Puma Peak/Peak 12380 and its neighbor Island Lake Peak are forming the most rugged part of the Rawah Wilderness.
Puma Peak can be accessed from both sides of the Medicine Bow Range:
Travel 11 miles northwest of Fort Collins on U.S. Highway 287 to Colorado Highway 14. Turn left on CO 14 and travel 52 miles to County Rad 103, Laramie River Road. Turn right and travel north about 6 miles to trail head parking on the left just past Tunnel Campground. CR 106 is a well maintained gravel road, but there is no winter maintenance.
Travel 11 miles northwest of Fort Collins on U.S. Highway 287 to Colorado Highway 14. Turn left on CO 14 and travel for 72 miles over Cameron Pass to Gould. Turn right on Jackson County 41, 2 miles past Gould and enter the Colorado State Forest (fee required). Continue 1 mile to a Y and turn left, driving on the north side of North Michigan Reservoir. After 3.9 miles, turn right onto Ruby Jewel Rd. After 0.9 miles, continue straight (right) at the Francisco Rd Junction. Drive another mile to the end of the 2-wheel drive road. With 4x4 you can drive up another 1.5 mile to the 4 WD parking lot.
From the EAST - EAST RIDGE - CLASS 2 TO 3
The West Branch Trail crosses a bridge about a 1/4 mile from the trailhead and enters the Rawah Wilderness. Trail follows the West Branch of the Laramie River and climbs through switchbacks for the next two miles to the intersection with Camp Lake Trail. From there the West Branch Trail continues west for another mile where it crosses the North Fork of the Laramie River to meet the south end of the Rawah Trail (#961). About two miles farther the trail enters a meadow and meets the north end of the Blue Lake Trail (#959) before continuing steeply to terminate at Island and Carey Lakes.
The East Ridge of Puma Peak starts right at the Southern end of the Island Lake. An enjoyable ridge climb will get you to the summit of Puma Peak. With proper route finding the climb will be mostly Class 2 , with a couple Class 3 sections.
FROM THE WEST: CLASS 2
Hike on Jewel Lake Trail to junction with Hidden Valley Trail. Turn north on Hidden Valley Trail. Hike to saddle separating North Fork Canadian from Kelly Creek valley ( Kelly Lake is right below you). From here summit of Puma Peak is easily gained by hiking up its Western flank.
NOTICE: RIDGE CLIMB TO ISLAND LAKE PEAK
From below it may look like that the North Ridge of Puma Peak offers a manageable route to connect with the South Ridge of Island Lake Peak. The North Ridge is however a solid Class 5 climb requiring a rappel down to the notch separating both peaks.
Late spring until late fall. CR 106 is not maintained in winter. The first heavy snowfall in winter will close it until into the spring.
Notice: Strong spring run off during snow melt may make the crossing (especially) of North Fork of the Laramie difficult.