The views of toothy Castle Mountain from the summit of Oldman Mountain
Though petite, this rocky little wonder is an Estes Park area classic. A short but sweet scramble brings the hiker to a wide-open, rocky summit that affords dynamite views of Castle Mountain, Longs Peak, Mount Meeker, Twin Sisters, Lumpy Ridge and downtown Estes Park. The peak rises distinctly directly west of the town of Estes Park and is a distinctive landmark from several vantages points east. No marked trail reaches the top and some Class 3 scrambling is required to summit.
This rocky little perch is special for more than its fine views and pleasant scrambling:
Its history includes it as being one of the oldest and largest sacred Native American sites in Colorado for more than 5,000 years. Old Man Mountain is one of only three documented Colorado "vision-quest" sites; a pilgrimage site for Native Americans who would travel great distances and fast for several days upon the mountain peak as they awaited a divine message.
-Estes Park Trail Gazette | 13 July 2013
To this day, some people visit Oldman Mountain not for the rock scampering or the scenery but for spiritual reasons.
Trails Illustrated #200 Rocky Mountain National Park
Elkhorn Club Estates
Old Man Mountain rises near the junction of US 34 and US 36 on the west end of Estes Park, Colorado. While trails run from the vicinity of Deer Mountain to the west, apparently the west face of Oldman Mountain promises a technical ascent. Most visitors to this peak will approach the mountain from the from UNC (University of Northern Colorado) Old Man Mountain Retreat Center property south of the summit.
From Elkhorn Drive west of Estes Park
-Left on Old Ranger Road left if coming out of Estes | Right on Old Ranger Road if coming from RMNP eastbound on Hwy 34
-Park* at the end of Old Ranger Road
*Note: Due to limited parking in the area, I opted to walk from the town of Estes Park west on US 34 to Elkhorn Drive
A neat lonesome boulder en route to the summit
Key lower gully
-From the road, look for a plastic post very near to the curb and a rough, unmarked trail heading uphill
-Head up the gully northward
-From the top of the gully, work your way northwest through boulders and slabs
Less than 900 vertical feet
Old Man Mountain resides entirely on private property. However, due to the peak’s status as a local landmark as well as a continued object of spirit quests, nearby property owners seem tolerant of hikers and spiritual pilgrims visiting this summit. Please do the summit-hunting community a favor and be respectful of local residents and property owners. Be quiet when passing by private homes and pick up after yourself.Additionally, though it may sound unusual to some of us, certain individuals visit this peak as part of a spiritual quest. Please be mindful of your behavior should you encounter visitors who may be hiking the summit for spiritual reasons.
Weather and Seasons
Estes Park and Lake Estes
Mount Meeker and Longs Peak
Camping and Lodging
Views north from the summit
After hike meal
An almost unlimited variety of camping and lodging options exist in and near Rocky Mountain National Park. With options ranging from climbers bivouacs to National Park car camping within the park and mom & pop campgrounds and motor lodges on up to luxurious multi-family cabins and high-end historic hotels, a visitor can find camping or lodging options to suit almost any need here.
CAMPING WITHIN THE PARK
The National Park Service operates six car camping sites within the National Park: Five general use sites and one group camping site.
Backcountry camping in Rocky Mountain National Park falls in to several categories each with its own complex set of rules and regulation:
Here are some very helpful campsite resource websites by the National Park Service:
LODGING NEAR THE PARK
Estes Park is the eastern, and primary, gateway community serving Rocky Mountain National Park and Oldman Mountain sits immediately west of this town.
Estes Park Chamber of Commerce Website for detailed information about lodging in this community.
Local lawn ornamentRescue On Old Man Mountain | 27 April 2009