Taylor Peak resides at the head of Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park. It sits on the continental divide between Powell Peak to the south and Hallet Peak to the north. Taylor Peak's western slopes are gentle expanses of tundra sprinkled with small boulders. Its eastern face drops away dramatically to Loch Vale far below. The Thatchtop Mountain ridge and The Sharkstooth's ridge spread away from Taylor Peak to form a steep cirque wall that envelops Loch Vale. Although not a distinctive mountain by itself, its summit offers spectacular views in all directions. The view of The Sharkstooth and the view of the summits that ring the south end of Glacier Gorge are particularly impressive.
One of the easiest routes involves hiking up past The Loch and over Andrews Glacier to Andrews Pass. From there it's a relatively easy stroll up a boulder-strewn tundra slope to the summit. There are more technical and challenging routes at the head of Loch Vale including Taylor Glacier. Roach calls Taylor Glacier a "Class 3, Steep Snow / Ice Classic" climb. It is 1200 feet of vertical climbing, starting out gentle but continually steepening to 60 degrees near the top. A summit cornice often blocks the way out, and Roach says that because of this Taylor Glacier is sometimes called the "moderate my ass glacier".
|Orange - Approach from Glacier Gorge Trailhead (approximately 2.4 miles from the trailhead to The Loch)|
|Blue - Andrews Glacier Route (approximately 2.6 miles from The Loch to the summit)|
|Red - Taylor Glacier Route (approximately 2.9 miles from The Loch to the summit)|
Most climbers will start at the Glacier Gorge Trailhead.
- Dogs, must be under physical control at all times. Dogs are not allowed on trails or in areas not accessible by automobile.
- Vehicles must remain on roads or in parking areas. Parking any vehicle or leaving property unattended for longer than 24 hours without prior permission is prohibited.
- Hitchhiking or soliciting transportation is prohibited.
- All wildlife Is protected from hunting or harassment. Please do not feed or attempt to touch any wild animals others.
- Do not pick wildflowers or damage plants. Regulations prohibit the destruction, injury, disturbance, or removal of public property or natural features, including plants, animals, and rocks.
When To Climb/Mountain Conditions
Taylor Peak can be climbed year round (with a set of snowshoes in winter). For the most current/accurate weather conditions I suggest contacting the rangers at RMNP.
- Camping within the boundaries of Rocky Mountain National Park Is permitted only in designated campsites with a permit. This would be considered backcountry camping. These campsites vary in popularity so calling to find out availability is recommended. For example, the one spot to camp up in Glacier Gorge is booked for every day of the summer on the first day they allow reservations. In contrast, there are a few spots in Wild Basin that you can get maybe a few days out. The cost is $15.00. Here are a few good links showing the designated campsites within The Park. Designated campsites #1 and Desinated campsites #2. You can get a backcountry bivy permit if you are doing technical climbing.
- Campgrounds in the area include Aspenglen, Timber Creek and Longs Peak and are on a first-come, first-served basis and cost $16 per night. In summer you will find that campgrounds usually fill to capacity early each day. Moraine Park (247 sites) and Glacier Basin (150 sites) require reservations and cost $16. Moraine Park, Timber Creek and Longs Peak campgrounds are open year-round; Glacier Basin closes Sept. 7. Campground fees drop to $10 after water is turned off in mid to late September. Aspenglen is open until Sept. 20 and offers 54 sites with drinking water, tables, fire rings and toilets. Longs Peak campground, the main access point for climbing 14,255-foot Longs Peak, is four miles north of Wild Basin on Colorado Highway 7 and offers 26 tent-only sites with drinking water, tables, fire rings and toilets. There is a 3-night limit here. There are no electrical, water, or sewer connections in any of the campgrounds. Sewer dump stations are at Moraine Park, Glacier Basin, and Timber Creek campgrounds.
The rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park are super-friendly and are happy to answer all your questions. Here is the contact information I pulled off of their website (www.nps.gov/romo).
*e-mail messages will be responded to in the order received and usually within 24 hours of receipt.
Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517-8397
Visitor Information Recorded Message
Visitor Information (TDD)
Thanks to Kane from whom I "borrowed" most of the getting there, red tape, and camping sections and Nelson Chenkin for inviting me to climb Taylor Peak with him and helping me with this page.