Gold Hill

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
Colorado, United States, North America
County:
San Miguel
Activities:
Mountaineering
Season:
Summer
Elevation:
12740 ft / 3883 m
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Page By:
Gold Hill
Created On: Aug 2, 2014
Last Edited On: Oct 19, 2017

Overview

Gold Hill rises to the northeast of Palmyra Peak in Telluride Ski Resort near the town of Telluride in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado. Gold Hill has only 160 ft of prominence and is therefore not a ranked peak but it is an officially named Colorado summit.

Several ski lifts go up the slopes of Gold Hill to various spots on its slopes. In summer, these lifts are closed. There is however a gondola line that operates year round going from the town of Telluride (8740 ft) to a place called St. Sophia Station (10540 ft) before dropping into Telluride Mountain Village (9560 ft). From St. Sophia Station, you could follow the “See Forever Trail” up the ski runs to reach the summit of Gold Hill. A more scenic option is to start in the town of Telluride and hike up Bear Canyon Trail. Gold Hill is often climbed as a 9.8 mile loop up from St. Sophia Station and down into Bear Creek Canyon to end in the town of Telluride.




L to R: Gold Hill, Palmyra Peak & Silver Mountain, north face

Getting There

Bear Canyon/Wasatch Trailhead is at the south end of Pine Street in Telluride. Gondola to St. Sophia Station is at the south end of Oak Street. Parking in Telluride is limited. Start early.

The other end of Gondola to St. Sophia Station is in the center of Telluride Mountain Village. No public parking is available here. You must park at the pay garages on Mountain Village Blvd. some distance away or stay at local establishments.

Route, up St. Sophia Station, down Bear Creek Canyon

Map of Gold HillMap




All distances are per my GPS

Place
Elevation
Distance
Station St. Sophia
10540 ft
zero miles
Gold Hill Summit
12740 ft
3.50 miles


From St. Sophia Station follow the signs for “See Forever Trail” up the ski slopes and maintenance roads all the way to the top of Gold Hill. At 12260 you will reach the top of “Gold Hill Express” Ski Lift and at 12480 ft the top of “Revelation Bowl” Ski Lift at the base of a cliff. The maintenance road goes on the east side of the cliff making switchbacks to reach the very broad summit of Gold Hill.

Dallas PeakDallas Peak

Dallas & Gilpin PeaksDallas Peak

Lone Cone & Little ConeLone Cone & Little Cone


Views from the summit of Gold Hill:

The WilsonsThe Wilsons

Telluride AirportTelluride Airport

Telluride Mountain Village & Dallas PeakMountain Village & Dallas Peak

Oscars Peak & St. Joaquin RidgeSt. Joaquin Ridge

Palmyra PeakPalmyra Peak

Wasatch MountainWasatch Mountain

Mt. SneffelsMt. Sneffels


Since this trail is often used as a descent route, I will describe it as such.
All distances are per my GPS

Place
Elevation
Distance
Summit of Gold Hill
12740 ft
zero miles
Gold Hill Trail
12200 ft
0.60 miles
Junction with Wasatch Trail
11560 ft
1.45 miles
Junction with east fork of Wasatch Trail
10880 ft
0.85 miles
Junction with Bear Creek Trail
9660 ft
1.35 miles
Pine St. Bear Creek Trailhead
8780ft
1.85 miles
Oak St. Gondola
8740 ft
0.20 miles
Total
-
6.30 miles

From the summit of Gold Hill, head north retracing your route back down See Forever Trail. At an elevation of 12200 ft, just to the north of Gold Hill Express Ski Lift, you will see a trail on the east side going north down into Bear Creek Canyon. Turn onto this trail and follow it downhill.

St. Joaquin RidgeSt. Joaquin Ridge

Wasatch MountainWasatch Mountain

St. Joaquin RidgeSt. Joaquin Ridge


After a few switchbacks, you will reach the junction with Wasatch Trail.

Junction of Wasatch & Gold Hill Trails


Right goes uphill. Turn left and follow the trail downhill.

On Wasatch Trail

St. Joaquin RidgeSt. Joaquin Ridge

On Wasatch Trail

On Wasatch Trail

Mt. Emma


After a few more switchbacks, you will reach the junction with the East Fork of Wasatch Trail. Continue left downhill.

Dallas Peak

Mt. Emma


You will then find yourself on top of a water cascade. The trail goes down on the west side of the cascade.

On Wasatch Trail

On Wasatch Trail


The trail continues down.

On Wasatch Trail

On Wasatch Trail

On Wasatch Trail


The trail makes more switchbacks. Bear Creek Waterfall will be visible.

Bear Creek FallsBear Creek Waterfall

On Wasatch Trail

On Wasatch Trail


You will then reach Bear Creek Trail and follow it north to reach the trailhead at the end of Pine Street in Telluride. To reach the gondola, turn left heading west. Cross the stream over a bridge and continue west until you reach Oak Street.

On Bear Creek Canyon/Wasatch Trail

Peak 13510 ft & Ajax PeakPeak 13510 ft & Ajax Peak


Red Tape

No fees or permits in summer, in ski season, contact the ski resort for all rules and regulations.