The orange line represents the route to Stone Mountain, the green line is the remainder of the Round Mountain trail that leads to the summit of Sheep Mountain.
Stone Mountain sits at the end of a ridge extending east from the summit of Round (Sheep) Mountain and Point 7709. The small peak has only 195’ of prominence from its saddle with Point 7709, but viewed from the east Stone Mountain looks much more substantial. Stone Mountain is the only point on the ridge to break above the trees and offers unobstructed views in all directions from the rocky summit. Often overlooked because of its proximity to popular Round Mountain, Stone Mountain offers some seclusion from the crowded trail and offers all of the views that Round Mountain doesn’t. A very faint trail well marked with cairns leads from the Round Mountain trail approximately .7 miles to the summit of Stone Mountain.
1915’ elevation gain 4.1mi one way 2 hours up, 1.5 down
Round Mountain TH:
13T 0475850mE 4474310mN
Meadow-start of cairn route:
13T 0474817mE 4472741mN
Stone Mountain Summit:
13T 0475750mE 4472259mN
From Loveland, drive west on US 34 through The Narrows in the Big Thompson Canyon to the Round Mountain trailhead across from Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park, about 5 miles below Drake. The parking area is large so parking should not be an issue even though the trailhead is popular.
Hike up the Round Mountain National Recreation Trail (Summit trail, FST 831) and take a left at the intersection with the nature trail. This trail leads you up a steep hill with one massive switchback into Roosevelt National Forest. Each mile is marked with a sign as the trail winds its way through the sparse Ponderosa pines and interesting granite boulders. Glimpses of the rocky summit of Stone Mountain and Point 7709’ can be found looking south from the trail. Just before the 3rd mile marker the trail crosses a seasonal spring that feeds a riparian area, the only source of water on the dry trail. The saddle between Round Mountain and point 7709’ is fairly obvious; the trail makes a sweeping curve from southwards to westwards in a small open meadow, shown in the picture below.
This is a panorama to show the meadow with the sweeping curve, at the elbow of the trail you will see a cairn path leading to the east. The cairn trail cannot be seen in this picture as it was behind me when I took the pictures. Stone Mountain summit The cairn route
If you look carefully right at the elbow of the curve, you should notice a flattened grass path leading east and perhaps a few cairns in the distance. Follow this primitive trail carefully; the cairns should lead you around Point 7709’ without gaining much elevation instead of over the point. Eventually, you will reach the saddle between Point 7709’ and Stone Mountain, where the cairn path begins to peter out as it ascends Stone Mountain, but the route is obvious as it leads to a large pile of boulders that comprises the summit. Scramble over the boulders (Class 2+) to the windswept summit and find the highest point near a gnarled pine tree. Views range from the Mummy Range and Round Mountain to the west, Palisade, Spruce, Horsetooth and Milner mountains to the north, Alexander Mountain and the plains to the east, Bald and Blue Mountains with Pinewood Reservoir, the Indian Peaks and Longs Peak to the south.
GE route, meadow in lower left, routes same as in topo above
As far as formal restrictions, there are few, just steer clear of private property in Grouse Hollow. Also note that the boulders on Round Mountain’s east face where the trail leads is great habitat for mountain lions, the scrubby undergrowth harbors ticks and rattlesnakes live in and around the rocks along the cairn trail.
External LinksRoosevelt and Arapahoe NF information
Lists of John Profile with TR
Views along the way
Palisade Mountain Mount Meeker and Longs Peak The Mummy Range