Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Flat Tops Wilderness Area, Colorado

Wall Lake

The hard way to Sand Peak

Ute trails

Elk herd

Elk herd

The rim past Flat Top

Colorado River Road

Hunns Peak
Orb on Sand Peak

  • I spent the summer of 2023 circumnavigating the area with a camp trailer. Late summer is best here when bogs and mosquitoes are few.  The roads  from Meeker to Trappers Lake don't have dispersed camping, but graded county 8 beyond the Trappers turnoff has a lot of spots on to Ripple Creek Pass and over Dunckley Pass. Both passes have a Verizon signal. Meeker is the only town that I couldn't get a Verizon signal but the town square has wifi. At mp 19.2 on county 8 there is a turnoff for Avery Lake and an electric well that dispenses good water at the push of a button. The road into Stillwater Reservoir has only fee camping starting at $5. Just the past the Gardner Park turnoff there is one of those cheap campgrounds on the left with a restroom. Posted 2023.
    1. FLAT TOP MOUNTAIN el 12354 is an easy one. The standard route is trail #1122 from the end of the road el 10250 at Stillwater Reservoir. It goes to the west saddle el 11200 then it's a tundra walk. 5 hours, 2200 gain, 9 miles, not steep. DOME MOUNTAIN el 12227-  a one way hike can be done by going over Flat Top and  along the rim then down to the Sunnyside Trail #1861. It's an easy tundra walk (and one of the greatest )to Dome Mtn. A 1911 marker is along the way at N40 00181, W107 04053.  Then comes a class 2 descent to the SE saddle. It's an easy side trip up to Dome Peak el 12172. From the saddle, I went down the drainage toward the trail but that's a bad route. I was lucky to find a descent route but it's bound to be way better to go east out of the saddle and down a tundra ridge running down the east side of Dome Peak. I could see it from the summit but the drainage looked OK too but it wasn't. I hit the trail at N39 59625, W107 02297 el 10800. The trail runs like the FS topo shows but I missed a fork at around el 10200 and had to cross a clearing to get back to the trail that leads to the Sunnyside TH. I had my folding bike stashed there and coasted down past Gardner Park to FR900. It took 7 hours to go the 11 miles from TH to TH then an hour to go 5 miles on the bike. The 200 feet up Dome Peak is the only noticeable gain once past Flat Top and it's optional. I could skip the bike shuttle and  hike the whole 16 miles in under 9 hours now that I know where I goofed.  The best road in to the Sunnyside TH is county 3 at mp 38.5 just south of Yampa. It turns to 4wd but easy late in the season when mudholes are dry. The same goes for FR910 that connects to FR900 by way of Gardner Park. That road is a little rougher. The FS topo shows all this.  Posted August, 2023.
    2. DERBY PEAK el 12186 - a counterclockwise loop can be done from Stillwater TH, not to be reversed. I walked the trail past Mosquito Lake to the plateau then south on trail #1803. I left it at N39 58927, W107 09965 and followed tundra to the long west ridge. I went to a game trail at 58292, 08208 that goes up to the right to tundra. I could soon switch back left on tundra then top out on the summit plateau. I went over the summit then to 58525, 07370 left of center where it was easy to walk down the ridge then north along the rim to a gap at 59522, 07656. I went thru then down a drainage to a lake. The best route (but I didn't try the center) is along the right side of the lake to the rim then some tall brush gets in the way. But there is only 50 feet or so of it to get to a clearing at 59760, 07589 where there is a game trail running down thru the cliff band. It turns south and levels off then splits. I stayed on the lower one and it soon goes straight down on soft dirt. At bottom I walked to a game trail at 59821, 07381 on the west side of Hooper Lake then crossed some bushes at 59867, 07304. Then I just took an easy angle up to hit trail #1860 to get back.  8 hours, about 2000 gain, not steep, 14 miles. The descent route is class 2 but snow will linger. Posted August, 2023.
    3. DEVILS CAUSEWAY el 11800 is the most popular hike I took. It's a narrow ridge that shrinks down to 4 feet wide. A good loop starts at the end of the road el 10250 at Stillwater Reservoir and follows trail #1120 past Mosquito Lake then up to the plateau and joins trail #1803. And that trail is accurately shown on the regular topo but not the FS topo. It goes on over the Causeway then back down the start. 5 hours, 1600 gain, 10 and a half miles. Reversing this would mean steeper uphill hiking. Posted 2023.
    4. THE SLIDE el 10200 is a feature nearly 7 miles north of Tonopas. Cars can go north from town on  gravel FR285 for nearly 6 miles to a camp spot then ebike the rest. A display is set up at the rim. ATVs and ebikes can go SE from there on 2F to hike Green Ridge el 10555 but it has a lousy view. I would just ebike from Tonopas. These roads are on the topo. Posted 2023.
    5. COLORADO RIVER ROAD connects highway 131 for 35 miles to Dotsero. The lower half is paved and the upper half is graded and treated to supress dust. There are pullouts to spend the night. One at mp 19 has a restroom. A tiny free campground is at mp 4. No Verizon signal. There is a bike path along I-70 connecting Dotsero to Gypsum. A BLM campground is just west of Gypsum. Sunny but cheap. Posted 2023.
    6. DERBY MESA LOOP is a 16 mile graded road that starts near the Burns post office and comes back down a mile from the post office.  It tops out in about 7 miles where there is sign for a 4wd road going to trails 1858 and 1860. In another couple miles the 4wd road for Crescent Lake branches off and has a lot of camping space there. That road goes nearly 12 miles to the lake. The last mile and a half is for rock crawling jeeps. Stock jeeps and SUVs were making it to Emerald Lake. With an ebike I would start on the southern leg of the mesa loop and see if I could make it to the apex and coast down. Posted 2023.
    7. RED DIRT CREEK - at mp 15.3 on the river road is a high clearance road up along the creek. In a fifth mile it forks. Left goes to Poison Creek. Right goes up along Red Dirt Creek past off grid houses, one was ransacked including modern vehicles. A bogus sign says it's a private road but I had a public road for 3 miles to the forest boundary. Then it's a trail on a closed road. This is good for cycles and ebikes. Posted 2023.
    8. BLOWOUT HILL el 8687 has a 4wd road to the summit. At mp 11.6 on the river road is a good road going up Trail Gulch. In 4 miles turn right on easy 4wd and follow the topo. A few ruts are a challenge. Two wheelers work well because rocks are few. Total mileage one way from pavement is 9.5. The road goes on to Dotsero Crater but I used an easy 4wd road from I-70 frontage road to get to that. Next time I'll try going straight thru. Posted 2023.
    9. W MOUNTAIN el 11890 can be done as a long but easy loop from Sweetwater Lake. The road in leaves the river road at mp 6.9. I parked near the end el 7800 below the Hilltop Ranch then rode my bike back to the lake and walked up trail #2032.  Soon there is a shortcut trail going left. It soon rejoins the main trail. At el 9600 there is a roaring stream coming down from the springs just below Hack Lake. I didn't filter that and had no more running water until a fork of Turret Creek. I followed the trails on the topo to the tundra then walked to a post at N39 50696, W107 08409 el 11200. I weaved bushes there then on to more bushes where an elk trail goes thru at 51006, 08472. That got me to the summit plateau and I strolled on to a cairn at 52472, 08256 with a broken jar and no book. I kept going on the tundra then dropped on the edge of talus at 53031, 09489. In a tenth mile it leveled off and I cut right to get down to a huge flat. A pond there had something that looked like large tadpoles. I walked on to the south side of peak 11531 where an elk trail goes down but I didn't see it until 52913, 10492. It's better to find it sooner to avoid ultra steep dirt slopes. I stayed straight on it then it leveled off to the right to 53041, 10586 then it drops into the forest. There are many ways thru the forest. Here's what I did. I went to a clearing at 53127, 10659 then to a stream at 53246, 10749 where I stood on a boulder and could see that I could push thru bushes for 50 feet to get across the stream. I went on across a clearing at 53235, 10838  then to 53258, 10998 and along a meadow at 53266, 11113. Then I had only 450 feet more to hit the Turret Creek Trail just above the falls. I had one wade on that near the end of the hike. 10 hours, 22 minutes. The app has the mileage at 20 and gain at 4500 but all easy grades. The trails need long pants due to weeds hanging over. The off trail part I could have done in shorts. Mosquitoes were long gone and deadfall was not an issue. Posted August 29, 2023.
