Greyrock Mountain Loop | Roosevelt National Forest
Laporte, CO | 02/06/21 | 8.20 miles | 2,429′ gain
I’ve climbed Greyrock Mountain a couple times now, but somehow always from the same old out-and-back trail. It seemed I always needed to take the shortest route and so I skipped the longer Greyrock Meadows Trail. But when Diana agreed to do the longer loop with me, you better believe I jumped at the chance to get my butt up Greyrock for a third time. (You can read Diana’s awesome trip report here.) The Meadows Trail is longer, has more elevation gain, and isn’t very well maintained, but the fewer people and much better views make up for any extra effort required.
We began by crossing the Poudre River on a nice bridge and then following the trail west along a small stream. After about 0.7 miles, we reached an intersection. We decided to take the Meadows Trail first, which ended up being a great choice.
The Meadows Trail continues along the stream, eventually climbing up and out of the forest as it switchbacks up the south side of Point 7180. Once we crested the first ridge, the views started and didn’t stop.
The trail doesn’t go to the true summit of Point 7180 (and we didn’t care to make the detour) but it did skirt around the broad summit area before descending into Greyrock Meadow. Up top, we caught our first glimpse of Greyrock Mountain. We still had a long way to go, but the view from up there was incredible.
We then descended the 300′ into Greyrock Meadow through a landscape strewn with dead trees and boulders.
These views of Greyrock were the best I’d ever seen. Better than the views from the main trail, better even than the views from the summit. It is far worth the additional mileage and elevation gain to take the Meadows Trail, and I would recommend doing the loop clockwise like we did to get the full effect. Once through the meadow, we crossed a small stream and climbed up another 300′ to the main Greyrock Trail. We followed the main trail all the way to Greyrock’s summit, about 900′ above the meadow.
The trail to the summit wraps around the northeast side of Greyrock and sharply cuts back southwest, forming a sort of fishhook shape. This is the only way to summit without pretty extensive rock climbing experience, though the trail itself isn’t exactly a walk in the park. The steep trail can sometimes be difficult to follow and there are a number of sections that require minor scrambling. The summit plateau is long and relatively flat, with plenty of secluded spots for a snack break. If you are intending to truly “summit” Greyrock, the true summit is on the southwest edge of the summit plateau and is marked by a rocky hump, which does require some scrambling.
Otis is getting old and had some difficulty with the scrambling, but Diana and I found it to be manageable with some careful route selection. (Extra careful to find the easiest way for Otis.)
We each took turns standing on the highest point before retracing our steps back down the Greyrock Trail. Once back at the intersection with the Meadows Trail, we took the shorter Greyrock Trail back to the car. This trail follows a gulch through an old burn area, and offers little for views. We made quick time since it was “all downhill from there” as they say, and we soon found ourselves back at the car with another great hike under our belts.