Southeast Slopes via Burning Bear Trail

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day

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Southeast Slopes via Burning Bear Trail
Created On: Dec 29, 2011
Last Edited On: Dec 29, 2011


Pushing toward the summitPushing toward the summit

This nice, mellow route makes for a pleasant winter outing. Roughly 2/3 of the trail follows a trail. The 1/3 of the route that is off-trail is relatively straight-forward, passing first through timber then through a lower clearing and finally reaching the krumholz, topping out in tundra. The views from the upper clearing to the summit are wide-open and fantastic.

Roundtrip Distance: 7 miles
Net Elevation Gain: 2,400 feet
YDS Class: 2

Descending  Burning Bear Peak Descending "Burning Bear Peak"
Powder in the TreesPowder in the Trees

Getting There

East from upper slopesEast from upper slopes
East from openingEast from opening

From the Southeast via the Burning Bear Trail, western trailhead

From Hwy 285 about 4 miles southbound from Grant, head north on Park County Road #60 (FS #120) and drive 3 miles to a very small parking area on the right side of the road. This trailhead, reached via graded dirt road, is accessible to all vehicles. Parking, however, is limited.

Krumholz on upper reachesKrumholz on upper reaches
Sastrugi and KrumholzSastrugi and Krumholz
Punching through sastrugiPunching through sastrugi

Route Description

Route MapEast from opening

• From the small parking area, immediately ascend a switchback to top out on a ridge.
• Cross through an aspen-studded meadow before entering an the area where the walls of the Burning Bear Creek drainage tighten in on the trail.
• Roughly 1 mile from the trailhead, reach the confluence with Lamping Creek.
• Continue following Burning Bear Creek for a bit less than 1 mile, where the trail departs the creek to climb to a saddle. From the saddle, the summit is less than 1.5 miles away.
• Near the top of the saddle (elevation 10,700 ft.), depart the trail, trending west-northwest toward “Burning Bear Peak” through timber.
• Surmount a small hump, drop slightly, then begin the climb up the slopes of “Burning Bear Peak.” Climb first west, then trend northwest above treeline through tundra.
• The summit of “Burning Bear Peak” is marked by a large cairn. The views are fantastic.

Sastrugi descentSastrugi descent
The Evans GroupThe Evans Group
South Park BelowSouth Park Below

Essential Gear

Constant viewsConstant views
Moving through a clearingMoving through a clearing

• Trails Illustrated #104: Idaho Springs | Georgetown | Loveland Pass
• Outerwear appropriate to the season
• Flotation (snowshoes or skis) in snow season

High country viewsHigh country views