Ascending the northern slopes
UN 10650 forms a fine western backdrop for the Rosemont Reservoir, a popular hike-in fishing location west of Colorado Springs along Gold Camp Road. Gold Camp Road wraps around the northern slopes of UN 10650. While named neighbors Mount Big Chief and Knights Peak see their fare share of summit visits, this un-named little mountain is a pleasantly lonely summit.
Fairly typical for a Tenner in this region, the summit consists of blocks of Pikes Peak granite, studded with mid-sized trees. Views from the top are mostly tree-shrouded, but the diligent view seeker can find nice vistas of Mount Big Chief’s southern slopes as well as the grand Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the western horizon. Note that, per Lists of John, some contend a point to the west may equal or exceed the location where the summit register is located, at the USGS spot elevation of 10,650 feet.
highest peak in Colorado
Mount Big Chief
Planning / Area Map:
Trails Illustrated #137 Pikes Peak and Cañon City
Rank & Prominence: Lists of John
Getting There & Route Information
This area map, by SP member Jeremy Hakes, indicates route options up UN 10650 (as well as Rain Benchmark and UN 10165)
UN 10650 sits at a big north bend of Gold Camp Road, just west of the Rosemont Reservoir. From the road, it is essentially a game of "pick a parking spot and hike uphill toward the summit." The route indicated on the map at left is 1 mile round trip with approximately 750 feet of elevation gain.
A note on travel on Old Stage Road & Gold Camp Road
These roads comprise a wash-boarded dirt thoroughfare running between western Colorado Springs and the mining & gambling town of Cripple Creek. All sorts of vehicles will be seen on this road, including low-clearance sedans and street motorcycles, though neither of these is recommended. In dry conditions, high clearance will suffice. In snow or mud, 4x4 is required. This area is served by Randy’s High Country Towing
, regionally famous for extracting the vehicles of folks who got in over their heads on Pikes Peak area back-roads.Be forewarned that Old Stage Road & Gold Camp Roads are bedeviled by irresponsible, speeding, out of control drivers. Combine this behavior with narrow, wash-boarded dirt roads and deep - and your worst objective hazard of the day becomes other drivers and their vehicles. Drive defensively on this road!
Shrouded Summit |There is very little red tape in this part of the Pike National Forest. In fact, some sectors of this area can feel downright lawless Wild West at times.|
• Do not litter and dispose properly of human waste.
• Shoot only in designated target ranges and point your firearm away from other recreationalists.
• Expect and respect other recreationalists.
• Many others do NOT practice Leave No Trace principals when visiting this area. Please do your best to set a good LNT example.
UN 10650 Summit Jar
Camping & Lodging
Descending the northern slopes Views of the Sangre de Cristos
Rustic car camping and backcountry camping can be throughout the surrounding Pike National Forest. Be forewarned that the proximity of this area to the urban I-25 corridor means that crowding can be an issue, especially in the summer, and that unsavory characters are known to frequent this area. Be prepared for heavy ATV use, large crowds, drunkenness and casual firearms usage.
While the Old Stage/Gold Camp area provides for all of the rustic camping you could hope for, I honestly suggest not spending the night in the area for the sake of peace and quiet, and even for your safety. Old Stage Road/Gold Camp Road serves as a conduit for the urban masses to explore Pike National Forest. While this sounds like a good idea, the reality is messy (garbage, spent shells, beer bottles, auto parts and busted clay pigeons) and sometimes grim. I am ashamed to even print this, but this area (Old Stage / Gold Camp Road) has the reputation as the “body dump” of Colorado Springs.
Do yourself a favor and stay in town, visiting UN 10650 as a day excursion.
Sangre de Cristos
Hotels, Cabins & B&Bs
Old Colorado City
Nearby Old Colorado City has an assortment of lodging options, old and new, for all budgets. Restaurants, bakeries and shops are within strolling distance from many lodging facilities.
Manitou Springs lies at the foot of Ute Pass. This colorful, eclectic town offers a wide range of lodging options including old-style motor cottages and cabins, retro family-run motels, charming B&Bs and modern chain hotels. Shopping and dining are within walking distance of most Manitou lodging. Visit the a href=http://www.manitousprings.org/Default.aspx >Manitou Springs Visitors Website for more information on lodging in the area.
The hotel options in Colorado Springs are virtually limitless. If you are the 5-star luxury type, be sure to check out The Broadmoor, which is extremely convenient to the eastern terminus of Old Stage Road.
Lower Slopes of Mount Big Chief
Weather & Seasons
|Nice powder (for snowshoeing or step-kicking) can be found on the northern slope of UN 10650 in the winter months. Summer months bring heavy vehicle traffic to Old Stage Road/Gold Camp Road. Spring access to the summit would depend on the year’s snowpack; a heavy snowpack would mean deep drifts of soft, late-season snow lodged in the trees. Fall may well be the best season to attempt UN 10650, and the golden aspen glowing on the lower reaches of the mountain would be sure to delight.|