Carpenter Peak (7,166′) | Roxborough State Park
Littleton, CO | 01/07/20| 8.59 miles | 1,475′ gain
I had to run to Littleton to pick up my camera from the shop, so that was as good an excuse as any to schedule a hike with my friend Diana who lives in the area. We used my brand new Annual State Park Pass to head to Roxborough State Park and up the most popular trail to Carpenter Peak.
We followed signs for Carpenter Peak all the way to the summit, about 3 miles from the main parking area. We wound through red rock formations, open meadows, and scrub as we slowly climbed.
The heavily used trails which were once covered by snow were now a compacted layer of ice that may or may not ever melt. Our micro-spikes were key here to prevent slipping and sliding. We could walk almost normally even down the most slippery sections.
We passed few people as it was a Tuesday and we lucked out and had the summit to ourselves. There’s a bit of a scramble involved if you want to stand on the tallest rock on Carpenter Peak, but it was pretty simple.
We decided to make this a loop hike and go down a different way than we’d come up. We followed the Powerline and Elk Valley Trails as they wrapped around the west and then south sides of Carpenter Peak, eventually reconnecting with the main Carpenter Peak Trail. This back side of the park doesn’t see nearly as much traffic, and the trails were more snow than ice. It’s always fun to see something new instead of heading back the exact same way, and the deep forests on the west side of Carpenter Peak were definitely different than the open scrub of the east side.
The Powerline Trail undulated more than we were expecting. The park’s map made it look like it should descend the entire way (or maybe we just saw what we wanted to), but we eventually worked our way out of the forest and back to the open east side of the park.
Along the short Elk Valley Trail, we saw a herd of mule deer in an open meadow. We hoped that we’d see elk while in Elk Valley, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Once we were back on familiar trails, we traveled quickly, passing more and more people now that it was later in the day. I’m really glad that I was able to get the Annual State Park Pass this year (my first time!) and I can’t wait to see how many of Colorado’s 41 state parks I’ll be able to visit!