Quarter of Five Peak from near the trailhead from the dirt road
Quarter to Five Peak is an easy day hike in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Not far from Nederland, it lies between the higher and more challenging Arapahoe Peaks and Mount Neva. From the Fourth of July Trailhead, The summit of Quarter to Five Peak is only 3.5 miles and not much more than 2,000 feet above. A fun scramble will take you the final 300' to the summit where you are welcomed with excellent views of the surrounding mountain wilderness.
See the main page for directions to the trailhead. The road to the trailhead is unmaintained in winter, so a 4WD is needed in winter. In fact, a 4WD is recommended for the dirt road. Although I always managed to reach to the trailhead with a Ford Escort, I got a flat tire once due to the loose rocks along the road.
Start from the Fourth of July Trailhead. A brief walk through the woods leads to a winding trail up the right side of a canyon. About 1.5 miles from the trailhead is a sign to Arapahoe Pass. Take this trail to the right. Going left will take you downhill towards the trail to Diamond Lake. The trail to the right is steep, and heads up to a basically flat ridge at ~11,000'. You follow the ridge past an old mine.
(thanks to Kane for this photo)
As seen in the photo above, the next landmark Arapahoe Pass. The trail is obvious from the flat ridge. The trail is about a mile and climbs about 900 feet to the Pass at 11,906'. Once at the ridge mountains rise on both sides. On the left side of the ridge is Lake Dorothy and the Class 4 ridge to Mount Neva. On the right is a trail leading up Quarter to Five Peak. The trail takes you half way to the first summit. This is where the hiking ends and the scrambling begins. You must scramble up the second summit before you can reach the third (the true) summit. The second summit is easy scrambling. A minor descent from the first summit leads you slightly higher. Reaching the third summit requires serious rock scrambling. The summit is obvious, but be careful, the boulders are very big. I suggest climbing on the left side of the mountain, where the boulders are smaller. Be careful of loose rock on this section.
The hike should take about 1.5-2.5 hours one way for the 3.5 miles to the summit from the trailhead parking area. Once you get back to the 2nd summit, descent is quick and easy and shouldn't take any more than two hours.
In winter, snow shoes are strongly recommended. You probably won't need an ice axe or crampons unless it is really cold. Form fitting gloves are recommended during the rest of the year due to the boulder hopping near the summit.