Little Puma in the foreground with Puma Peak in the background, from the summit of Farnum Peak
The second highest peak in the Puma Hills, "Little Puma Peak" rises to 11,449 feet. "Little Puma" may not be the mightiest or the loftiest, but the bushwack from the Puma-Little Puma saddle to the "Little Puma" summit will test the hiker. Downed trees under foot and thick forest enveloping the hiker make navigating to this summit quite a departure from an outing on boot-worn trails. After a hike through trail-less timber, the views from the top may be better than expected.
The Puma Hills are low, wooded mountains between the geological feature known as South Park and Tarryall Creek. Puma Peak is in the north Puma Hills, which run north from Wilkerson Pass. The area provides habitat for mountain lions (aka puma), pronghorn antelope, black bears, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and elk. The nearby Tarryall Creek valley boasts a rich history including that etched by German immigrant farmers.
1,581st highest mountain in Colorado
268th highest 11er in Colorado
Rank and Prominence Information: Lists of John
Views from Packer Gulch trailhead
From Colorado Springs
: Hwy 24 West to Lake George. Just past lake George, turn right (northwest) on Park County 77 (Tarryall Road). Use caution with the minefields of potholes. Between dusk and dawn, deer and elk are incredibly numerous - watch your speed! Just before the Tarryall Reservoir, turn left on Park County 23 (Turner Gulch Road). Follow Park County 23 1.6 miles and turn left onto FS 144. Take FS (Forest Service Road) 144 4.5 miles to the junction with FS 237. Bear left/east at this junction and continue until a parking area where the road makes a sharp right, crosses a stream (Pack Creek) and heads into deep woods. There is no sign for this trailhead. Parking is ample with respect to the small volume of fellow trail users.
: Take Hwy 285 to the town of Jefferson and turn left on Park County 77 to the Tarryall Reservoir. (Keep an eye out for free range cattle.) Just southeast of the reservoir turn right on Park County 23 (Turner Gulch Road). Follow Park County 23 1.6 miles and turn left onto FS 144. Take FS (Forest Service Road) 144 4.5 miles to the junction with FS 237. Bear left/east at this junction and continue until a parking area where the road makes a sharp right, crosses a stream (Pack Creek) and heads into deep woods. There is no sign for this trailhead. Parking is ample with respect to the small volume of fellow trail users.
For Park County 23 and FS 144, high clearance is a must but 4x4 is a nice-to-have unless the roads are wet
. If the roads are wet, do not proceed without 4-wheel drive.
Standard Route Information
Camping & Lodging
Views from the summit of Little Puma
Plenty of camping can be found along Park County 77 and spur roads off of it.
Near Packer Gulch Trailhead
Plenty of rustic 4x4 camping can be found along FS 144 and spur roads off of it. Be advised that this camping will most likely be "dry camping"; bring plenty of water.
South end of Hwy 77
The south end of Hwy 77 (Tarryall Road), near Hwy 24, provides several established U.S. Forest Service camping areas. South Park Ranger District Lake George Area Campgrounds include: Riverside, Spillway, Happy Meadows, Round Mountain, Spruce Grove, and Twin Eagles. PLEASE CONTACT THE DISTRICT OFFICE AT (719) 836-2031 IF YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CAMPGROUNDS ON THE SOUTH PARK RANGER DISTRICT.
North end of Hwy 77
The north end of Park County 77 and dirt spur roads are abound with off-road campsites. Several campsites off Rt 39 provide views of Mt. Silverheels, Buffalo Peaks and other 13ers and 12ers that will bring tears to your eyes. With these 4x4 campsites, remember to bring plenty of water, bury human waste and pack out what you packed in.
Cabins, Lodges and Hotels
Numerous cabins can be rented in and around Lake George. There are also a few cabins/lodges along the Tarryall Creek catering especially to the fly fishing visitor. For example: Ute River Ranch
. There are a few hotels in Fairplay.
Red Tape, Restrictions, etc.
Bikes, horses and dogs, dirtbikes, quad-runners...it's all welcome on the logging road. Virtually no usage restrictions exist. Only on-foot travelers leave the old logging road and visit the summit. Follow LNT (Leave No Trace
) principals and be courteous of other recreationalists. Note that while the people visiting this area are a little less "REI" and a little more "Hook 'n Bullet", the summits are primarily wild and trail-less and provide for amazing solitude.
Weather & Seasons
|"Little Puma" is primarily accessible from late Spring through Fall. Winter access is limited when snow makes the Forest Service approach roads impassible. During shoulder season, it is recommended the hiking party place a call to the South Park Ranger District to inquiry about road conditions prior to setting out. Additionally, due to the off-trail nature of this hike and the ample dead-fall, snow-shoeing or skiing to the summit of “Little Puma” would not be particularly pleasant.|
External LinksPike & San Isabel National Forests
Pike National Forest Recreation Map