This route up Orno Peak is a nice route that can be done in a day. The route passes through spruce forests, around high alpine lakes, and climbs a high alpine ridge with wildflowers. The route is only partially on trails and paths and will require some cross-country navigation.
Length: 6 to 8 miles, depending on specific route
Elevation Gain: 2,100 feet, assuming start at trailhead
Difficulty: Class 1 and 2
Follow the Getting There
directions on the Orno Peak page to the Yamcola Reservoir. From the Yamcola Reservoir, take the first right after crossing the dam onto FR 906. Follow this dirt road to its end at the trailhead. The road is in good shape and most stock vehicles should be able to make it provided they have some ground clearance. Four wheel drive would be recommended if any mud or snow were present.
Final Summit Ridge
From the trailhead, follow the old 4x4 road up East Coal Creek. Cross the creek at an old, washed out bridge location. Follow the old road up the hill and stay left at an intersection. Follow the road as it peters out into a single track trail following up West Coal Creek’s drainage. When you arrive at a location with a view of Orno Peak
, cross West Coal Creek and follow a faint trail through the forest and around swampy areas. Arrive at a grassy, east facing hillside. Ascend the hillside; it is recommended to use the small spur of a ridge on the hillside (as shown on the supplied topo).
Once on top, take the path of least resistance through spruce forests, across high alpine meadows, and around a couple nice ponds. Arrive at the base of the southeast ridge.
The view from the base of the Southeast Ridge Route
When you have arrived at the base of the southeast ridge, survey your route to access the ridge above you. There are a few small cliff bands and large talus areas to negotiate to attain the ridge. Pick your way through the rocks and talus and gain the grass covered ridge. Follow the ridge to the summit. There are a few small rock steps that can be avoided along the way, or climbed to add some fun.
Looking towards Lost Lakes and Pyramid Peaks
Standard hiking equipment in the summer and fall should be all that is necessary. In the winter and spring, this would be a great route. For winter and spring, skis and/or snowshoes would be recommended along with standard gear for that time of year.