Quarter to Five Peak is often overlooked, unless you hike up towards Arapahoe Pass from the Fourth of July Trailhead, and see it towering in front of you. Surrounded by 13ers, and high 12ers, Quarter to 5 Peak is a fun climb, easily accessible from the Fourth of July Trailhead in the Indian Peaks Wilderness. Although this peak is adjacent to Arapaho Pass, a regularly traversed hiking area, it was previously unnamed, until its unique name came about (supposedly) when some intrepid climbers who dalied about on their attempt to climb "Jasper Peak" until quarter to five. After heading up the Arapaho Pass Trail they ascended this mountain as a consolation prize as the late hour put "Jasper" beyond their reach.
At the 11,000' ridge below Arapaho Pass and South and North Arapaho Peak
, stands this mountain dramatically before you. This is an enjoyable class 2 climb in the summer, and class 3 climb in snow. Although this mountain is easily accessible from Denver or Boulder, it is not the most popular climb in the area. I saw nobody on the mountain when I climbed it on a beautiful weekend day in the summer! Most people climb the Arapaho Peaks or Mt. Neva from this trail. The reason to do this climb is because it's easily accessible, less crowded, and is fun due to its increasingly challenging ridge line, which is absent a trail, and requires boulder hopping on your hands and knees. The closer you get to the summit, the more challenging it becomes, due to large boulders, too high to climb over on the ridge line. Nearby Lake Dorothy (on the other side of Arapahoe Pass 11,906') is a beautiful sight, and has several prominences above it that appear to exceed 12,100'. The true height of Quarter to Five Peak is hard to determine. Topo maps seems to indicate a height of approximately 12,300 for the true summit. Google Earth seems to indicate much lower than the topo maps, but appears to be inaccurate based on topo maps and the experience of the hike itself.
Quarter to Five Peak looms above the dirt road heading to the Fourth of July Trailhead.
Take rt. 72 from Denver, or rt. 119 from Boulder, to the peak to peak highway. Take these glorious winding mountain roads to Nederland, CO. From there, I take the road to the El Dora ski resort. About 2 miles down the road, there is a sign to go to the ski resort, to the left. Stay right to go to the mountains. You get to a dirt road that is about 7 miles to the Fourth of July trailhead. There is a fork in the dirt road a few miles in. You need to take a right to get to the trailhead.
Parking is free at the Fourth of July Trailhead, but it gets crowded early in the day during the summer. Make sure you park in designated areas. Many areas along the road are private and prohibit parking. No tresspassing signs are all over the area.
The dirt road to the trailhead is not maintained in winter or spring.
There is a bathroom located at the trailhead parking area
Indian Peak Wilderness Rules and Regulations:
Motorized vehicles are not permitted, including bicycles.
A permit is required for camping in the wilderness area between June 1 and Sept. 15. Permits are issued for 19 travel zones within the Indian Peak boundaries. Permits are $5.00 at the following offices. For information or to apply for a use permit, contact the U.S. Forest Service, Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave., 303-541-2500, or the Sulphur Ranger District, 9 Ten Mile Drive, P.O. Box 10, Granby, CO 80446, 1-970-887-4100. For recorded information, call the Indian Peaks Wilderness Information Line at 303-541-2519.
Only a certain number of groups are allowed in each travel zone for overnight camping. Camping is limited to two weeks in any four-week period; the two weeks can be in any travel zone.
Organized groups (maximum size of 12) must have permit for camping or hiking at all times.
Campsites must be at least 100 yards from lakes and streams.
Fires are prohibited east of the Continental Divide. Fires are allowed in certain areas west of the divide. Be careful about fires because some summers have more fires than others, and statewide bans may be in place.
When To Climb
The Class 2 Summit ridge of Quarter-to-Five-Peak in the foreground. Orginially submitted by Brenta. Photo Credits to HoonSang Jin
Year round it can be climbed. Casual climbers should climb between June and September. Weather is unpredictable outside of the summer months, so check weather reports.