Elephant Butte is a handsome little Jefferson County peak. This small mountain dishes up a lot of bang for the buck. It’s a neat, rocky peak rising out of the flats of Elephant Park and the views from the summit of the Evans Group (including Rosalie, Epaulet, Evans and Spalding) are divine. Pack a lunch and put time aside to take in a snack and the views from this rocky perch.
Elephant Butte resides within a parcel of the Denver Mountain Parks
but is access via the popular Jefferson County Alderfer/Three Sisters Park
. This peak is close enough to the Denver metro and accessible enough from a major paved road to make this short day outing easy to combine with other nearby peaks, or even an afternoon reserved for chores and family.
highest peak in Colorado
Trails Illustrated Map:
#100 (Boulder, Golden)
Rank and Prominence Reference: Lists of John
To access Alderfer/Three Sisters Park (see Red Tape for important update
), travel south of Evergreen, Colorado on Highway 73. To reach the west parking lot, turn west on Buffalo Park Road (#89), approximately 1.5 miles (passing the east parking lot at mile 1). Turn right into the west parking lot (see historic ranch house and barn) at LeMasters Road.
The route depicted in the "Route Map" is very approximate. The trails are a crazy-quilt maze in this park, but well-marked. I strongly suggest obtaining a Alderfer/Three Sisters Park map to comprehend the trail system, but be aware that the trail to the summit will not appear on the Alderfer/Three Sisters Park map. There is, however, an unofficial Class 1 trail to the summit of Elephant Butte. As illustrated in the map to your right, the route is about 5 miles roundtrip and requires 1,000 feet of elevation gain.
Red TapeImportant update 9 September 2013 per
Final summit approachrkymtn: Area closed for restoration. Access from Alderfer/Three Sisters Park has been closed for restoration. Signs are posted and reference a class 2 petty offense for entering the closure area.
Here are the standard rules governing use of Jefferson County’s Alderfer/Three Sisters Park :
•Dogs must be on a leash; pick up after your pet
•Motorized vehicles prohibited
•No feeding wildlife
•Adhere to posted Park closures
•Open carrying of firearms is prohibited
•Park is open one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset
Full Jefferson County Open Space Regulations
There are no posted regulations posted for this isolated section of Denver Mountain Parks
Camping & Lodging
Evans Group from Elephant Butte
Evans Group from the summit
This regional park is accessible via a short drive from anywhere in the Denver metropolitan area. A visit to Evergreen Mountain is a short, pleasant day trip for hikers from Colorado Springs or Fort Collins. As a result, lodging is unnecessary for a majority of visitors to Evergreen Mountain.
Open Space Camping:
No camping is available in the Alderfer/Three Sisters Park.
The town of Evergreen has a limited supply of lodging options. Visit the Trip Advisor Page for Evergreen, Colorado
for more information.
Chief Hosa Lodge & Campground:
This option is available only during the summer, from 1st may through the third weekend in September. Visit Chief Hosa Lodge & Campground
for more information about this colorful option.
Weather & Seasons
Eastern cliff bands
Elephant Butte is a year-round mountain.
Hiking in the winter or early spring rewards the hiker with shining-mountain views of the Mount Evans group. Hiking during snow season will provide a more peaceful experience of Evergreen Mountain. Heavy snow is likely in the winter, but the trail system receives plenty of traffic, keeping the snow packed when on-trail. The off-trail portions of the climb may require snow shoes or postholing (or both). Buffalo Park Road (County Road 89) should be plowed clear after all but the most epic snowfalls.
West from the summit
East from the summit
In the summer an early fall, SPer ColoradoScott
warns, mountain bike traffic on the trails in this area is quite heavy. Hiking this mountain when the trails are clear of snow will likely yield a more social and less solitary, perhaps even more hectic, trail experience.