    10. HUNNS PEAK el 11235 is an easy tundra walk but a long drive. At about mp 1.7 on the river road is where the Coffee Pot Road (FR600) starts and goes 29 miles to Deep Lake. Cars make it that far but bumpy in places. Before the lake there is turnoff for Bison Lake. I followed the topo for 4 miles and parked where FR644 branches off then walked over peak 11128 to get to Hunns. It has a BM on a one foot pedestal and two dates stamped on it. That last 4 miles of road turns to 4wd but is ebikeable. Lots of dispersed camping along the 29 miles in and I had a Verizon signal until about halfway where the Deep Creek overlook road forks to the right. Posted 2023.
    11. FLAGPOLE MOUNTAIN el 10607 - FR801 can be used to make a loop over the mountain. From Silt I followed county 311 to FR801 going up Divide Creek. A car could make it 10 miles up that to camp spots then the remaining 10 miles is easy 4wd when dry. Ebikes are a possibility since rocks are few and it's hard packed, just a bunch of ruts. The road tops out at el 10400 and it's a short walk to the summit and there is a flag with a solar light. I rode on down the western leg of FR801 which is decent gravel with a couple of spots that might need 4wd if ascending. A lot of camps along that road have a Verizon signal.  This is all on the FS topo and sat image. Posted 2023.
    12. EAST ELK CREEK has a maintained trail running down it, #1841. It can be walked from the lower TH for 4 miles to a waterfall in the Spring Creek fork at el 8200. The upper TH is where the topo shows it but it hits the creek at the 9400 line, not 9600. The road to that, FR603, is the craziest. It's good one lane and OHVs not allowed. FR652 is the one to the TH and easy 4wd, when dry, for nearly 3 miles. I walked down from there to Spring Creek then up that trail but it fades at el 9200. No brush beyond there but a lot of tall grass and it better be dry (it wasn't). I went up the left fork staying high on the left bank to el 10400 where I could go straight up to a faint road on the rim. I then circled west of peak 10940 on elk trails back to the road but that's over 16 miles. It would be a lot shorter to walk the old road past peak 10942 then down to the trail. I would try that plan if backpacking in from the lower TH and setting up base camp at the main fork el 8000. I saw spots there. Another option would be a one way hike from the top down. It would be a dozen miles if starting at the beginning of FR652 but a lot of time shuttling.  A third option would be to go up the Hadley Gulch trail then down the East Elk trail, IF it's still there. I measured that trail on my laptop as 7 miles up to the #1841 upper TH by way of FR651 for a total hike of 16 miles. All the roads are ebikeable but how many batteries? Posted Sept, 2023.
    13. BUFORD ROAD - that's the main graded road, FR245,  connecting New Castle to Buford, not open to OHVs. The spur road to Meadow Lake is also good but everything else is crap. Lots of dispersed camping. Posted 2023.
    14. BLAIR MOUNTAIN el 11440 has a jeep road over it. I made a 70 mile loop on my DRZ 125. Cars can make it to Meadow Lake from New Castle or Buford. 2 miles before the lake is sign for Blair. FR601 goes 9 miles to it. It's easy 4wd until el 11000 where there is a short section of minor steps. Stock jeeps have no trouble going on to the summit. Ebikes should be able to get close. I saw bike tracks along there. South of Limestone BM is where the trouble starts and strictly for seasoned drivers. It's steep rubble the size of footballs going down below 11000 then FR651 is the one I took to get back up to 11000 ( I had to walk the bike up the last 50 feet ) then down to FR603 which is a good road. It has a million switchbacks down to pavement. That took 6 and a half hours. Next time I'll just go to the summit and make a U-turn. That's pretty easy. Posted 2023.
    15. RIFLE MOUNTAIN PARK - highway 325 goes north from town then pavement ends at the park in a gorge. It's a good bike ride 5 miles up thru the gorge onto national forest land where there is a main fork. Left goes shortly to a guest ranch then it's endless mudholes and ruts to the plateau. The right fork is tedious embedded little rocks for 5 miles to the Buford road on the plateau. Be smart and make a U-turn. Camping was $10 per vehicle in the gorge. Nice creek in there. Not much to do unless you're a climber. They need to put a cell tower on the rim. Posted 2023.
    16. GRAND HOGBACK ROAD- that's a paved road then good dirt road running on the north side of the Hogback connecting New Castle to Meeker. I rode it to Meeker then back on the Buford road for a 100 mile loop. Posted 2023.
    17. NORTH MAMM PEAK el 11123 has a good trail most of the way out of Beaver Creek. A paved then graded road goes to the TH el 8650 out of Rifle. Signs point the way. It's a smooth trail with soft plants hanging over and they bettter be dry. At el 10500 I left  the trail and walked tundra along the north side. I hit a cow trail that topped out at el 10750 then stayed low along some ponds until I ran out of tundra. I angled up thru talus to a steep dirt chute on the north side of the summit then up. 6 hours, 2600 gain, 12 miles. No camping at the TH or along the road from Rifle but you could walk the first tenth mile on the trail and camp at the creek. I put a track on peakbagger. Posted 2023.
    18. ROAN CLIFFS HIGH POINT el 9286 has an easy 4wd road the whole way and it's maintained to stay that way. County 244 leaves Rifle at Fravert Reservoir and meets county 242 at a T and that goes on up switchbacks to the rim. The public road goes on past Gardner BM to a locked gate at point 8636. Going north on the rim likely has a public route out but I only went 3 miles. Good camping along the rim. Posted 2023.
    19. SLEEPY CAT PEAK el 10848 is out by itself. The least bad road from the south is FR250 from Lake Avery. It's not worth driving that unless with an OHV. I didn't check the road in from Yellowjacket Pass. I easily rode my 125 to the OHV trail going up the south ridge. I parked at el 10050 where it turns bad. I walked to the end then an old trail goes up the ridge. I walked that a short way until I was 250 feet from a game trail on the right at N40 07279, W107 32277. I walked that then went up steep at 07395, 32056 and topped out to the right of a minor bump. I strolled on up the ridge to the summit. Junk up there is likely remnants of a fire lookout. The summit was cleared to improve the view. 2 hours, 800 gain. I kept riding east thru Lost Park and Long Park then up FR230 and down the east leg of it to county 8. Countless mudholes were dry or skirtable. There are a lot of gorgeous meadows and no cattle. These roads are good for two wheelers but a 125 is as heavy a cycle I care to ride. Heavy cycles are tricky to balance between deep ruts and hard to drag out of quagmires. FR250 may get bladed some day. Sheepherders use it. Posted July, 2023.
    20. MARVINE CREEK TH - I didn't hike there but I saw a million horses at the TH. That would be some stinky hiking. Outfitters take tourists up there. Posted 2023.
    21. SAND PEAK, PAGODA PEAK - these two have an ATV trail running along the south side from Ripple Creek Pass. I tried to ride in that way but too swampy for a two wheeler. So I went down to mp 35.6 and took the Deadhorse Loop Road which is FR230. It's easy for two wheelers and jeeps. At el 10400 the ATV trail branches off and was able to ride to Sand Peak and stroll up that. Snow blocked me from riding on to Pagoda. I kept going on FR230 to Long Park then down to county 8 but that last bit is ultra steep. The ATV trail is closed to motorized vehicles every Sept 1. That would be the time to try a mtn bike from the pass then down FR230 to mp 35.6. Posted July, 2023.
    22. TRAPPERS PEAK el 12002 has an easy route up from Wall Lake. I followed the Wall Lake trail from Trappers Lake then when I got to Wall Lake I left the trail when I was 190 feet from a clearing which is at N39 56938, W107 14659. I went on to the edge of a meadow at 56873, 14677 then a game trail climbs out of the meadow at 56763, 14733 and heads toward the east saddle. It's obvious from there to the saddle then up the ridge. I retraced back and took a trip to Flander Benchmark. A craggy ridge is just before that peak. An elk trail goes around the far right edge of it then it's clear to come back to center then there is a tenth mile of light brush to get at the summit.  I returned to the trail and went west to the Big Fish trail. I crossed a bog to get at it but should walked the bank of the stream and avoided crossing. It goes down like the topo shows then just before Florence Lake there is junction with the newer Himes trail at 58752, 17083 el 9850. That trail is what I took back to the start but it gains 500 feet so an easier option would be to stay on the Big Fish trail down to the Himes Campground with a second vehicle waiting. 10 hours, 13 minutes and about 3000 noticeable gain. The app has it at nearly 19 miles. Just doing the peaks and returning down the Wall Lake trail would be a lot shorter but not as good as a loop. Or skip Flander and do the loop. Posted July 11, 2023.
