Click for a map of Keystone Ski Area
(L) to (R) Independence, Bear & Kestone Mtns
Bear Mountain along with the 12614 ft Independence Mountain to the north and the 12408 ft Keystone Mountain to the south form a series of peaks that rise directly to the southeast of the town and ski resort of Keystone in central Colorado. Although no ski lifts go there, the summit of Keystone Mountain is within the limits of the ski resort.
To the north and east, the slopes of these mountains drop into the valley of the Snake River while to the west, Keystone Gulch separates these peaks from the nearby mountains.
Climbing Bear Mountain via its steep forested northern slopes above the town of Keystone seems to be tedious. A better option might be to drive Keystone Gulch to reach the bottom of some of the back lifts of the ski area where maintenance roads can be hiked up to the tree-line at the base of the Keystone Mountain (signs said hikers welcome). You will then first climb Keystone Mountain and then go down to a 12060 ft saddle before climbing Bear Mountain.
From the summit of Bear Mountain you will have great views of the peaks of the Front, Gore and Tenmile Ranges. Breckenridge’s ski runs will be visible to the southwest below the peaks of the Tenmile Range and the beautiful blue waters of the Dillon Reservoir will provide a wonderful foreground for the peaks of the Gore Range to the northwest. The most awesome sight will probably be that of the giant twin summits of Grays and Torreys Peaks
to the northeast.
(L) to (R): Keystone, Bear & Independence Mtns
Take Exit 205 off of I-70 and drive less than 10 miles on Route 6 to the town of Keystone. At the first traffic light on the west end of town turn right (south) and then make an immediate left onto West Keystone Rd, cross the river and then turn right onto Soda Ridge Rd. Go about half a mile until you see Keystone Gulch Rd on the Left.
Keystone Gulch Road is a pothole riddled dirt road that is probably passable by most cars (I prefer 4WD). It goes all the way to the top of the 11661 ft North Peak which is the top of some the ski area's lifts. Drive this road just around five miles to 10500 ft at the bottom of the “Outback” and “Wayback” ski lifts. You don’t want to drive beyond this point because you will probably be on Keystone ski resort property. This will be the trailheads. When I was there in September of 2006, signs said hikers are welcome.
For all matters regarding private property you must check for yourself and not rely on the info given here
When I was there in September of 2006 signs said hikers are welcome but please check for yourself before hiking and do not trespass.