Outcrops of volcanic conglomerate
Thirtynine Mile Mountain is a bulky, hulking Elevener with over 2,000 feet of prominence in the rolling volcanic hills of southern Park County. A remnant of the Tertiary Period Guffey Volcano (inactive for about 30 million years) in the Thirtynine Mile volcanic field, Thirtynine Mile Mountain is studded with outcrops of red volcanic conglomerate.
In addition to its prominence (the 76th
most prominent peak in Colorado, per the "Colorado's Most Prominent Peaks
" list on SummitPost by SP member RyanS
), a further attraction to Thirtynine Mile Mountain is that the mountain is not cut by any trails, all but ensuring a sense of solitude and isolation en route to the summit. While the summit is shrouded in trees, many fine views are available en route to the top along the undulating East Ridge. Views from outcrops studding this peak include the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Pikes Peak.
highest peak in Colorado
Thirtynine Mile Mountain
Rank & Prominence Source: Lists of John
Thirtynine Mile Mountain sits forty miles west as the raven flies from Colorado Springs, 30 miles by road southeast of Hartsel and less than 10 miles north of the town of Guffey.
Old snag at an overlook along the East Ridge
Very few rules govern your use of this part of the National Forest. There are privately-held ranches nearby, however; be mindful of avoiding private property. There is no fee to use this part of the National Forest and parking is free.
Another view to the south Dicks Peak from east ridge Red volcanic outcropImmediately Surrounding the Peak
This peak is very dry and the soil well-drained, thus reliable water sources are scarce. Camping right near the peak cannot be recommended.
US Forest Service Campgrounds
The National Forest Service has a large selection of campgrounds in and around the Lake George area.
Eleven Mile State Park
|Campground Name||Elevation||Sites||Nightly Rate||Reservations?||Notes|
|Blue Mountain||8,200 ft.||21||$12||Yes||Less than 3 miles as the crow flies from the summit of Blue Mountain. |
|Spruce Grove||8,600 ft.||27||$12||No||Let the gurgling Tarryall Creek sing you to sleep.|
|Twin Eagles||8,600 ft.||9||$8||No||Must haul or purify drinking water.|
|Happy Meadows||7,900 ft.||8||$12||No||Situated along the South Platte River.|
|Round Mountain||8,500 ft.||16||$12||Yes||Drinking water, vault toilet and trash pickup.|
|Springer Gulch||8,300 ft.||15||$12||Yes||Situated within the Elevenmile Canyon; water, tables, fire grates.|
|Riverside||8,000 ft.||19||$12||Yes||Situated within Elevenmile Canyon; large grassy meadow with little shade.|
Colorado State Parks operates eight campgrounds near the Eleven Mile Reservoir, as well as 25 backcountry campsites accessible by foot or boat only. Visit this site
for detailed information.
Weather & Seasons
South from east ridge Southwest from the ridge
Summitting this peak would be pretty hot (due to relatively low altitude) in the summer, though the trees shading the slopes would provide relief.
The snowpack is less deep here than in the high country and melts out faster than higher areas to the west. None-the-less, expect post-holing through unconsolidated snow drifts in the trees – bring a snorkel.
The aspen coating the slopes of this peak and surrounding neighbors make this area a golden-hued heaven in the fall.
Thanks to proximity to both US Hwy 24 Colorado Hwy 9, as well as to “primary dirt roads”, this peak is accessible year-round, barring a major blizzard (the roads in this area are prone to wind-drifting). Expect some deep snow wallowing where the trees are thick during a winter ascent.
To learn more about geography in the South Park area, including the Thirtynine Mile volcanic field, visit this local geology page