    23. BIG MARVINE PEAK el 11879 is the easternmost major peak in the wilderness. A spotty trail goes up it. I started at Trappers Lake on the Wall Lake Trail el 9750 and followed the topo to the junction with the East Marvine Trail just past Twin Lakes. That trail is just a string of cairns on tundra. At N39 57269, W107 18994 is where the trail to the peak branches off, also marked by cairns. It has light brush but a more open route is at 57442, 18986 though slightly longer. Both lead to a cairn at 57322, 19334 and the trail is obvious from there. 8 and a half hours, 18 miles, with 1300 gain to get on the pleateau then 800 on the final trail to the summit. Including Plateau Benchmark would add 4 miles. I saw no loop possibilities but a one way down to the Marvine TH would be feasible. Posted July, 2023.
    24. LOST BENCHMARK el 11928 is north of Trappers Lake. A long loop can be done. I parked at the Trappers Lake TH then coasted down on my bike to the Skinny Fish TH. I walked up the good trail 1812 to el 10900 where there is a sign for a shortcut trail. That's steep so I stayed north a little more then cut up to trail 1803 then on up to the peak. The trail gets faint on the tundra but not needed anyway. I went on and shortcutted along the west side of peak 11723 then near peak 11582 I was on a heavy use trail. I walked it down to the Trappers TH. 8 hours, 20 minutes, 17 miles, and about 3000 gain. This could be reversed with a motorized shuttle but trail 1812 is so easy and smooth that it's not a big deal. Having the cold wind at your back on the tundra is a bigger concern. Posted 2023.
    25. HIMES PEAK TRAIL - a one way hike idea is to take that trail just past Florence Lake then go down the trail along Big Fish Creek to a second vehicle at the Himes Campround. I can't speak to the whole route but the Himes trail was clear. Make sure the river bridge hasn't washed out. An ebike would work well for a shuttle but with a pedal bike I would reverse it. Posted 2023.
    26. LILY POND TRAIL - this is an easy one way by starting near Ripple Creek Pass and walking the divide trail then down the Lily Pond Trail. It just so happens I was camped at the lower TH on county 8 at mp 39.1. I rode my cycle to the upper TH at mp 44.2 then followed the topo. There are two gushing springs reading N40 04615, W107 15161 at a large meadow near the junction of the two trails. I barely stayed dry crossing that meadow to get on the descent trail. The pond is aptly named. 3 and a half hours, hardly any strenuous gain, 8 miles. Nice meadows. This is a good wuss hike. Sandals would be handy for the soggy meadow and a wade near the lower TH. Ebikes work for the shuttle. Posted 2023.
    27. DUNCKLEY FLAT TOPS el 10270 is a good traverse. I left my cycle at a cattleguard on county 8 at mp 58.7. Then drove on to Dunckley Pass el 9763 and parked. A road starts up from the pass then a steep hiker trail goes on from the end of it to the plateau. To do the high point aim for a clearing on the right edge at N40 12343, W107 09713 then follow the topo. From there I weaved east into a clearing and walked to an old road at 12745, 10385 and walked it along the rim. I dropped off at 13825, 12512 then down to a long clearing at 13710, 12634 and down that to another clearing at 13225, 12583. But nope, that clearing was too soggy. I should have stayed right of it directly to 13192, 12659 where I weaved to anyway then down to the road a few feet up from the cattleguard. The last quarter mile has deep, soft plants. Easy to walk thru but slow because I couldn't see where I was stepping. 3 hours, 400 strenuous gain, 5.6 miles. Next time I'll skip the high point and just walk the south rim. The high point has no view. Ebikes work for the shuttle. A longer hike would be to find a way down to the Gill Reservoir trail. That trail goes to county 8 at mp 58.1. Posted July, 2023.
    28. PYRAMID PEAK el 11532 has a trail up from Sheriff Reservoir. Trail #1117 goes up to the divide then leave it and walk south around a bump then up the ridge. I tried the north side of the bump but too rocky. 4 hours, 2000 gain. Posted 2023.
    29. TROUT CREEK has a forgotten trail from Sheriff Reservoir to el 10200. I made a loop up Sand Creek then down Trout. The Sand Creek trail starts out across the dam. There is a tricky signed fork near Crater Lake but the correct trail is left toward Sand Lake. I got off the trail at N40 07833, W107 06429 el 10600 and easily crossed to the far bank of Sand Creek. I went upstream a tenth mile then right on easy tundra and entered a forest at 07698, 06711 el 10700. I weaved thru that to a clearing on the divide at 07568, 07148 el 10800, just north of peak 11005. I followed an elk trail down to the end of the clearing then it switched back sharp left and I went down to 07490, 07310. Then I went straight down on deadfall for a few feet then cut right to a boggy clearing. I stayed on the right edge of it to 07492, 07386 then straight down in a drainage to Trout Creek. I went down the bank a few feet to a clearing at 07461, 07626 and soon the trail appeared. It does veer away from the creek to 07954, 07988 then on to the inlet of the reservoir where a log saved me a wade. That took 3 hours, 36 minutes for 7 miles but I never rested because it's so easy. There is 1100 easy gain. I barely stayed dry so late season is  best when bogs are few. There is a lot of deadfall on the route between the creeks but most of it I could weave or step over. Posted July 27, 2023.
    30. ORNO PEAK el 12133 has a forgotten trail up the north side from Sheriff Reservoir el 9700. I made a loop up it then down trail #1117 near Pyramid Peak. The Sand Creek trail starts out across the dam. There is a tricky signed fork near Crater Lake but the correct trail is left toward Sand Lake. It tops out in a clearing and fades. It goes to the right across a drainage and I used game trails at N40 07120, W107 06213 to weave thru light brush to get to the trail again at 06989, 06136. It goes along the left bank on tundra and crosses to the right at 06799, 05967. The trail tops out at 11050 then I turned east on the trail shown on the topo. I could see it better at 06130, 05392 and walked it to a saddle el 11250 then turned left on a trail on the edge of tundra. I walked it along the east side of peak 11378 then on to 05192, 05551 el 11400 on the south side of peak 11515. It goes west into a saddle el 11450 then up the ridge and then angles up to the right to the summit ridge west of the peak. 100 elk were standing on the trail just before topping out. They know a good hike when they see one. I went to the peak then came back and walked the rim to peak 12027 and then a little more to a good view at the end of travel on the rim. I then dropped to the left on steep tundra to an elk trail at 05522, 08256 el 11200. I walked it to 05745, 08521 el 11000 then 05878, 08600 el 11100 then to 05938, 08667 el 11050. I had an easy forest on to a clearing at 06061, 08736 el 11050 then down that to an elk trail at 06163,08838 el 10950. I could then easily walk NW just below the 11000 line to trail #1117 at 06916, 09249 el 11000. A quarter mile before the trail is a good stream that has to be rising out of the ground not far uphill. The trail is easy to follow back to the start. 8 and a half hours, 16 miles. The gain to the summit is 2500 and hardly any is steep. There is some minor gain cutting over to the descent trail. Be sure to have the track I put on peakbagger. This is the best hike I did around this area. Posted July 23, 2023.
    31. SAND POINT el 11182 has a good gravel road up from Chapman Reservoir to el 10000. A bumpy 4wd goes on another mile to el 10300. Ebikes should work and maybe beyond because there was no sign at the closure about it. It's not in the wilderness. The closed road goes on the where Middle Hunt Creek is coming down and that would be shortcut but I stayed on the road to the top. Right away a trail forks right to Killarney Reservoir. After a short way on that it's easy to veer right to the rim and walk it to the summit. On the return I retraced back on the rim to Middle Hunt Creek and walked the left rim of it down to the trail. 4 hours, 900 easy gain. Posted 2023.
    32. CROSHO LAKE has a narrow high clearance road to it. It would make a good ebike ride but other than that it's for fishermen. Posted 2023.

