Iowa Gulch

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Hiking, Mountaineering
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day

Route Quality: 4 Votes

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Page By:
Iowa Gulch
Created On: Mar 21, 2003
Last Edited On: Feb 12, 2013

Getting There

From the south side of Leadville along Highway 24, turn east on Monroe Street.   After 0.2 miles, turn south (right) along CR 2 (Toledo Street) and follow it for 3.8 miles to a junction.   Turn left and continue up Iowa Gulch to the trailhead.

During summer conditions, one can drive a passenger car to about 12,000 feet along a decent road. In winter conditions the trailhead is lower. Road maintenance stops at the exit to the ASARCO Mine.

The trailhead is unmarked, so look for the trail as it heads for the creek under the power lines.

Sherman s summit on the left...Mount Sherman (left) as seen from near the trailhead in winter.

Route Description

This route starts a bit ambiguously from the upper reaches of Iowa Gulch.    The following route description assumes a start from the 0.5 mile stretch of road between the Dyer and Iowa amphitheaters.

Hike Southeast from the road across a gentle meadow for 0.5 miles, heading towards the Sherman and Sheridan ridge saddle. Aim for a stretch of talus and scree that crosses through a section of willows. Pick your way Southeast through this rubble, staying north (left) of the main drainage until a trail starts to develop. From here, the trail leads 0.4 miles Southeast before making a turn towards the NE which eventually deposits one on Sherman's south ridge. Follow the trail for one mile to the large summit area.

In summer, this route is 4.5 miles round trip with 2150 feet elevation gain.   


By driving further up Iowa Gulch, to where the decent road becomes rough, it is possible to shorten this route. A trail traverses south beneath the steep west face of Sherman and connects with the route described above. 400' of elevation can be saved with this option.

Winter notes:

The stretch of route between upper Iowa Gulch and the Sherman-Sheridan saddle crosses into avalanche territory. Travelers should be capable of assessing the effects of terrain, weather, and snowpack before proceeding.

Final false summitClimbing over the final false summit of Mount Sherman on December 23 2006.

Essential Gear

During summer conditions no specialized gear is needed. The standard "Ten Essentials" should suffice.

Winter conditions may call for skis or snowshoes along with appropriate avalanche gear, though often this route can be stripped bare of snow by the high winds that buffet the peak.