Colorado Mines Peak (12,493′) | Colorado | 05/30/20

Colorado Mines Peak (12,493′) | Arapaho National Forest

Empire, CO | 05/30/20 | 4.38 miles | 1,181′ gain

I’ve attempted Colorado Mines Peak more times than I’d care to admit. Somehow I always end up going when there’s feet of snow and for some reason, I never bring my snowshoes. (Not my proudest of moments.) I roped my friend Tori into coming with for a quick workout, and in a brief moment of intelligence, we decided to bring snowshoes.

Bob navigating the snowplow pile.

We arrived early at Berthoud Pass and assessed the snow situation. Everything above treeline looked dry and the trail below treeline looked well compacted. We decided to leave the snowshoes in the car.

Colorado Mines Peak from the parking lot.

The trail up Colorado Mines Peak is actually an access road for the radio towers at its summit. It’s super easy to follow and not terribly steep. This area is popular with both skiers and snowshoers, and they’d left us a lovely compacted track to follow. As long as we didn’t step off this track, we would stay on top of the snow.

We climbed steadily and reached treeline after a few switchbacks. This is about the halfway point. The snow almost totally disappeared once out of the forest, and we enjoyed the ease of walking on a dry road.

A regal Engelmann Peak (13,362′) above the trees.

The summit came quickly and we marvelled at the views afforded us, even though we were on a “low” peak. Many people complain about the radio towers (and I get it, they’re ugly and man-made) but I found them easy to tune out when I was surrounded by this.

Next door Mount Flora (13,146′)
The Indian Peaks to the north
Hwy 40, Berthoud Pass, and the lower peaks to the west
Mount Evans (14,264′) & Mount Bierstadt (14,060′) in the distance
Me & Bob
Zoom of Mount Evans & Mount Bierstadt
The radio towers. There are a few more structures outside of this picture.
The happiest of Bobs (and a section of dry trail). Engelmann Peak behind.

The snow had softened a bit by the time we made our way down. We postholed a bit more than earlier, but still not too bad. Tori got the worst of it. Still not bad enough for snowshoes, but regardless, I was just happy to finally summit!

Oops, hehe!


14 thoughts on “Colorado Mines Peak (12,493′) | Colorado | 05/30/20

  1. Hi Chelsea,
    Seems like we’re on the same quest to get out there and explore. I’m over on the west slope and haven’t been over to the front range environs in over 10 years. Your regular blog posts have me highly motivated to continue on a similar path. Good on you for “getting out there.” I hope someday our paths (and those of our respective 4 footed friends) cross.


  2. Good for you, Chelsea. We have driven Berthoud Pass mainly in the winter to get to Snow Mountain Ranch, and I don’t think I would be tempted to get to the top of the mountain at that time of year. But I would love to do it in the summer for all the lovely views your photos capture so well.


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