    Wednesday, August 30, 2023

    Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, Colorado

    Hahns Peak

    Sand Mtn

    Meadow on the way to Mt Zirkel

    Pristine Lake

    Big Agnes on the left


    1. ELK RIVER AREA - County 64 branches off from highway 129 at Clark and goes up Elk River and pavement ends in 6 miles and dispersed camping starts right there. The road goes another 6 miles to the end at Slavonia, cars can make it. FR440 and 443 are good roads with camping. Clark has a popular store. Posted 2023.
    2. FLOYD PEAK el 9447 has a logging road almost to the top. A car can make FR440 to 441 then almost to a gate el 8400. A sign on it says no motor vehicles. Does that include ebikes? I could have rode one the whole way. But I walked the road around to the east saddle then up. 3 hours, 1000 gain, easy. The best water was a stream running under the road el 9080 south of the summit. Posted 2023.
    3. MOUNT ZIRKEL el 12180 is an 18 mile hike, 21 miles if including Flattop Mountain el 12118. Long but easy. The trail from Slavonia goes to Red Dirt Pass then it's a tundra walk to the summit with a little talus near the top. Then back at the pass it's steep up to the table of Flattop with the most perfect tundra. You could play golf up there. Take some clubs. The BM on that summit is dated 1949. Then the south ridge is easy to Ute Pass where the trail leads back. 11 hours, 35 minutes, 4500 gain. Only the 400 up Flattop from the pass is steep and it has a spotty game trail switching up it. I started out with little water because there are springs below the junction with trail #1161, the best at N40 47361, W106 39813 el 10100. The scenic meadow past Gold Creek Lake at el 9800 would make a good base camp. Posted 2023. 
    4. BIG AGNES MOUNTAIN el 12059 is a reasonable day trip at 11 miles round trip using the standard southern route. I walked from Slavonia to Mica Lake but just a few feet before the lake I went up an easy ridge on the right. It leads to a wide drainage that goes up to the south saddle. I filled up at one of the many springs along there at N40 49550, W106 42000 el 10800. It's easy tundra up the drainage then at 11250 the route goes left up a steep tundra slope reading 49562, 41614. At 49709, 41530 el 11800 there is a trail going left to a ridge then up that a little is the summit block. Go left around it then up to a notch then right of center to get to the last bit. It's all obvious. On the return I shortcutted to the trail on tundra I could see from the summit. I retraced to 11200 then leveled off near the base of peak 11777 then walked down a tundra shelf to a ridge at 49012, 42079 el 10600. It goes down easy and bends left to hit the trail at el 10000. 7 hours, 3800 gain, the last 800 is steep. Posted 2023.
    5. LOST RANGER PEAK el 11932 has a trail the whole way. The main attraction is Pristine Lake on the return loop. The closest west side TH is North Lake. It's a good road until the last mile and a half where it turns high clearance but level enough to be easy on a bike. I walked it to North Lake then just past it is a trail forking right to an outfitter camp. That's the return trail. I stayed on the main trail to a 1937 BM on the summit at N40 41428, W106 40368. I then walked south staying left of center to dodge scrub and bottomed out at the main saddle el 11500. I went down an easy drainage and got on the left bank at 41074, 40957 and stayed left to 41184, 41060 then down to the lake. I walked left around the lake shore but right looked slightly easier. I went on to a ridge at 41701, 41135 then down at 41819, 41093 then weaved easy deadfall to 42365, 40933 el 10400. I went up on a grassy elk route then left to an elk trail going steep at 42523, 40787. That soon leveled off at a better trail with an old cairn. Then I had easy tundra to 42877, 40735 and on to the left bank of a drainage at 43321, 41010. I walked along that and it steepened then a path thru the trees appeared on the left leading to the outfitter camp and the trail back. 9 hours, 17 minutes, nearly 4000 gain, 17 miles. No brush issues but bogs would be early in the season. I hit a few but didn't sink in. Deadfall is easy but a lot of trees have yet to fall in the burn area below Pristine Lake. Posted August, 2023.
    6. ZIRKEL CIRCLE is a popular 10 mile loop by way of Gilpin Lake. Peak 11164 is an easy side trip. I started on trail #1150 at Slavonia and walked past Gold Creek Lake to trail #1161. A gushing spring is just below the trail there but a better one is up the trail at N40 47525, W106 39958 el 10450. At about el 10600 I veered left on easy tundra reading 47708, 40241. I took an easy angle up under crags to get to the summit. Then I descended staying higher along the base of the crags then down to 47744, 40297 el 10800 where I leveled off and met the trail at the saddle where it drops to Gilpin Lake then back. 6 hours, 15 minutes, just over 11 miles, 2800 gain. Posted 2023.  
    7. THREE ISLAND LAKE LOOP - up trail #1164 then down #1163 by way of the lake is what I did. I took the option to go over peak 11072. I parked at the upper TH el 8500 for the lake, cars make it that far, then rode my bike on another mile and a half to trail #1164 on high clearance and nearly level road. I walked to el 11000 then left the trail on tundra and strolled to the peak. There is a rocky bump before the peak. I went left OK but saw that elk go right to get past it and so that should be better. I went over the summit then down the north ridge looking down on Beaver Lake. Deadfall was not hard to negotiate. I bottomed out at N40 45378, W106 41423 el 10500 then on to 45400, 41252 and then I had it easy to the trail at 45501, 41060 el 10300. I went down to the lake where I saw hikers for the first time that day then out. 6 hours, 15 minutes, nearly 3000 gain, 12 miles. Staying on the trail the whole way would be faster but lacks the views. I posted a track on peakbagger under peak 10889. I could see that peak has an easy route up from the east saddle but no view. Posted 2023..
    8. STEAMBOAT LAKE AREA - highway 129 goes north from Steamboat Springs to Hahns Peak town. It has gas, a Verizon signal and a store. 129 goes on to Columbine where pavement ends at a fork of two graded roads. Dispersed camping starts soon along those roads. Posted 2023.
    9. HAHNS PEAK el 10839 has a trail to the top making it the biggest tourist hike in the area. Across from the general store in Columbine is where FR490 goes in. 2wd parking is at a fork el 9000 then 4wd parking is at el 9400. The road does go on to a tiny parking area where the trail departs at el 9700 but only about 3 jeeps could fit. There is a tiny camp spot in the saddle SE of peak 9677. The trail is easy to follow to the lookout on top. It's a 3 hour hike and 1400 gain from the 9400 parking area where most start. Ebikes should make it there. Posted 2023.
    10. SAND MOUNTAIN el 10879 has a trail making for a good loop hike but the road in is crappy. FR42 goes west from county 62 at Steamboat Lake to FR480. Ebikes could make it that far and I saw bike tracks more than a mile beyond there. It's 4 miles up FR480 to the TH but softball size rocks are scattered on the road. Jeeps have no trouble but it's slow going. A better option for most is to stay on FR42 to the second junction with FR480 at el 9600. Any 4wd makes it that far and I saw bike tracks there but that is far as I went on that route. I rode my 125 up the lower leg of FR480 to the TH then followed the trail to the south summit then walked the crest to the north summit. Then I retraced back to the south saddle then down the drainage. It's easy to walk along the edge of talus then at the bottom of it there is a game trail going right to good springs at N40 45649, W107 03074 el 10150. It's only a few feet to the main trail then out. 3 hours, 1500 gain, easy terrain. Backpacking in and setting up at the springs would be a good weekend outing. There is room for one or two vehicles to camp at the TH and I was getting one bar of Verizon. Many bars on the summit. Posted 2023.
    11. DIAMOND PEAK el 10428 has a pleasant route up the south ridge over peak 10149. I rode in from Steamboat Lake on rocky FR42 but it's bound to be better to come in from the west. I parked on FR42 near a campsite el 9400 and walked to a ridge at N40 47103, W107 05027. I went up it to 47100, 04733 and weaved on to 47099, 04522 then on to the south ridge. I walked that over peak 10149 then down to a game trail at 47880, 04188 and stayed on it to 47920, 04158. I kept going down to the last saddle then up to the summit. 4 hours, 1800 gain, 300 of it on the return. Most of the deadfall here I could weave or step over. I saw bike tracks the whole way on FR42, some came by when I was hiking. Posted 2023.
    12. NIPPLE PEAK el 10324 has a secret logging road up the SE ridge to el 9650. FR488 is a good road for the first 4 miles or so then easy 4wd to a fork el 9050. I wouldn't drive beyond there unless with an OHV or ebike. I made it to deadfall at el 9250 on my cycle then walked the main road to the end el 9650 then up the ridge to N40 52103, W107 01784 and then to the SE saddle el 10000. That has deadfall off the charts so stay below it then up to the base of the summit block and left to a steep slope on the SW side. I retraced to the road then took a shortcut south but that's a crap shoot in deadfall. I got lucky but it's better to stay on the road to el 9500 then shortcut down. 3 hours, 1100 gain. That was a 2 hour hike 15 years earlier when I could ride to the end of the road. It would be a good ebike ride in from pavement. Posted 2023.
    13. DOME PEAK el 10524 has ATV trails all around it. The best one is up from the Hare TH. A car can get there. I rode my 125 up and parked on the CDT and walked to a game trail at N40 53405, W106 48220 to get around a bump. Then on to a trail at 53123, 48492 then to the summit at 52320, 49251. I then rode the CDT to the saddle south of peak 10359 where the trail turns nasty. It's an easy stroll up the south ridge to a BM at 55940, 49509. I kept riding the rough CDT west to FR500 then down. Next time I'll just go up and down from the Hare TH. A loop on foot would be to walk north from Hare TH to Manzanares trail then back down the Hare trail. Posted 2023.
    14. CDT - FR500 is a smooth 4wd road that goes up to the CDT. But then the road goes to hell in both directions. A jeep has no trouble going north to peak 9731 and that's where the trouble starts. Trail #1101 is a rocky mess and it goes down to the good FR83 el 9250. I would walk it before taking anything down it. But I ignored that advice and walked my 125 down it. At FR83 there is an ATV trail going left that connects to FR412. Posted 2023.
    16. BUFFALO PASS el 10300 is at the south end of the Zirkel Wilderness. The road out of Steamboat Springs is good for cars to Dry Lake. Then it's another 8 or 9 miles on bumpy 4wd due to embedded rocks. Two wheelers can thread a lot of that. I saw bikes going up it. I was riding my 350. Posted 2023.
    17. RIVERSIDE BIKE TRAIL -  this is smoother than average concrete and easy to see on the sat image. I rode from Walmart downstream for 5 and a half miles to the end near an ATV dealer. Then came back and went upstream but that's shorter and not as good. I don't know who runs the town because everybody is on the trail. And they're in a hurry. The 15 MPH speed limit is a joke. Ebikes are going full throttle. Wear a helmet and a full set of dirt bike armor. Posted 2023.

