“A ridgeline run entirely above treeline (mostly around 13,00 ft elevation) to a tough 13er.”
— Cam Morton
Views · Wildflowers
Parking is just off the Continental Divide at Loveland Pass. This is not as crowded as the popular 14er trails but still takes you to nearly 13,500 feet, with views the entire time. There are open grassy ridgelines at or above 13,000 feet that have wildflowers in the early summer. This is a good warmup for those looking to get into running 14ers.
Need to Know
Start early. As always, aim to be heading back down the trail by or before noon to avoid the summer thunderstorms. If you see storm clouds coming and you have not summited yet, seriously consider heading back. Safety first.
Park at the parking lot on top of Loveland Pass (US 6). Immediately head up/east. The first mile or so is deceptively steep without switchbacks, but will take you to the ridgeline very quickly. Take your time ascending this section and warming up to the high altitude. Note: About 3/4 of the way up, there is an option to turn right and take a shortcut around the first peak. You may opt for that if you'd like, however, I prefer to just save it for the way down as a way to break up the out-and-back (see map).
Once at the top of the first hill, head right towards Grizzly Peak (heading left would take you to Mt. Sniktau Trail
). This section provides multiple miles of enjoyable rolling ridge traversing with incredible views along the Continental Divide.
The remaining 0.4 miles up Grizzly Peak are pretty steep and on loose rock. Be careful of your footing and take your time up. Once at the summit, the trail continues on to Torreys Peak (Torreys West Ridge Trail
), a 14er, and then on to Grays Peak (another 14er). Take in the views of these 14ers as well as a bright blue lake just south of the Grizzly Peak summit below.
Head back the way you came. Before ascending the last peak (the first one you climbed today), there is a side trail to the left (west) that will skirt around this peak and shave off some time/distance on your descent. In mid-July, this trail was full of wildflowers. Once back on the wider trail, head down to the parking lot to finish up the route.