Mount Epworth is a small but beautiful peak sandwiched between its bigger neighbors which are in the James Peak and Indian Peaks Wilderness. The peak is easy to climb, but has a high rewards to effort ratio and has some spectacular views and since the climb is fairly short it makes a great place to view the sunset without having to walk many hours in the dark back to camp.
Mount Epworth as seen from the Southwest.
Drive Highway 40, either north of Fraser, or south of Berthoud Pass, to just north of the main Winter Park Ski resort. Between mile markers 231 and 232, turn east on to the road marked for Corona/Rollins Pass (14 miles from Highway 40). This is County Road 80 (the road becomes Forest Road 149 after reaching the forest boundary). Follow the main road about 12.5 miles to where you can clearly see Pumphouse Lake to the west and below as well as a trail heading down the hill. Deadman and Corona Lakes should also be visible and there is a wide spot to park in the road. The road is rough in places, but cars can make it all the way to the trailhead when driven slowly and with great care.
Descending Mount Epworth after a night climb.
Routes OverviewNortheast Ridge from Pumphouse Lake Route
This is the easiest route up the mountain and is a pretty short climb. The route descends from the Rollins Pass Road to the beautiful Pumphouse Lake before climbing the Northeast Ridge of Mount Epworth to the summit. There is no real trail to the summit of the peak and there is some class 2 scrambling, but this is a steep, but fairly easy ascent that can be done in a few hours. Since the climb is short, I recommend this as a good sunset climb. The sunrise would be nice too, but higher mountains to the east would obscure the best of the sunrise.
You can make the trip longer by combining it with the hikes to Corona Lake and/or Deadman Lake as well.
This is the gentle section of the northeast ridge. Above this section, the route becomes more rugged.
Undoubtedly there are other good, but more difficult routes on Mount Epworth as well. The southeast and east sides appear to have some fine snow routes early season (early July). The west face is rather gentle and would provide some much longer, but easy routes.
There are no permits required.
There is no red tape for climbing the mountain. Kessler waits on the summit of Mount Epworth for his mom and sister to complete the last section.
There are many campsites along the road to the trailhead. You can camp at Pumphouse Lake, but make sure to tread lightly.
When to Climb
The Rollins Pass road doesn’t open until early July in most years, so from early July through September or possibly early October would be considered to be the normal climbing season. The peak could be climbed outside this season and year-round, but it would be a very long walk up the Rollins Pass Road to access the peak.
Shaylee, Kim and Kessler on the summit of Mount Epworth in mid-July.
For current trail and snow conditions, more information, and access issues contact:
Sulphur Ranger District
9 Ten Mile Drive
Granby, CO 80446
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Below is the climate summary for nearby Berthoud Pass at 11,315 feet elevation. These are all averages, so expect more variation, but this will give you a good idea about the climate at higher elevations in the area. *National Weather Service Data 1950-1985.
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