Hiked YMCA Mountain and traversed the south rim of the Royal Gorge to Baldy Mountain. Amazing weather for January. Several inches of snow on northern slopes, but otherwise dry. The views of the canyon are spectacular. There are also many breathtaking views of Pikes Peak, the Wet Mountains, the top of Sangres, Grape Creek, and the Arkansas River.
Access is off the beaten path. Take Hwy 50 10.5 mi west of Canon City to Copper Gulch Road; 2.5 mi south on Copper Gulch Road to CR3A; 1.1 mi west on CR3A to CR341A; 2 mi to BLM marker 6100; if 6100 is open, 2.7 mi to 6100C; stay on 6100C to dead end.
The instructions on here were quite good, as was the topo map. My only suggestion is to follow the road as far north as you can, take the road east and then when you reach the last open camping area you must turn right and walk south. There is a faint road that turns east and I constructed a cairn where the trail leads northeast and downhill from the end of the road. The entire trail from this point is marked by pink and orange ribbons along the ridge leading to YMCA Mountain and the trail is pretty obvious once you get out of the trees. If you go too far along the road, it turns north toward the gorge, gets rougher, and dead ends. You have a nice view of YMCA Mountain from this point, but it is quite obvious that you are on the wrong ridge to make the summit, so backtrack to the open area.
As far as parking, I was able to take my 2WD slightly up the 4WD road and there is a grassy area on the left side of the road that I parked on. It is wide enough to turn your car around and beyond that the road gets quite rough! Parking on the main road is tough since it is narrow and flanked by brush on both sides.
There are a lot of cacti along the trail and I would highly recommend wearing thick boots to avoid being stabbed. Tennis shoes would likely not fare well in this environment. The trails are covered in prickly pear, cholla, and another species that forms dome shaped clumps.
With South Twin Mountain, Gribble Mountain, Eightmile Mountain, North Twin Mountain, Cactus Mountain, Fremont Peak & 6810.
Pretty insane to do 11+ miles for two Sixers, but the crappy weather drove us down-country and the locked gates meant we either hiked a long way or chose another objective. It snowed pretty heavily all day, my co-pilot underestimated the strength of 100-proof Rumple Minze, and visibility remained very limited, but we had a blast - we spent so much time laughing we didn't even realize how long the hike turned out to be. Hiked out by in the dark, tired but happy.