    Sunday, March 12, 2023

    Oatman, Arizona Flowers 2023

     ⦁ The south side of Boundary Cone has a variety of flowers. The biggest patch of purple flowers were at N34 57933, W114 25149.
    Boundary Cone has canyons on the north side that get good poppy blooms. The first one has a jeep road that goes to a private gate near the Paragon Mine. The second has a jeep road that goes along the south side of peak 3065. I walked that road then came to a short stretch of private land. It wasn't posted but wouldn't be hard to get around. I went on and cut thru the saddle east of peak 3065 on a trail and back in the third canyon to the White Chief Mine. 2 hours. That's the best poppy tour in the area. Posted 2023.
    Grapevine Canyon area has the biggest poppy fields. I took the Silver Creek road to the Mossback Wash road and up that on easy 4wd for 3 miles to the wilderness boundary. The simple tour would be to walk to peak 2748 in the middle of the poppies. I elected to do a loop. I walked the road into Grapevine Canyon and over the saddle east of peak 3628 then down along the right side of the drainage to get thru cliffs. An obvious plateau below has a trail that drops down to the creek near the springs and goes along the left bank for a stretch then on by peak 2748. 4 and a half hours, easy. That's a worthy hike without the flowers. Posted 2023.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2023

    Lake Havasu City

    Peak 1331 in the Aubrey Hills

    Mohave Springs

    Pool at Mohave Springs

    Indian trail on Mohave Spings Mesa

    Large rock ring on Mohave Springs Mesa

    Rock ring at Bill Williams Mtns

    Rovey's Needle

     ⦁ Dispersed camping areas are at the north and south ends of town as shown on the sat image. Craggy Wash has TV towers nearby.
    CROSSMAN PEAK el 5100 has ancient mine trails to the summit out of the SW canyon, making for a good loop. Take Bison Street out of town and when pavement ends it goes a mile and a half into a wash on the left. Then in 1.4 miles stay right at a fork then go a mile to fall el 2650. Any 4wd makes it there but only jeeps, OHVs and possibly ebikes go on. The road ends a mile and a half beyond the fall at el 3200. A popular trail runs along the right bank but leave it for a ridge at 32391, 11879 el 3500. The trail soon appears and alternates from left to right of the ridge center. Go on up to a mine with steel pipe right of center. The trail then goes up to the left and then at 32630,11862 it starts contouring left of the ridge and stays left. Stay on the trail below the ridgetop until you're 400 feet from 32737, 11538 which is where it switches over to the right side of the ridge. It goes up along the right side of the ridge to the main saddle ahead el 4700. At the saddle, go thru the gate and then the trail goes up along the right side of the fence. It heads straight to the peak with no switchbacks. At 32802, 11331 it goes up to center then it's a short way to the reg. To loop back, retrace to the main saddle el 4700 then down the trail and cut to another trail at 32660, 11438 el 4400. It goes along the slopes to a saddle above a popular mine then down to the mine and back to the start. It's a 5 hour hike if starting at the fall with 2500 gain and the first 800 is up the easy wash. I cleared these trails a decade earlier but I take pruners because catclaw never sleeps. Posted 2023.
    MOHAVE SPRINGS MESA has a deep canyon cutting it in half. A good loop can be done on the rims starting at Mohave Springs. Take highway 95 to a gravel plant near mp 172 and turn in to the gate then follow the fence around the south side to a high road at N34 25066, W114 10931. The road will stay high a while then drop right into a main wash. It goes up that and will go up the right bank to bypass a bad spot then up to a fork on high gound at 26842, 06729. Both roads go, but left is shorter and less steep. It goes to a mega wash then it's a mile down that to the fork with the springs. It's a third mile up the fork to a pond with a tiny stream. It's easy to climb up to the right and get on the mesa then on to an Indian trail at 26943, 04608 that goes on to 26787, 04122 then fades. I then crossed a drainage then on to the east rim where the Indian trail drops off at 26699, 03399. I walked that to the south tip at some survey junk. It's easy to drop SW off that but later I saw shorter routes that drop NW off around 24955, 02318. Then there is a wide drainage north of point 1864 that leads up to the west half of the mesa. I went up along the right side of that then found a spotty Indian trail on top. At 26235, 03632 it lasts a half mile then appears again at 26623, 03795 then in nearly a fifth mile it forks. I stayed left to 26757, 04198 then 26773, 04379 then back. It's a 5 or 6 hour hike with nearly 400 noticeable gain. The roads are easy 4wd with no rocks but washboard and 8 or 9 miles each way. This is an outstanding hike for now but burros are moving in and it won't be worth the drive out there once they trash it. Posted 2023.
    BILL WILLIAMS MOUNTAINS HIGH POINT el 2700 is the best peak hike on this page. Take highway 95 to mp 167.1 and turn up a wash and in half a mile it forks. Right is the shortest but has a steep hill at a utility road. I stayed left on my cycle and got on the road with a milder hill and came back on it to N34 21453, W114 08365 where a faint road runs along the bank. In 2/3 mile I parked and walked an Indian trail into the wash then up to a main fork at 22940, 06676. I went right to a 30 foot fall el 1650 then up a gully on the right into a minor saddle. I walked level a short way to another saddle then back down to the creekbed and up to 23186, 04897 el 2000. There I went up to the left on a ridge to the crest then left to the reg at 23590, 04740, placed by M&L in 1988. I used the topo to keep going on the crest but still made two wrong turns. But one of those mistakes led me to a rock ring in a saddle at 24032, 05595 el 2400. I descended a nearby canyon at 24083, 05590 el 2350 and it took me back to the start. 6 hours, 800 noticeable gain. Next time I'll park at the steep hill and ride a bike for the rest. Posted 2023.
    CRAWLER PEAK el 2504 is what I call the one in the north Bill Williams Mtns. Rock crawlers drive the canyons that drain it making for some interesting loop hikes. Take highway 95 to mp 170.3 and turn on a dirt road that soon drops into a wash. In another half mile there is a tricky fork, stay right and on to the ascent canyon at N34 25687, W114 06969 el 1850 which is nearly 5 miles in. I parked .7 air mile before it and walked to it and followed crawler tracks up it keeping right at forks. At 25094, 06956 el 2150 I got on the right bank and just kept going up  to the white capped summit at 25100, 07109. I then walked south on the main ridge for a quarter mile to a saddle then down to the right on a ridge into a canyon and followed crawler tracks back to the start. 2 hours, 400 noticeable gain. Posted 2023.
    AUBREY HILLS HIGH POINT el 1537 - a popular trail goes to a spire, known as Rovey's Needle, NW of the peak making for a good loop. Park on highway 95 at mp 164.1 and walk the trail up a major wash and over to the spire. Then drop to the flats and go up the right bank of a wash at N34 19653, W114 06015 el 1100. Soon you have to drop in then exit left at 19493, 05921 and go up into the west saddle el 1350. The reg is at 19464, 05800. Then go back to the saddle and down the drainage toward the highway. Exit on the right bank at 18968, 05902 el 750 and walk Indian trails thru a saddle and down a wash at 18909, 06098 el 750. It leads to the highway and it's a scary one mile walk back so it's best to have a shuttle to stay alive. 3 and a half hours, 500 noticeable gain. A jeep road goes to the spire from a huge abandoned mine along the highway but not worth the tedious drive. Posted 2023.
    BLACK MOUNTAIN el 2986 has loop possibilities. Take highway 95 to mp 172.5 at a dirt road on high ground. BLM #4362 is the correct road to the right in a wash at a kiosk. That road goes all the way. Go up that staying left at main forks and in a couple of miles it will merge with the road on the topo going up Standard Wash. Go on to a fork past point 2175 and go right to the base of the peak north of peak 2081. I walked up over the bank at N34 28645, W114 03506 and over into a valley on the south side and up a ridge at 28308, 01920 el 1800 and just kept going up to the reg at 30230, 02641. I then walked the high ground following the topo around to the SW side of pe0ak 2805 then down a ridge there at 29550, 03383 el 2600. 4 and a half hours, 1200 easy gain. It's rocky but stable and not too bad. The reg placed by Vitz in 2005 had 2 entries and that won't increase much considering the crappy roads. It's a dozen miles of easy 4wd with few rocks but lots of washboard. A 1915 marker is in the middle of the wash at 28433, 02189. I saw wild cow tracks near the summit. Posted 2023.
