The triangular top of this mountain dominates the western horizon, as one drives from Bakerville on I-70 toward Loveland Basin. The snow fences protect I-70 from snow accumulating in the obvious avalanche chute that faces the highway. Mount Bethel lies between Dry Gulch to the southeast and Herman Gulch to the northeast. Formerly called Little Profesor Peak, Mount Bethel was renamed to honor Ellsworth Bethel, a pathologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who while a leader in the Colorado Mountain Club named several Front Range summits, including the Indian Peaks.
Mount Bethel (12,705') is the large pyramid-shaped mountain one sees on the North side of I-70 (when westbound) a few miles before coming to Eisenhower Tunnel which goes under the Continental Divide in Colorado. It has a very large avalanche chute on its South side and snow fences on the West side.
Distance: 2.75 miles on ascent, 1.5 miles on ascent
Starting Elevation: 11,230 feet
Elevation Gain: 1,934 feet
From I70, between Bakerville and the Eisenhower - Johnson Tunnel, take Exit 216. The exit road passes south under I-70 on its way to Loveland Pass. Instead, turn right north and then northeast and park alongside a neglected access road, blocked to vehicles in about a half mile.
Walk northeast on the frontage road, as it ascends and curves north, and then northwest, into Dry Gulch.
As you enter the basin, Mount Bethel will be visible on your right and distinguishable by two rows of snow barricades on its southwest flanks.
At road end, keep a few hundred yards to the right of Dry Creek and soon begin to hike up and north, toward the saddle west of Mount Bethel. Before you reach the saddle, angle steeply northeast, gain the ridge and proceed to the cairn at the summit. Some easy handwork may be necessary, just before the ridge, but there is no special risk.
The descent can be made more directly due south, to the place where the road ended on your ascent.
Aim downhill, passing between the snow fences. Once you reach the trees, it is steep but easy going through the scattered forest, down to the road.
Driving from the Denver Metro direction (east): Drive west on I-70. At the Georgetown exit (Exit 228), continue on I-70 for 9.5 more miles and exit at Exit 218. This is the next westbound exit after the Bakerville exit. After exiting, turn right, and immediately make another right. The trailhead parking area is 200 ft. ahead.
Driving from Silverthorne (west): Drive east on I-70 going through the Eisenhower Tunnel. From the east end of the tunnel, continue 2.9 miles and take Exit 228. Turn left, and drive under the Interstate. Take the first available right turn. The trailhead parking area is 200 ft. ahead.
From I-70, take Exit 216 (US 6, Loveland Pass) which is approximately 2 miles to the west of the Herman Gulch exit (Exit 228). On the northwest side of this complicated interchange, north of I-70, just to the right of the westbound exit ramp, is a gravel frontage road that parallels the westbound lanes of the Interstate. Drive northeast up this road for 0.6 miles to a gate. Park on the side of the road. Continue on foot up the gravel road. The road will begin to curve in a northerly direction and enter trees. Eventually the road will bring you to some sort of cleared construction yard. Dry gulch is the drainage before you to the northwest.
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Mt. Bethel is located within the Arapaho National Forest. Dogs must be kept on a leash. Please observe any additional posted regulations, and practice leave no trace ethics. The area is not within a designated Wilderness Area, and therefore does not benefit from those protections.
Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Highway 103, Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Clear Creek Ranger District
Arapaho National Forest
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Due to its great accessibility, Mt. Bethel is most often climbed together with some other peaks in the area. However, camping is allowed in the National Forest which surrounds the area. Good camping spots can be found in Herman and Dry Gulches. In the case of Herman Gulch, you probably would want to venture a ways off trail due to the traffic that the area's trails see. Be sure to follow any fire regulations and leave no trace of your visit.