Papoose Mountain sits between its higher neighbors, Chief Mountain
and Squaw Mountain
west of Denver, CO, along the Squaw Pass Road in Arapaho National Forest.
From the summit there are nice views of the mountains along the Continental Divide north of Beuthold Pass and in the distance stands Longs Peak. While Mount Evans is nearby, its summit is not visible from Papoose due to it being blocked by Chief Mountain. The eastern plains of Colorado are visible to the east.
Papoose makes for a nice warm up hike in the spring or a relatively easy snowshoe during the winter months. The only drawback to climbing in the winter is the constant sound of the lift engines at the Echo Mountain Ski Area.
Papoose Mountain is located just south of the revitalized Echo Mountain Ski Area on the Squaw Pass Road (CO 103).
To get there from Denver, head west on I-70 to the Evergreen Parkway exit (exit 252) and head south and west to the 4th stoplight where you turn right onto the Squaw Pass Road. From there the trailhead is 12 miles along the twisty Squaw Pass Road.
Another option is to take I-70 to exit 240 in Idaho Springs and head south up the Chicago Creek valley, passing the turn off to the Mount Evans Road at Echo Lake and continuing another couple of miles to the trailhead. This route is longer than the previously mentioned route if coming from the east.
There is plenty of parking along the forest road that heads towards Squaw Mountain, however do not block the forest road. The trailhead is at 10634 feet.
Hiking up Papoose
One trail up Papoose is an easy class 2 hike. Hike east along a forest road that ultimately heads up to the radio beacons atop of Squaw Mountain for about .7 of a mile, and then up the eastern slope through the lodgepole pine forest covering the slopes of Papoose Mountain for about a half mile to the summit.
Another hike up Papoose is to start at the trailhead for Chief Mountain (1/2 mile west of the entrance to the Squaw Mountain Ski Area and just over .1 mile west the previously mentioned trailhead), hiking about .4 of a mile southeast to the saddle between Papoose and Chief Mountains, and then about .1 of a mile up the steeper western slope of Papoose.
Papoose Mountain lies within the Arapaho National Forest. There are no permits or fees necessary. There does appear to be some private land along the Squaw Pass Road so please respect the landowners privacy and stay on the trails and/or unimproved roads near the highway.
For those of you who like to hike with your dog, like I do, dogs must be on a hand held leash no longer than six feet at all times. In Colorado dogs who chase either livestock or wildlife can be shot. And please don't let your dog defecate on the trail and leave it there - pick up after your pet.
During deer and elk hunting season, generally late October to mid November, it is advisable to hike with some hunter orange on.
There are no developed campgrounds nearby, however camping is allowed anywhere within the Arapaho National Forest with the following restrictions, no camping within 100 feet of all lakes, streams and developed trails.
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