    LIZARD PEAK has a loop trail up it from Sara Park at the south end of town. From the main parking area it's about half a mile to a fork at N34 26158, W114 16189 at a sign for trail 4456J. It goes up steep to the peak then a rougher trail goes down to the north saddle where it gets better. But below that is a gully with a 5 foot drop but no big deal. A narrow ledge nearby is how I went down to the bottom then turned left to the lizard made of rocks. A fork below that leads back to the main trail. 80 minutes, 600 noticeable gain. Posted 2023.
    AUBREY HILLS LOOP -  peak 1361 is on private land but a good loop can be made around it on BLM land. I parked on highway 95 at mp 172.8 where BLM road #4466 goes SW but has a locked gate. I rode a bike down it for half a mile to a substation then into a main wash and walked that downstream until I hit private land. I went over the rim there at N34 23871, W114 12322 then up a wash at 23853, 12498 heading toward peak 1331. I went up that peak via a class 2 route on the SE side then retraced down and around to the SW saddle then down the wash toward the lake. I exited the wash thru a saddle on the right at 23882, 13432 then downstream and over into a fork at 23784, 13813. A trail leads to that  fork 400 feet before. The fork goes over into a main wash with a white rock fall. I went up that main wash past an old car to some minor falls at 24900, 14338. The first one is easy and the second one has a sheep trail wide right. Next comes a bike trail on a road then at 25002, 14093 I made a hard left for 400 feet to another trail running thru a gap then I went on to a wash at 25110, 13830 to the left of the trail. I followed low ground to a wash at 25174, 13630 and back to the substation. 5 hours with 400 noticeable gain. Pleasant terrain. In hindsight I believe I could have descended peak 1331 off the NW side. I never could see a safe route up peak 1361.  Posted 2023.
    PEAK 1059 is just north of Cattail Cove SP. An easy loop can be done around it in washes. I parked on highway 95 at mp 169.5 and started on an Indian trail at N34 23172, W114 10068. It likely was their route to Mohave Springs. I walked it into a canyon south of the peak then on to the mouth and went up the next wash to the right. I went up a little fork at 22022, 11340 to get over the rim to the next major wash and walked up along the north side of the peak and around to a trail at 22616, 10663. It goes over a divide and back into the first canyon. There is an option to go up from the divide on an easy ridge past a guzzler and on to the summit at 22347, 10857. I did that and the whole hike took 2 and a half hours with less than 300 noticeable gain. Posted 2023.
    LOWER STANDARD WASH LOOP - the washes east of Standard Wash make a good loop. I parked on highway 95 at mp 171.4 where a dirt road goes north up Standard Wash. I walked the highway south a few feet to a Keep Right sign then down a wash to the correct wash at W34 23836, W114 11577. It goes down to the lake with some minor drops. Before the lake I went left on an Indian trail at 22653, 12383. It goes a third mile to a deep wash where I went down a gully at 22481, 12125 to get in. I went up that wash with some minor falls then on to a road at 23718, 11463 that leads back to the start. That road must be how Standard Wash was accessed before the highway was built. 2 and a half hours, easy grade. Posted 2023.
    PEAK 3883 is a dominant peak around Craggy Wash camp area. I made a loop. Go east from Home Depot on Whelan for a mile and a half and turn left to a substation. Go past it a third mile and turn up a wash at pole #3958. Go a bit over 3 miles in the main wash to a fork at N34 35213, W114 18395. Go right for half a mile and park past the power lines. I started up a fork at 35128, 17745 and soon came to a main road. I walked it to the Wing Mine then on up the wash and got on high ground at 34801, 16984. That played out and I dropped right to a wash and followed it thru a gap at 34623, 16012. A third mile before that the right bank is easy to walk. The gap leads to the main south canyon that goes to the east saddle. At 34681, 15570 el 2400 I followed a faint trail on the right bank on around a right bend for a quarter air mile then dropped back in at a left bend. I got on high ground at 34946, 15017 el 2950 between forks and went straight up a ridge in front of me. This is where I saw an ancient trail running on the far side of the canyon thru the east saddle, but too late. I went on up until it was easy to move right and get just above the east saddle. I left my pack and went to the summit with no sign of humanity. I dropped to the saddle and used the trail to go north. It's at 35385, 14997 then 35508, 15121 and at el 2950 it drops to the easy wash. I went down that to where the left bank gets low and cut over to a low ridge at 35894, 15515 el 2750. I went .13 mile down that then dropped left to an easy wash and down that for a while and cut across a bench to a canyon at 36584, 16959. I went up and stayed right at the first tricky fork and to a fork at 36292, 17197. I went right and hit a dirt bike trail that took me over the divide then I dropped to a wash at 36057, 17177 and followed it back to the start. 6 hours with about 1000 strenuous gain. The south canyon is the best I've seen in the range. The drive in is gravel washes but severe washboard. Posted 2023.
    PICTURE ROCK is a rock art site at the north end of Lake Havasu as shown on the topo. Burro trails make for a long but easy hike thru the Havasu Wilderness. Turn west off highway 95 about 10 miles south of I-40 at mp 192. Drive about a mile and a half down the wash then go right over the rim. Don't get tricked by a couple of decoy roads just before. Follow the road into the next wash and go down it a short way and park at a cable. Walk the wash nearly a fifth mile and a faint trail takes an easy angle up to the rim. Follow the trail on the north rim of the wash to a dip then drop to the right down a drainage on on to a trail at N34 36797, W114 24995 then on to a canyon going north 36800, 25001. Go up that and soon a big fall stops dirt bikes. Hikers can go around to the right and on to a trail 37381, 25090. Take the trail for about 350 ft then take a left fork into the wash. Keep going upstream past an arch to a saddle then down the other side and to a wash at 37546, 25832.  Look for a trail thru a low cut over to this when you're a tenth mile away. Go up this to a second saddle at 37554, 26007. Descend about half way to the water then veer right up thru a smooth saddle where another arch is in view to the east. Contour over and then down to Picture Rock. Go left around the rock base in tall reeds to the petroglyphs facing the water at 37449, 26254. DON'T CLIMB ON THE ROCK ART! The Indian spirits are watching and they know where you live. The reeds may be flooded if the lake is high but not that day as the lake was 2.6 feet below full pool. It took me 20 minutes to push thru the 100 feet of reeds but only 6 to come back. For the return, I tried an alternate thru the gorge south of peak 1557 and it paid off. I retraced back then went left on a trail at 37333, 25034 and it soon splits. Left bends to a spring, but a better spring is straight ahead in the gorge at 37274, 24910 . It had a trickle flowing out of bedrock into a good pool. A flood could bury that one. I followed the wash on up then started up to the right in a wide drainage at 37457, 24624. It topped out with a 6 foot climb up a class 3 cliff with a wash on top. I then went left up the wash to the divide at 37456, 24355 el 1150 but found out it's better to walk high on the far bank of the wash with a good view down a steep canyon. Either way gets to the divide then down the other side in a popular canyon. It has some minor class 3 drops then at 37190, 23845 el 800 there is a cave on the right bank and a good trail skirting a bouldery section. A big drop waits at the mouth. It is bolted but a trail goes left around it and back to the start. Going to Picture Rock and back the same way is a 5 hour hike with 300 noticeable gain. Coming back thru the gorge is a 6 hour total hike with another 300 gain. That is worth doing on it's own. Ebikes can make half or more of the 2 mile drive in. Posted 2023.
