Located on the Continental Divide along the southern half of Rocky Mountain National Park's Never Summer Range, lie the cloud peaks Stratus, Nimbus, and Cumulus. The trail to Mount Nimbus is seldom used (as far as trails in a National Park go) as it does not lead to any mountain lakes, waterfalls, or lookout points, discouraging the casual day-hiker. However, the route to Nimbus' summit has it's own mystique that only the Never Summer Mountain Range can provide.
From the Colorado River Trailhead you will see Red Mountain towering over 2,000 feet above. Red Mountain's eastern slope is beautifully speckled with trees which contrast its noticeable red rock hue. This mountain is actually the end of the ridge leading east from the summit of Nimbus. The summit of Nimbus offers excellent views of the Front Range and even more spectacular views of its Never Summer neighbors to the north.
After reaching Mount Nimbus, Mount Cumulus can be reached by following the dramatic ridge north one mile.
See the Route Description
for details on the trail and summit approach
The Colorado River Trailhead is located along Trail Ridge Road
(Rt 34) going through Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP). The trailhead is on the west side of the Continental Divide but can be easily reached from Estes Park, CO during the summer months (May/June - September) when Trail Ridge Road is open.
From the East, take I -25 (Colorado) to the exit for highway 34. Continue west on 34 up the canyon and through Estes Park. Staying on 34, pass through the gate to Rocky Mountain National Park. You are now on Trail Ridge Road and it will take about 45 minutes - 1 hour to reach the Colorado River Trailhead (a few miles beyond Milner Pass).
From the West, take highway 40 (Colorado) to highway 34 north/east toward Grand Lake. Again, pass through the gates to Rocky Mountain National Park and drive approximately 8/9 miles to the Colorado River Trailhead.
You do not need a permit to day-hike in the National Park. If arriving at the gates of RMNP before 6:00 am you will not need to pay the entrance fee of $15 (good for one week). Backcountry camping in RMNP requires a permit and has associated fees.
When To Climb
The Never Summer Range Mts. usually hold onto snow longer than most of the mountains in RMNP. June - September (while Trail Ridge Road is open) would be the most recommended time to climb this mountain. June 2005 still had an abundance of snow on the eastern slope of Nimbus, making an ice axe an important safety measure on the descent, which also came in handy as a crutch on the ascent.
Today's effects of the Grand Ditch to RMNP watershed
Brief history of Grand Ditch