Threemile Creek to Northeast Slopes

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day
Class 1 on-trail with a brief Class 2 off-trail ascent

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Threemile Creek to Northeast Slopes
Created On: Mar 25, 2009
Last Edited On: Mar 25, 2009


Roundtrip mileage:6.75 miles
Cumulative elevation gain:2,200 feet

This pleasant outing starts at 8,960 feet of elevation and rises upstream through the outcrop-highlighted Threemile Creek drainage. The trail crosses the creek several times on rustic log foot bridges and brings the hiker to a broad meadow at about 10,500 feet. From there, the hiker navigates up the northeast slope of Spearhead Mountain toward the peaceful, timbered summit.

Speahead MountainSpeahead Mountain shines in the morning sun from the Threemile Creek Trail
21 Mar 2009

Getting There

Via Hwy 285 west of Denver
This driving route will be your only option in snow season as the full length of Guanella Pass Road is not plowed in the winter.
From CO-470, follow Hwy 285 south for 39.5 miles to Grant
Turn right at Grant onto Guanella Pass Road (Park County 62)
Follow Guanella Pass Road for about three miles to Threemile Trailhead.
Parking is a small dirt turnout on your right (east).

Via I-70 west of Denver
This driving route will not be an option in snow season as the full length of Guanella Pass Road is not plowed in the winter.
Follow I-70 west to Exit 228 in Georgetown.
Follow the signs from the Gateway Visitors Center. (The route through Georgetown is a bit convoluted; you may need to ask for directions if you are unfamiliar with the area.)
Follow Guanella Pass Road for nineteen miles to Threemile Trailhead.
Parking is a small dirt turnout on your left (east).
Spearhead Mountain Summit RegisterSpearhead Mountain Summit Register
21 Mar 2009

Route Description

Summit of Spearhead MountainSummit of Spearhead Mountain
21 Mar 2009
South slopes of Kataka MountainSouth slopes of Kataka Mountain
21 Mar 2009

  • Leaving the parking area at 8,960 feet of elevation, follow the Threemile Creek Trail first north along a ledge to the Wilderness boundary.

  • The Threemile Creek Trail heads north-northeast through a narrow valley for approximately two miles.

  • At approximately mile two, the Threemile Creek Trail turns almost due-east as Kataka Mountain begins to loom to the hiker’s north.

  • After about another mile of on-trail travel, the hiker will reach a broad meadow near the junction of the northern and southern upper drainages that converge to form Threemile Creek.

  • Leave the trail, entering the trees, and begin ascending more steeply up a barely discernable ridgelet, the northeast slope of Spearhead Mountain.

  • Upon leveling out on the summit plateau of Spearhead Mountain, several rock outcroppings provide different vantage points for enjoying the surrounding peaks.

  • The actual summit of Spearhead Mountain is the furthest outcrop to the west. It is dotted with a lone pine and a summit register placed in 1976 by the Brown Bear Mountaineering Club.

Threemile Creek to Northeast SlopesClick on map image to enlarge

Essential Gear

  • Trail map (either the Mount Evans USGS quad or Trails Illustrated Map #104 (Idaho Springs / Georgetown / Loveland Pass)

  • Compass

  • Colorado Atlas and Gazetteer (or similar atlas for finding the trailhead)

  • Trekking pole(s)

  • Sturdy hiking boots with grippy soles and stiff ankle support

  • Snowshoes or skis are a must in the winter for adequate flotation on the upper reaches of the route

  • YakTrax, Stabilicers, instep crampons or similar traction devices will be very useful on the packed, icy lower reaches

  • Water and snacks

  • A camera to save memories of the high country views

  • First aid kit

  • Other standard backcountry essentials

Snowshoeing along the northeast slopeSnowshoeing along the northeast slope
21 Mar 2009