Snowy Spring on Colorado Mines Peak, 2015-05-24

Snowy Spring on Colorado Mines Peak, 2015-05-24

Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 39.79580°N / 105.76446°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: May 24, 2015
Activities Activities: Hiking
Seasons Season: Spring


With all of the spring snows we've had this year, I decided to check it out and see what it was like up on Berthoud Pass and Colorado Mines Peak.

As it turned out, it was a great hike up the snow-covered summit - very do-able with snow-shoes, skins, or even just boots. Views all around were spectacular, particularly with all the snow left above timberline, which distinctly contrasted with the valleys below. 

This is a very accessible peak in winter or summer. Summit is listed variably as 12,493' and 12,497', depending on who you believe. 

Getting to the Trailhead

Easiest and closest access is from the parking area on Berthoud Pass, around MileMarker 243.  Berthoud Pass is on US Highway 40. From the south/east, go west from Idaho Springs to exit 233 toward Empire. From the north, head south on HW-40 from Fraser or Winter Park.

The Route

Depending on the route you take, it's less than a mile to the summit. The forest access road shown on most maps was completely snowed over so I followed what I understand are former ski slopes, heading just south of due east from the parking area to the summit. You can even see a few of the antennas on the summit from the parking lot to use as an initial bearing. They soon disappear, but as you emerge from the trees at treeline you'll begin to see several of them on the summit. You'll be ascending north of, but parallel to, the power lines that run to the summit.

On this day, I left the parking lot about 11:30am and reached the summit around 12:15.  It was a somewhat steep hike - class 2 - up, but even in the trees was manageable with virtually no post-holing because of the snow-pack. Took about 45 minutes to summit.  Coming down was the same until I got into the trees and below.  By then, 2 hours of sun meant some frequent 18" deep post-holes.  Still, made it down in about the same - 45 min. A number of folks were snowshoeing or skinning it to the top and skiing down - definitely the way to go!

Elevation gain is 1,186'. Berthoud Pass is listed as 11,307' (on the forest service sign) and the summit as 12,493' on Trails Illustrated Maps.


Several forest service campgrounds are along HW-40 both north and south of the pass. Most are seasonal, closed in the winter.

Red Tape

No known red tape.


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