Static Peak, along with Nokhu Crags, forms an impressive cirque wall around the breathtaking Snow Lake and American Lakes (called Michigan Lakes on some older maps) in the Colorado State Forest. The summit of Static Peak rises from the intersection of the north-south ridge that connects Nokhu Crags with Mount Richthofen and Static Peak’s east ridge that separates Box Canyon on the south from the American Lakes basin on the north. This east ridge also forms the border between Rocky Mountain National Park to the south and Colorado State Forest to the north. Both Static Peak’s east and north ridges are challenging and exposed. Gerry Roach calls the East Ridge “serious Class-3 scrambling along a very exposed knife edge.” Roach says that the north ridge consists of much Class-4 scrambling with some short sections of 5.0-5.2 climbing. Static Peak’s southern ridge provides an easier, class-2 walk-up.
It’s worth noting that the American Lakes basin is spectacularly beautiful. Besides the formidable Static Peak and Nokhu Crags towering above, the area is home to a multitude of wild flowers; lush, green meadows; and lakes that are chock-full of trout.
East Ridge - From Snow Lake this is a straight forward ascent of the ridge. The ridge is class-3, very exposed, and committing.
North Ridge - From Snow Lake ascend the saddle between Static Peak and Nokhu Crags. The rock on the face is rotten, but with careful route finding skills this should not exceed Class-4. From the saddle turn south and head for the summit staying on the west side of the ridge. There are a few short sections of 5.0-5.2 climbing. Paraphrased from Gerry Roach's RMNP guide.
South Ridge - Start from Agnes Lake and ascend Mount Richthofen. From there it’s an easy Class-1/2 stroll down Richthofen across the saddle and up Static Peak.
Agnes Lake - From Interstate 25, take the Fort Collins exit for Highway 14, also denoted as a Colorado Scenic Byway. Proceed west on 14 through town, following the signs, which is not complicated. At "Ted's Place," is the junction with Highway 287. Measure from this point, although the signage along the highway is very clear. It is 62 miles to the turn off for Lake Agnes and American Lakes. This turn off is 2 miles west from the top of Cameron Pass. This left turn is well marked. Once you've dropped into the valley, you'll need to stop at a fee station. See the RED TAPE section. Proceed up the road, staying right. The road is steep and a little rough in places but most vehicles can make this road in dry conditions. There are restroom facilities at the trailhead.
American Lakes Trailhead - From Fort Collins go north on Highway 287 to “Ted’s Place” and turn west onto Highway 14. Follow Highway 14 for 62 miles over the top of Cameron Pass. Turn left off Highway 14 at the sign for Lake Agnes and American Lakes. This turn off is 2 miles west from the top of Cameron Pass. This left turn is well marked. Once you've dropped into the valley, you'll need to stop at a fee station. See the RED TAPE section. Proceed up the road, staying left. In less than a mile you’ll run into a gate and the parking area at the trailhead.
Most climbers will approach through Colorado State Forest. Day use fees for Colorado State Forest are $5.00 per vehicle. Alternatively you could park at the top of Cameron Pass and hike in from there. There is a $2 day fee for foot-travelers. Snow Lake and American Lakes are good fishing but there is a two-trout limit. Back Country camping is allowed anywhere in the American Lakes basin but please use leave-no-trace wilderness ethics.
For more information concerning Colorado's State Forest and other state parks visit their website: Colorado State Forest
RMNP has many regulations if you plan to camp in the park or access Static Peak from a trailhead inside the park.
When To Climb/Mountain Conditions
To avoid large amounts of snow, Static Peak is best climbed July through October. The area is also a popular destination for wintertime snowshoeing and backcountry skiing.
For up-to-date mountain conditions try contacting Colorado State Forest. The following weather forecast gives info for the town of Gould, Colorado which sits in North Park on the west side of Cameron Pass.
Car camping is available at Crags Campground in Colorado State Forest at the foot Nokhu Crags on the north side.
Camping in the backcountry is allowed at long as campsites are 200' from any significant body of water (fires are not allowed in the backcountry). There are many great campsites in the American Lakes basin. However, this area is very popular so expect to share it with many other campers. When I was there on July 26th I shared the area with at least four other groups of campers.
Camping in RMNP is allowed in designated campsites only and requires a permit.