    POWELL PEAK el 2349 seems to be the highest in the Havasu Wilderness. Take highway 95 to mp 164.5 and turn on easy 4wd. Go half a mile to a main wash then go north along rusty poles for about a mile then left for 3 and a half miles along tall towers to a trail at N34 40370, W114 22093 el 1450 . Walk that then to another one at 40298, 22632 to get around to a main wash on the south side of the peak. An easy ridge at 40346, 23499 el 1850 goes up from the wash to the summit at 40653, 23457. Retrace back or drop to the south saddle then down the canyon. Once it levels out the left bank is easy for a long way. Go to 40651, 22599 then circle left around minor hills to get back to the start. 2 and a half hours, 600 gain. Posted 2023.
    TUMARION PEAK el 2084 has a class 2 route starting up the east ridge until the last 50 feet where it's borderline class 3 with minor exposure. A direct road in departs highway 95 at mp 192.5 but has a locked gate. But there is no sign banning ebikes. Otherwise, use the road at mp 192 and go 3/4 mile then turn north up a wash for nearly a mile to the direct road. Use the sat image. The direct road goes a mile and a half to a gate at private land. A road goes left there and that's where I parked then crossed a wash and walked a burro trail to N34 37815, W114 22806 where I could see the peak. I kept going toward it and met with the fence along the private land and followed that to the refuge fence. Then I turned toward a trail at 38143, 23314 that led me to a wash. I went up that to a trail at 38465, 23631 and walked it to a fork at 38509, 23939. Both go but right looked smoother so I took it for .15 air mile to a fork then went left into a wash then down it to a trail at 38661, 24256 on the right bank. I went on down to a canyon at 38936, 24563 and up it to a trail at 39659, 24636. That took me over a low saddle then I went left up a wide drainage to the saddle el 1600 on the east ridge. I went up that to the first cliff band at 39645, 24917 el 1750. I walked right along the base for a few feet into a chute then it was obvious how to circle up around to the right side of the summit block reading 39659, 25025. Then it's near class 3 for the last 50 feet. 5 hours, 700 noticeable gain. Posted 2023.
    PEAK 1665 - the main attractions around this one are the canyons. A loop makes for the best hike in the Havasu Wilderness. Turn west off highway 95 about 10 miles south of I-40 at mp 192. Drive about a mile and a half down the wash then go right over the rim. Don't get tricked by a couple of decoy roads just before. Follow the road into the next wash and go upstream a fifth mile where a road goes steep up the left bank. I parked there but could have gone another tenth mile. I walked the main wash staying left along the base to a trail on the left bank at N34 37415, W114 23052. I walked that for a third air mile to another fork then left up to a saddle el 1150 on the SE ridge of the peak. I walked up the center thru 37772, 23941 then right of center on a shelf which took me back to center then to the east saddle el 1350. I could see a good route up to the left on bedrock then back right to the summit. The SW end has a BM. I dropped down the west ridge at 38052, 24271 then down to the SW saddle el 1300. I left my pack and went up the peak south of the saddle. It's obvious but then at 37814, 24384 it's best to level off and merge into a minor drainage then up to a saddle at the end of that. Then just move up left to the summit. I went back to the SW saddle then NW down the canyon using a trail on the left. At 38387, 24983 el 850 I cut over the divide on a major trail and on to 38048, 25312 el 700 where I could see an arch to the SW. A wash below that is the route. I crossed washes to a ridge at 37869, 25834 el 700 then dropped to a major wash and went left and on the wash below the arch. A trail runs along it then pulls away on the left bank and next I went left on a trail at 37333, 25034 and it soon splits. Left bends to a spring, but a better spring is straight ahead in the gorge south of peak 1557 at 37274, 24910 . It had a trickle flowing out of bedrock into a good pool. A flood could bury that one. I strolled up the gorge then started up to the right in a wide drainage at 37457, 24624. It topped out with a 6 foot climb up a class 3 cliff with a wash on top. I then went left up the wash to the divide at 37456, 24355 el 1150 but found out it's better to walk high on the far bank of the wash with a good view down a steep canyon. Either way gets to the divide then down the other side in a popular canyon. It has some minor class 3 drops then at 37190, 23845 el 800 there is a cave on the right bank and a good trail skirting a bouldery section. A big drop waits at the mouth. It is bolted but a trail goes left around it and down to a hidden trail at 36985, 23703 that leads back to the start. And that is likely an Indian trail. 6 hours, 15 minutes with a about 1000 strenuous gain. But from now on I'll be skipping that second peak and come in under 6 hours. Posted 2023.
    GOAT HILL el 1280 is the name on the peakbagger app for the peak next to the Craggy Wash camp area. I walked a trail out of the camp area to the main road up the peak then came down the south ridge. 90 minutes. No trespassing signs are on the roads so holidays are best. TV towers are up there. Posted 2023.
    BAT CAVE - this is a one room cave with a skylight nearly 2 miles east of the airport and a 3 mile drive from Home Depot. The last mile and a quarter is easy 4wd and ebikeable but washboard. From Home Depot, take Whelan to the end of pavement at a large berm. Go  around the berm then left thereafter to get behind it and on to the cave as shown on the topo. From the end of the road it's 300 feet away in a left fork of the wash. It's best to park 100 feet before road end where a trail goes north to ?.  Posted 2023.
    BIKE PATHS - there is one running along highway 95 thru town for 8 or 9 miles. The island has a loop trail. I started at the southern end near the light for McCulloch. I was riding a folding pedal bike. When I got to London Bridge I rode over it and did the loop then came back over to In and Out Burger for lunch. I rode the trail on north then for the return I rode South Palo Verde to Cisco then Marlin and then El Dorado to Jamaica then to McCulloch where I turned left and in half a mile or so the route topped out. The return leg that far had been steady up, no down to speak of. From there I coasted back to the start on McCulloch which has bike lanes. That's some 25 miles or so. London Bridge Road comes into town from the north and has bike lanes. It's a way in from Craggy Wash camp area. Posted 2023.
    PEAK 4688 has easy east ridges up from the Arrastra Well road. It's 14 miles in from the Franconia exit, the last half being easy 4wd. The road enters the canyon and stays in the wash then just before point 2752 it goes on the left bank then back in, but I stayed in the wash. The bank would have less rocks. Either way gets to the end of 4wd travel at el 3250. From there the road is overgrowing to the end at the mine el 3800 then it's easy up to the left to gain the ridge and walk it to N34 34332, W114 13712. Level off to the left around a bump. Then the last fifth mile is rough so it's best to stay low right then come back up just before the summit, which is at 34699, 13982, no reg. 3 and a half hours, 1500 gain. The other option would be to go up the ridge thru point 3727. That looked good and then just loop back down the other route or vice versa. Posted 2023.
    BUCK MOUNTAINS - two benchmarks named Buck are at each end of this tiny range. A good hike includes both. The direct roads in from the Franconia exit to the Palo Verde Mine are easy 4wd. A car could make all but the last 5 miles then ebike it. I parked below the mine and walked up to it then up to the left bank of a wash at N34 41876, W114 10616 and then up that thru a saddle. Then down the other side to a fork on the right at 41814, 10238. I went nearly a tenth air mile up that then over the left bank and down to a main wash. I strolled up that to a divide at 41136, 09616 then thru a gap at 41014, 09215 and up a ridge at 40950, 09096. I just followed it up to a main ridge then spotty sheep trails on that to the reg at 40721, 08167 el 2400. I retraced back to the main wash then went left in a fork at 41903, 09975. That soon bends left and I went up to the right rim but it has minor dips so it might be better to stay in the wash. Either way gets to the western Buck BM at 41997, 10442 el 2070. I then dropped to the south saddle then down the drainage back to the start. 4 hours, and 1400 gain on the app but an easy hike overall. No tire tracks except for the one road I crossed. Lots of sheep tracks. Posted 2023.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2023

