Northwest Ridge

Page Type Page Type: Route
Location Lat/Lon: 38.34160°N / 105.891°W
Additional Information Route Type: long hike + ridge climb
Additional Information Time Required: A long day
Additional Information Difficulty: class 2
Sign the Climber's Log


Find the Bushnell Lakes trailhead, hidden at the back of campsite #2 in the Hayden Creek Campground. Follow the trail as it merges with the Rainbow Trail at mile 0.2. (Alternatively, you could start at the Rainbow Trail.) The trail climbs along a creek in a northwest direction. There are three significant creek crossings between mile 1.0 and 1.5. Come to a well marked, 4-way trail intersection at mile 2.5. Turn left onto the trail signed for Bushnell Lakes. The trail register is here. After a quarter mile of relief, the trail steepens again and works its way around the long, northeast ridge of Bushnell Peak. Reach the lower Bushnell Lake at mile 5.5 and 11,128 ft. elevation.

The trail is moderately steep, very well maintained, and very fast. You can reach the lowest Bushnell Lake in a couple hours, and have the rest of the day for mountain climbing. Above the lake, the trail is spotty at best, and completely unreliable.

Route Description

From the Bushnell Lakes, you want to reach the ridge on your right. Hike around the north side of the lowest lake. From here you have several alternatives for reaching the ridge. Either angle up the slope, or follow pieces of a trail to the upper lake, and head straight up the slope to the ridge line. In any case, aim for a white tower clearly visible on the ridge line.

Once you reach the ridge, follow it west toward the summit at the end of the ridge. If you climb to the very top of this summit you can lay claim to having climbed the "little sister" of the Twin Sisters. You may bypass the actual summit on the way to Bushnell Peak. Simply turn left at the end of the ridge, and follow Bushnell's northwest ridge to the summit.

I left a pair of reading glasses up there on the ridge, unintentionally. If you find them, you'll know whose they were.

Essential Gear

Standard hiking gear. Camera.

Miscellaneous Info

If you have information about this route that doesn't pertain to any of the other sections, please add it here.



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