Eldorado Mountain lies just south of Eldorado Canyon State park, along the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Eldorado Mountain is not a pristine mountain, as the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad cuts across it's east and north sides and the summit features a small array of radio and microwave antennas (and an access road leading to them). This mountain appears to see very few ascents. We saw no evidence of official trails or unofficial climber's trails.
The east side of Eldorado Mountain features Mickey Mouse Wall, a well-known but infrequently-visited rock climbing area. The rock consists of excellent Eldorado Sandstone, similar to the Flatirons.
Views from the summit of Eldorado Mountain are spectacular, and the secluded scrambling to the summit makes a nice diversion from the crowded trails on South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak, and Green Mountain to the north.
Pinnacle Towers, LLC, the owners of the antenna farm at the summit, are requesting authorization to re-zone the summit of Eldorado Mountain for digital television broadcast. This new tower would be 450 tall, and would mar the scenic value of this mountain even further. For more information, visit www.eldoradomtn.org
To reach the Northeast and North Ridge routes on Eldorado Mountain:
From Boulder, Take Broadway/Hwy 93 5.25 miles south from the intersection of Broadway and Canyon to the Junction of Hwy 170. There will be a sign for Eldorado Canyon State Park at this intersection. Take a right (west) and proceed on Hwy 170 for 3 mile to the town of Eldorado Springs. The highway becomes a gravel road through town, please drive slowly, and proceed through town, past the Eldorado Springs Resort and into the State Park. The entrance fee is $5 per car ($2 per person for a walk/ride-in) or $55 for an annual Colorado State Parks Pass. From the entrance gate, proceed approximately 0.6 miles to the Rattlesnake Gulch Trailhead (on your left). Park here.
From the trailhead, follow the Rattlesnake Gulch trail approximately 1.4 miles to the remains of the Crags Hotel. From here, take the left fork of the Rattle Snake Gulch Loop (marked with a sign) and proceed south. You'll come to a switchback where the trail turns right up the switchback, but another trail proceeds straight, past a small wooden fence. Go straight to the train tracks. The North Ridge is the ridge above the tunnel to your right. To reach the Northeast Ridge, proceed east along the tracks (do not walk on the tracks, they are private property) to the tunnel approximately 1/4 mile east. The Northeast Ridge is above this tunnel. Cross the tracks and scramble up to the ridge crest.
See route descriptions for route infomation from this point to the summit.
1. Eldorado Canyon State Park Website
2. The Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks Visitor Master Plan is the largest piece of red tape that affects access to Eldorado Mountain. Eldorado Mountain is now in a Habitat Conservation Area and requires and off-trail permit. They are free and you can print them out straight from the OSMP website
3. The antenna farm on the top of Eldorado Mountain (and I would assume the access road also) is private property. Do not tresspass on this private land.
4. The Denver Rio Grande Railroad tracks are private property. Do not walk along the tracks.
5. Parking in Eldorado Canyon State Park requires a Daily ($5) or annual ($55) Colorado State Parks Pass.
6. Seasonal Climbing Closures - Boulder County closes some areas to rock climbing and occasionally hiking from Feb 1 - July 31 each year. Seasonal closures can be found here: Boulder OSMP Seasonal Wildlife Closures
7. Dogs - dogs must be leashed (or under "voice and sight control" when on OSMP lands) at all times.
When To Climb
Eldorado Mountain can be climbed year-round.
Camping isn't allowed in Eldorado Canyon State Park and the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks, but this is usually a short day hike, so it shouldn't be an issue. Nearest campgrounds are Kelly Dahl on the Peak to Peak Highway, a few miles south of Nederland, and Golden Gate Canyon State Park, which can be accessed from Coal Creek Canyon (Hwy 72) south of Boulder. Camping is also available near and in Rocky Mountain National Park, northwest of Boulder about an hour.
Arapaho National Forest
Golden Gate Canyon State Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Mountain conditions are usually similar to Boulder. Higher trails stay icy and snow covered longer than in town. The Northeast and North Ridge routes are shaded and north-facing, so tend to hold (sometimes deep) snow longer than east, south, and west facing slopes.
Eldorado Springs Weather:
University of Colorado Webcams
Webcam from University Bikes
For more information call Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks at (303) 441-3440, or visit them online at www.osmp.org