south of the town of Grant.

From U.S. 285, drive northwest on County Road 60 (graded) for 5 miles to the Handcart Campground. At 0.2 miles beyond the campground is a junction with a four-wheel-drive road. Turn left at this junction, signed to the Hall Valley Campground and Gibson Lake trailhead. (Note:The road is not suitable for passenger cars, so look for parking immediately beyond the junction.)

Drive or hike up the four-wheel-drive road. Almost immediately pass the campground and continue straight on FSR 120C, fording a stream 0.3 miles beyond the start of the four-wheel-drive road and reaching the Gibson Lake Parking area on the left, 1.4 miles up this road.

Hike statistics: Trailhead to Gibson Lake:1,600 feet in 2.3 miles one way. Trailhead to the summit of Whale Peak(13,078 feet): 2,950 feet of total elevation gain in 3.3 miles one way.

Difficulty: A moderate trail hike to Gibson Lake,with moderate off-trail hiking to Whale
Hall Valley Road
Hall Valley Road
Hiking above Hall Valley Campground
Hiking above Hall Valley Campground

Route

Hiking above treeline
Hiking above treeline
Nearing Gibson Lake
Nearing Gibson Lake
Saddle in sight
Saddle in sight

From the parking area, follow the trail as it drops down toand crosses the North Fork of the South Platte River.The trail quickly joins and then parallels Lake Forkas it climbs gently up to tree line, 1.5 miles from the trailhead. Here yougain your first glimpse of Whale Peak at the head of thevalley. Continue on the trail as it winds its way through alpine meadows fullof wildflowers, reaching Gibson Lake after a totaldistance of 2.3 miles. (The trailhead sign indicates the lake to be 3 milesaway, but I measured the trail to be considerably shorter.)

The lake makes a good lunch spot, but the hike up to thesummit of Whale Peak is quite reasonable and definitely worthwhile.

From Gibson Lake head up the grassyslopes to the right. A social trail becomes more distinct as you reach thebroad ridge, which takes you up to the Continental Divide slightly north of Whale Peak.Once on the divide, turn south and follow the trail to the summit. Keep an eyepeeled for some of the area's residents - a sizable herd of mountain goats. Todescend, reverse your route.

Gibson Lake
Gibson Lake
Getting to the ridge.
Getting to the ridge.
Sarah taking break bellow ridge.
Sarah taking break bellow ridge.

Summit cairn.
Summit cairn.
Greys and Torreys Peak from the summit.
Greys and Torreys Peak from the summit.
Creek bellow Gibson Lake.
Creek bellow Gibson Lake.


Red Tape

Contactinformation for Pike National Forest:

South Park Ranger District
320 Hwy. 285, Box 219
Fairplay CO, 80440
719-836-2031

Contact Information for Arapaho National Forest:
Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Chicago Creek, Box 3307
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
303-567-2901


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When to Climb

Season: Early June to Early October

Weather: Weather Channel

Camping

Forest Service Information Website.

External Links

Trip Reports from other websites related to Whale Peak:

External Links:


Images