Red Mountain is one of the highest mountains in the Sierra Madre of Wyoming and Colorado, but it is still little known. Actually just about all of the mountains in the Sierra Madre are little known. The Sierra Madre is far from any major population centers and is not as high or as rugged as some of the other ranges around, such as the Medicine Bow Mountains, Park Range, etc., thus it gets little attention.
Thomas Edison evidently visited the area to fish and local history (perhaps more folklore than history) says that he threw his broken fishing pole into the fire where it burned. The glowing stick supposedly gave him the idea for the filaments in his light bulb.
Red Mountain itself is a rounded dome, but with some steep slopes on the north side. It is made of pretty red granite that is rather solid, though it doesn’t seem to form any vertical cliffs here.
Doane Peak to the northeast is Red Mountain’s neighbor, but since the views are better from Red Mountain, this is the recommended mountain if you only have time to climb one peak in the area.
Red Mountain as seen from the north. Battle Lake is below.
There are two major trailheads that can be used for climbing Red Mountain.
This trailhead offers the shortest and easiest route up Red Mountain. The trailhead is easy to find since it is also a trailhead for the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.
The trailhead can be reached from the east or west and is right along WY State Highway 70. Most people will be coming from the east, but we came from the west. Battle Mountain Pass and the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail are located on the south side of the highway 12 miles west of Encampment.
The Continental Divide National Scenic Trail as seen not far from the Battle Pass Trailhead.
Forest Road 811
This trailhead offers a longer route to Red Mountain via the Baby Lake Trail. Forest Road 811 takes off south from WY State Highway 70 about six miles west of Battle Pass (18 miles from Encampment). Turn south on FR 811 (across from the Lost Creek Campground) and turn left immediately onto FR 811.A and follow the road a short distance to the trailhead.
There are several routes up Red Mountain and it can be climbed from almost any direction. The two routes discussed here will be from the Battle Pass route and the Baby Lake Trail. See the route pages for more details.
Via Battle Pass
From Battle Pass, the route follows a closed 4wd trail and then the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. We took the Continental Divide trail around to the South Face of Red Mountain and climbed it from there. We didn’t have a topographic map with us, but by looking at the map, the gentle north east ridge of Red Mountain might make the easiest route.
This route is only four miles or so round trip.
Climbing the south face of Red Mountain.
Via FR 811 and Baby Lake
This is a longer route to Red Mountain and one which makes this into more of a climb. This is the route we descended after climbing Red Mountain via the Continental Divide Trailhead.
This route follows the indistinct Baby Lake Trail (which actually passes near, but doesn’t reach Baby Lake) to a minor saddle southwest of Red Mountain. A broad ridge is them followed to the summit.
This route is about 12 miles round trip.
This is the Baby Lake "Trail", but it's pretty indistinct.
A one way hike can be made by climbing one route and descending the other. This is the way the climb is described in the route page:
Red Mountain Traverse: Battle Pass to FR 811
No permits are required.
Standard Wilderness Regulations apply within the wilderness boundary.
Directly from the National Forest Service:
• Entering or being in the area with more than 15 people per group, and a maximum combination of 25 people and pack or saddle animals in any one group is prohibited.
• Camping within one hundred feet of any lake, stream or trail, is prohibited.
• Storing equipment or personal property or supplies for longer than 10 days is prohibited.
• Hitching, tethering or hobbling any pack or saddle animal within one hundred feet of any lake, stream or trail is prohibited.
• Possessing a dog or other animal that is harassing wildlife or people or damaging property is prohibited. There is no leash law in the Huston Park Wilderness, however dogs must be kept under verbal control at all times.
• Shortcutting a switchback in a trail is prohibited.
There isn't much red tape, but plenty of Red Granite on Red Mountain.
Lost Creek Campground is near the Baby Lake Trailhead. Haskin Creek Campground is a few miles east of Lost Creek Campground. There are also many informal campsites in the area, including around the Baby Lake Trailhead.
There are also several backcountry campsites along the Baby Lake Trail.
When to Climb
July through early September would be considered the normal season to climb the mountain. Bring mosquito repellent early season. These mountains receive very heavy snowfall. The Sierra Madre is a very popular hunting destination in September and October so use extreme caution at this time of year.
If you can find a way to the trailhead, this would make a relatively safe and non-technical winter climb, but WY State Highway is closed in the winter, so it would be a very long ski/walk in. Access to a snowmobile will make this a short climb from Battle Pass.
The summit of Red Mountain in July.
Mountain ConditionsCLICK HERE FOR THE RED MOUNTAIN WEATHER FORECAST
Below is the National Weather Service Climate Summary of Dixon/Baggs, on the Wyoming/Colorado border. The data is from 1922-2012. This is one of the closest long term weather stations, but be aware that higher elevations will be much wetter and colder. Dixon/Baggs is at 6370 feet elevation, so expect the temperatures on Red Mountain to be 10-20 degrees colder than in Dixon.
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