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.
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.
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.
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.
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!