Squaw Mountain is the eastern most of the peaks that are on a northeast arm of Mount Evans
. Squaw Mountain is wholly within Arapaho National Forest, just south of the Echo Mountain Ski Area on Squaw Pass Road.
Squaw Mountain's summit is a ridge that runs southeast to northwest for about a half mile. Along this ridge line there are three separate "summits", with the southeastern one, which has the lookout tower on it, the highest of the three summits. The two "summits" without the lookout tower allow some rock scrambling opportunities, although I'm uncertain as to whether they would be technical climbs or not.
At the summit of Squaw Mountain there is an array of communication towers, plus a two story stone lookout tower
There are stairs on the outside that one can climb to get to the viewing balcony
that provides 360 degree views of the Eastern Plains to the east, Pikes Peak
to the south, Mt. Evans
and the mountains of James Peak Wilderness
to the west and the mountains of Indian Peaks Wilderness
and Rocky Mountain National Park
to the north.
Squaw offers an easy warm up hike in spring or a relatively easy shoeshow hike during the winter.
Squaw Mountain is located just south of the revitalized Echo Mountain Ski Area on the Squaw Pass Road (CO 103).
To get there from Denver, head west on I-70 to the Evergreen Parkway exit (exit 252) and head south and west to the 4th stoplight where you turn right onto the Squaw Pass Road. From there the trailhead is 12 miles along the twisty Squaw Pass Road.
Another option is to take I-70 to exit 240 in Idaho Springs and head south up the Chicago Creek valley, passing the turn off to the Mount Evans Road at Echo Lake and continuing another couple of miles to the trailhead. This route is longer than the previously mentioned route if coming from the east.
There is plenty of parking along the forest road that heads towards Squaw Mountain, however do not block the forest road. The trailhead is at 10634 feet. This trailhead also provides access to neighboring Papoose Mountain
and Chief Mountain
Hiking up Squaw Mountain
The easiest trail up Squaw Mountain is an easy hike up an gravel service road that reaches all the way to the summit. It is about a 2 mile hike from the parking area on Squaw Pass road to the summit. The first half mile or so of the hike is heading southeast up to the saddle between Squaw Mountain, to the east, and Papoose Mountain
, to the west. From the saddle head east along the road to the summit. There are a couple of switchbacks after the saddle.
Looking up from the second to last switchback along the trail one is looking at one of the rocky summits along the summit ridge.
Squaw Mountain lies within the Arapaho National Forest. There are no permits or fees necessary. There does appear to be some private land along the Squaw Pass Road so please respect the landowners privacy and stay on the trails and/or unimproved roads near the highway.
For those of you who like to hike with your dog, like I do, dogs must be on a hand held leash no longer than six feet at all times. In Colorado dogs who chase either livestock or wildlife can be shot. And please don't let your dog defecate on the trail and leave it there - pick up after your pet.
During deer and elk hunting season, generally late October to mid November, it is advisable to hike with some hunter orange on.
There are no developed campgrounds nearby, however camping is allowed anywhere within the Arapaho National Forest with the following restrictions, no camping within 100 feet of all lakes, streams and developed trails.