Storm Mountain (9,918′) | Colorado | 03/01/19


Storm Mountain (9,918′) | FS 128 Winter Closure | Roosevelt National Forest

Drake, CO | 03/01/19 | 5.27 miles | 1,382′ gain | Hard Class 2


There are storms coming in this weekend. Big storms. Some areas of the mountains are expecting FEET of snow. In Greeley, where I live, we might get 6 inches or so. But after each storm, it takes time for the mountain roads to be plowed, if they are even plowed at all. Basically, if the mountains are stormy and snowy, I can’t get there for a while. So I had to sneak in a quick hike today before the storms come in, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to get to the mountains this weekend at all, and that’s just unacceptable! And what better way to taunt the storms than by climbing Storm Mountain? That has to be good luck or something, right?

Storm Mountain has been on my radar for a while. I couldn’t find much about it online, but I knew that a 4×4 road went all the way to the top, so at least it’d be extremely easy route finding. I’d been waiting for the snow to melt some to do this one, since the “trailhead”, which is actually just the winter road closure, is about 6 miles up a winding mountain road. It’s been pretty nice lately and I figured now was as good a time as any to give it a try. I did have a backup hike planned just in case.

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Winter road closure. I was the only one on the mountain today!

I turned off the main road onto Storm Mountain Road and slowly drove through tight turns and steep switchbacks, up through the Bobcat Gulch burn area and a mountain neighborhood with gorgeous log homes. As I drove higher, the views were incredible. Forest fires are often considered bad, especially when caused by humans like the Bobcat Gulch fire was, but they sure do a great job of opening things up for some amazing views! The top of the road became snowy and icy, the opposite of the nicely plowed bottom portion. After 6 miles, I finally (and safely) reached the gate closure and hoped that I’d be able to drive out of my icy parking spot when I left.

The hike itself follows the 4×4 road all the way to the top of Storm Mountain. The terrain started out nearly flat, but after about half a mile became very steep.

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The beginning of the 4×4 road.
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First view of Storm Mountain through a grove of aspen.
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I spent much of the morning watching storm clouds roll by, and giggling about how there were storms on Storm Mountain.
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Lady modeling the start of the steep portion of the hike.

The hike was mostly forested, but occasional breaks in the trees hinted that there were views to be had.

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Distant stormy peaks through aspen.
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I imagine these views are even more amazing when the sky is clear.

Steep sections of trail were broken up by flat or downhill sections. The trail was never too hard for too long. About 1.75 miles in, there was an intersection in the 4×4 road at the base of a meadow. I took a right to head to the summit of Storm Mountain. A left would continue along the 4×4 road. As I continued through the meadow, I constantly stopped to turn and look at the GORGEOUS views this open space had to offer.

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Meadow intersection. Storm Mountain is off the road to the right (center of photo). The main 4×4 road continues left, out of the picture.
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Stormy meadow views.
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Lady was great at posing for photos today.
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I was glad that I had blue skies and could watch the storm clouds from afar.
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The road continued up through the meadow and eventually plunged back into the forest.

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Lady stopped to pose for a photo on a boulder.
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The road began to get more rugged.

The road became much more rugged after climbing up out of the meadow, with large roots and boulders in some spots. There was even a downed tree across one part. As I neared the summit, the snow became much deeper, up to a foot deep in some spots. I was only wearing trail runners, so my feet got a little snowy.

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A downed tree on the trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Almost to the summit!

The summit had a stack of boulders that I quickly scrambled up despite the snow and Lady continually running into me. It was actually a pretty easy scramble.

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Summit boulders.
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Summit views.
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A cool tree on the summit.

The summit was forested and I found views to be better along th 4×4 road than at the summit itself. But still a worthy destination and a fun morning!

The wind had picked up so we didn’t stay at the summit long, and quickly headed down. The warm temperatures had caused much of the snow on the road to melt, leaving slippery mud. We traipsed from snow patch to snow patch, trying to avoid as much of the mud as possible. The steeper parts were icy, so I picked my footing as carefully as possible but still slipped and fell pretty hard. I was hoping I’d slide all the way back to the car but I just got bruised instead.

Once we were back to the flat section, we booked it back to the car and headed out to grab some lunch. A great day out before the storms!

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Parting views.

 


Chelsea

 


 

7 thoughts on “Storm Mountain (9,918′) | Colorado | 03/01/19

  1. When I lived in Aspen many years ago, I was unable to hike everywhere I wanted to. Now, I am planning a few months of hikes around the four corners and beyond. Can’t wait, your post made me very jealous of you being so close to those awesome scenes. Always be safe, let people know where you are, that looked like an accident waiting to happen, at least for an old fart like me.

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    1. I’m so excited for you that you’ll get to come back and do a ton of hiking! It sounds like a blast. I do always tell my husband where I’m going just in case 🙂 but thank you for your concern!

      Like

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