Go to rt. 170 off of Highway 36, or rt. 93. Take 170 in the direction of El Dorado Springs. From the 93 junction, it is two miles to the Mesa Trail parking lot on the right. Take a short trail, and follow signs to the Mesa trail. The trail winds around, with adequate signs for a couple miles. At the top of the first steep hill there is a fork. One way goes to S. Mesa trail, if you turn right. You need to go straight, and you will curve around and pass a cabin, and then a stream. You are now at the bottom of Shadow Canyon, where the real steep hiking begins.
From Shadow Canyon, you hike up a well marked trail, while ascending about 2,000 feet in less than a mile and a half. At the top of the canyon, you reach a saddle. The sign at the saddle says S. Boulder Peak left, Bear Peak right. Take your pick. S. Boulder Peak is less than 1/2 mile away, goes through mostly forest, and is higher (8,549'). Bear Peak (8,461') is more than 1/2 mile away, and is mostly on rocks. Boulder hopping is feasible, although a rocky trail takes you most of the way to the summit.
Summit views are mostly the same. The front range is in full view.
Bear Peak from South Boulder Peak. You reach Bear Peak via a rock scramble from the ridge between the two mountains.
Mesa Trail portion: ~2.6 miles (easy gradient hike)
Shadow Canyon to ridge: ~1.3 miles (steep hike)
Ridge to Summit: ~.6 miles (hike, climb on rocks, class 1 and class 2)
ROUND TRIP DISTANCE: 9 miles
Elevation Gain: ~3000 feet
Accessible most of the year. You do not need any essential gear, just lots of water. Winter climbs may require extra gear, especially if trail conditions are icy. I have climbed these peaks early season with icy conditions, but without much trouble.
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