    Grand Mesa, Colorado

    Huh? What are they implying?

    The Crag Crest Trail

    Butts Lake

    Indian Point Trail

     ⦁ There is a visitor center near Island Lake. Dispersed camping is available away from the main roads. Posted 2022.
    LEON PEAK el 11236 can be done as a short loop. The USFS topo shows a trail going from Weir and Johnson Campround to Leon Peak Res. It goes past that to ? but just get on the SE ridge and follow a hiker trail up, mostly on talus. I could look north from the summit and see easy tundra below so I dropped to it and walked that level east to where it ended and dropped down a point on dirt then moved right into trees and avoided talus. Then I had to walk level on talus a short way then down toward the lower lake at the Finney Cuts and hit the trail at el 10500 and walked it back. I didn't have my GPS but posted a phone track on peakbagger. 3 and a half hours, 800 noticeable gain. The TH has a parking fee so I parked at Twin Lakes and walked over. Twin has free camping but not many spots. There are more on the drive in. Posted 2022.
    CRAG CREST TRAIL is a popular one. It runs high on a ridge no wider than a small car. As the USFS topo shows, start at the east TH and do the standard loop, a one way to the west TH which the sign says is 6.5 miles, or a one way to Cottonwood Lakes Trail then Lake of the Woods Trail to the highway at mp near Griffith Lake. I did the latter and it took me 5 and a half hours with nearly 2000 gain. Posted 2022.
    BUTTS LAKE is the biggest natural lake I saw. The Crag Crest Trail goes near the east end. A hiker trail branches off and goes 5 minutes to the lake. It's a good stop for anyone hiking the Crag Crest Trail. I did it as a separate hike and it took me 35 minutes to get to it. Posted 2022.
    WARD BENCHMARK el 10187 is a talus pile south of Finney  Reservoir. The NE side has the least talus. FR122 is a 4wd road that runs near it. It's easy to come in from FR123 for 2 and a half miles to a trail at N39 01049, W107 58530 el 10050. There's a good spring on the road nearly a mile before the trail. The trail makes it easy to get at the NE side. FR122 goes on to the highway but tougher. This easy hike is an excuse to make a loop ride on an ebike. Posted 2022.
    INDIAN POINT el 9996 has a trail #2715 to it as shown on the USFS topo. Cars can make it to the TH at Flowing Park Reservoir. Pedal bikes are allowed on the trail and it's decent to the point. About 2 miles in there is a fork on the south side of Chambers Reservoir at N38 55801, W108 07671 where there is an option to do a loop ride. Right goes to the point. A newer trail goes south from the point along the rim to Point Peninsula then goes back to the fork. I was riding a 20 inch unsuspended folding bike and did good to the point but then near Point Peninsula I was carrying it a lot on big rocks. One way to avoid the worst rocks is to just go as far as the point or possibly Mesa Benchmark then retrace back. Once back at the fork, the other trail is decent for half a mile to a view on the rim near the number 16 on the topo. It took 100 minutes to ride to the point and the app said 6 miles. The whole loop is 15 miles and took nearly 5 hours. One variable is cattle that can chew up the trail after wet spells. Posted 2022.