This enjoyable hike provides a nice alternate to the routes from CO 9 on a scenic, gentle ridge.
Difficulty: Trail and off-trail hiking
Overall Distance: 9 Miles round trip
Elevation Gain: Appx. 3400'
Driving directions begin from the intersection of 4th Street and CO 9 on the northern end of the town of Fairplay. Turn east on 4th Street to Beaver Creek Lane and turn left (north). Pass the Fairplay Nordic Center on your left and continue to the junction with FS 413 after approximately 2 miles. Turn right onto FS 413 and pass the winter closure gate after 1/4 mile. Continue past this gate on FS 659 for 2 additional miles to the junction with FS 184. This is the standard trailhead, and is at 10,740'.
Hike (or drive) along FS 184 for a mile to 11,180'. This is also the 4WD trailhead, it is an unmarked pullout on the left side of the road with a road closed sign. If the road starts to descend in elevation, you have gone too far.
From the road closed sign, hike the abandoned road through the forest. The road will merge softly with another abandoned road, the route continues uphill on this second road, this image
shows the general character of the first part of the hike. Note the location of this road split for your descent, you will need to descend along the road that forks RIGHT.
Follow the road to 12,000', where the road will start to contour east. Leave the road at this point and continue north on the gentle grassy ridge to PT 12,282. The remaining route
is visible from here and ascends tundra and talus. The ridge becomes more defined as it approaches PT 13,004. Climb north on talus from PT 13,004 for approximately 1 mile directly to the summit. This image
shows the majority of the route from above.
Standard hiking gear and the 10 essentials are all that is needed. Late fall you may encounter some snow. The route photos were taken in October.
Winter adds over 2 miles each way to this route due to road closures, I recommend hiking Silverheels from the west (Beaver Ridge
, or Hoosier Pass
) in winter.
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Annotated map of this route is below