Southwest Ridge

Page Type
Colorado, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall
Time Required:
One to two days

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Created On: Oct 17, 2006
Last Edited On: Oct 17, 2006
Southwest Ridge

15 miles & 5,200-ft

The following is a loop route; a route that takes advantage of the beauty of the area. I would highly recommend breaking this route up into two days. I would also recommend using the following text with the provided topo map. There are many trails in the area that are not marked on the USGS topo software, however, the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map shows a lot of these trails. I used my National Geographic topo exclusively for this hike.

Also, my route up Storm Ridge probably is not the easiest route available; however it is the fastest from my starting point. My route is a bit messy and seemed to turn into quite the slog. Investigate a hike via Castle Pass; it may be the best way to ascend this mountain. It’s just more out of the way.

From the parking area at the Little Robinson TH (7,550-ft) hike 1 mile to a trail junction with the Kaufman Creek Trail, it is signed. Continue southeast on the Little Robinson Trail another 2 miles as it ascends up through a huge stand of aspens. About 3 miles from the TH look sharp for a trail that ascends east up a steep slope to Point 9,550. This point is marked on the USGS topo. This trail is not shown on the USGS map but it is shown on the National Geographic map. Point 9,550 is the gentle, treed ridge crest of Mosely Ridge (refer to provided map.) From here you get your first view of Storm Ridge (below.)

Storm Ridge

From here follow another trail as it stays high on this broad ridge crest until it descends slightly into an area loaded with grassy and boggy meadows. It is here where trails tend to fade in and fade out, due mostly because of the wet and muddy conditions.

There are plenty of places to camp in this area, and running water isn’t too difficult to locate.

From the meadows, descend down to a creek that is sourced from Sheep Lake way south, it is unnamed but it runs pretty good. The downfall in here is pretty nasty but it won’t last long. Continue east up the treed slope, avoiding the loose and steep talus to the left. From here, look for a small drainage that runs just north of the Castle Pass Trail. Ascend this slope to about 10,400-ft. Leave this drainage and traverse out onto the west face of Storm Ridge’s southwest ridge. The ascending traverse to the next drainage north (north of Point 11,055-ft) is messy and may discourage you. It does go. Once in this obvious drainage, begin your final ascent 1,100-ft up the treed southwest ridge to the summit. The last portion is easy hiking through a spacious treed landscape to a wide-open summit with incredible views.

Descend your ascent route or descend the southwest slope all the way to the Castle Pass Trail. Either way, both will get you back into the grassy meadows 2000-ft below.

From here the USGS topo shows a trail that heads west inbetween two lakes to the crest of a ridge at about 10,000-ft. I could not find this trail. In fact, I spent about two hours trying to locate this trail while burning time the night prior at my campsite. It may be there, but I just could not find it. The idea is to ascend the treed slopes of Mosely Ridge again (refer to provided topo.) There is a faint trail that runs north and south up on this ridge. This trail will get you to another trail that does a descending traverse southwest down a treed slope full of aspens. This trail is not marked on the USGS map however it is marked on the National Geographic topo map. The trail descends to the Little Robinson Cow Camp.

Once your down in the camp, which isn’t anything more than a few cows grazing in a open meadow, easily locate the Little Robinson Trail and hike it maybe a 100 yards to a signed junction with the Peter Creek Trail. The sign here will say “Kaufman Creek Trail 2 miles” and not “Peter Creek Trail.” The Kaufman Creek Trail rests at he end of this trail two miles away.

Take the Peter Creek Trail west about a quarter mile to somewhat of a pass. From the pass there is another signed trail junction with the Elk Basin Trail. Stay on the Peter Creek Trail as it descends through some of the most beautiful stands of aspens in Colorado. The trail will eventually intersect with the Kaufman Creek Trail. Go north on the Kaufman Creek Trail, and follow it through more beautiful terrain. This trail will eventually connect with the Little Robinson Trail just east of a private residence. Follow the Little Robinson Trail one mile back to the parking area.

Little Robinson TH

From McClure Pass, drive Hwy 133 to Paonia Reservoir. Just past the reservoir, turn left on the scenic byway, Kebler Pass Road or Co12. Go approximately 2 miles and look sharp for a turnoff on the right. There is a wooden sign here marking the turn off that says “PRIVATE PROPERTY-next two miles, stay on road.” This is the "Coal Creek Road." There will be no sign declaring this road to be the Coal Creek Road. Drive this scenic, one lane road 10 miles to the Robinson Creek TH. En route pass the turn-off to the Throughline TH. The road is passable for low clearance vehicles.

Southwest Ridge

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