Puma Hills

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Area/Range
Location:
Colorado, United States, North America
Elevation:
11570 ft / 3527 m
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Puma Hills
Created On: Mar 23, 2010
Last Edited On: Dec 27, 2012

Overview

Looking across the Tarryall Valley to the Puma HillsLooking across the Tarryall Valley to the Puma Hills

The Puma Hills are relatively low, rounded, wooded mountains in central Colorado. These mostly gentle hills feature timbered slopes and neat outcrops of Pikes Peak granite. The highpoint of the Puma Hills is the aptly-nicknamed "Puma Peak" which rises to 11,570 feet, still below timberline in this part of Colorado. Like "Puma Peak" many of the summits in the Puma Hills do not have official USGS names on the map, lending to their sense of mystery and obscurity.

The heart of the Puma Hills straddles Hwy 24 at Wilkerson Pass (elevation 9507 ft). They are bounded to the east by the Tarryall Creek and to the west by the geological feature known as South Park. While the eastern and western boundaries are relatively easy to define, the northern and southern endpoints are a bit more elusive. In a proper sense, the northern boundary roughly coincides with the Tarryall Reservoir while the mountains run southward toward the Elevenmile Reservoir. However, on SummitPost and elsewhere, numerous nearby straggler summits that share similar terrain characteristics but do not formally have a range to call home, are often grouped in with the Puma Hills.

This is a laid-back, easy-going kind of mountain range full of peaks with no names and no trails to the summits. The Puma Hills are a place to visit when looking for gentle beauty and un-hurried solitude; for soft green trees swaying in the breeze against rosy granite and the rustle of wildlife in the woods.


Getting There

Puma Peak from UN 9895BPuma Peak from UN 9895
Sugarloaf Mountain Summit, Puma Hills in the BackdropPuma Hills from Sugarloaf Mountain

The Puma Hills sit on the eastern edge of South Park in Park County, Colorado. The mountains are about 75 miles as the crow flies southwest of Denver and roughly the same air distance northwest of Colorado Springs. The primary highway serving the area is US Hwy 24. Park County 77, a beat-up 2-lane semi-paved road, provides access to much of the eastern edge of the Puma Hills. Several US Forest Service gravel roads criss-cross the area.
Puma Hills Area Map

Notable Peaks of the Puma Hills

Sarah with Lady on FarnumLaid back Farnum Peak summit
With Lady the dog
Little Puma Flanked by Farnum (L) and Puma Peak (R)Little Puma Flanked by Farnum (L) and Puma Peak (R)

ImageMountainElevation
"Puma Peak"11,570
"Little Puma Peak"11,449
Farnum Peak11,337
Schoolmarm Mountain11,332
Badger Mountain11,294
Martland Peak11,289
UN 1105311,053
 Stoll Mountain10,873
Pulver Mountain10,538
UN 1046210,462
Rishaberger Mountain10,460
 Maria Benchmark9,898
 Sulphur Mountain9,339

Flora and Fauna

Ponderosa Pine & Mt. GuyotPonderosa Pine
BT Charred SentinelCharred pine on the summit of "Burntop"

Fauna
These mountains provide habitat for their namesake pumas (also known as mountain lions, catamounts or cougars), pronhorn antelope, black bears, bighorn sheep, mule deer and elk plus numerous birds and small critters.

Flora
The Ponderosa Pine is the ubiquitous companion of these mountains along with Quaking Aspen. The higher, north-facing reaches of these summits will host Douglas Fir. Near the very tops of the higher peaks a few old Bristlecone Pines thrive. The hotter, south-facing slopes host a variety of grasses plus Mountain Mahogany and yucca.

Land Ownership & Management

Puma Hills from summit areaPuma Hills roll in the distance from UN 8906

Much of the Puma Hills terrain sits within the Pike National Forest and, as such, is accessible to the public.

Camping & Lodging

 Burntop  from Baker Mountain"Burntop" from Baker Mountai
Little Puma_Foreground_and Puma from FarnumLittle Puma_Foreground_and Puma from Farnum

Designated National Forest Service Sites

Campground NameElevationSitesNightly RateReservations?Notes
Blue Mountain8,200 ft.21$12YesJust a couple miles south of Lake George.
Spruce Grove8,600 ft.27$12NoLet the gurgling Tarryall Creek sing you to sleep.
Twin Eagles8,600 ft.9$8NoMust haul or purify drinking water.
Happy Meadows7,900 ft.8$12NoSituated along the South Platte River.
Round Mountain8,500 ft.16$12YesDrinking water, vault toilet and trash pickup.
Springer Gulch8,300 ft.15$12YesSituated within the Elevenmile Canyon; water, tables, fire grates.
Riverside8,000 ft.19$12YesSituated within Elevenmile Canyon; large grassy meadow with little shade.


Lodges and Guest Ranches
Puma Hills River Ranch
Dream Stream Lodge
Ute Trail River Ranch
Bison Peak Lodge

Weather & Seasons

The Puma Hills are a year-round mountain range. Relatively low elevations (below timberline) and gentle grades mean minimal avalanche danger. Many are primarily accessible from late Spring through Fall due to winter closures on dirt access roads, but some peaks sit closer to major paved thoroughfare providing access throughout winter.

Zone Forecast for Lake George, CO







Puma Hills

Area/Range
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Geography

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