Bison Peak

Located in the Lost Creek Wilderness area of Colorado, the hike to the summit of 12,431 foot Bison Peak in the Tarryall Mountains was absolutely remarkable. It was really unlike anywhere else that I have been. The scenery is so unique that it almost feels out of place with everything else. With very few people around, the solitude just made me feel at peace.

Here’s some more info about my hike:

  • Date Hiked: June 18th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: Around 13 miles
  • Difficulty: Easy class 1
  • Total Elevation Change: 3,671 Feet

Getting There

From Denver, take US Highway 285 west over Kenosha Pass until you reach Jefferson, Colorado. Specifically, you will want to take a left onto Park County Road 77 which is also known as Tarryall Road. The Ute Creek Trailhead is on this road on the left once you go just over 3 miles past the Tarryall Reservoir.

The Journey

Although I did not arrive at the trailhead until shortly after 9am, I figured I would be in for an adventure. And I was not disappointed! The first several miles are relatively easy as I first crossed the bridge over the creek and walked through some meadows. But before I did that, I made sure to fill out a free permit before entering the wilderness area.

Overlooking the creek from the bridge by the trailhead.
The steady uphill climb begins!

Once I got several miles up the trail, the weather conditions changed quickly. In a span of about 25 minutes, it went from being sunny to mostly cloudy with a hailstorm looming close by. I wasn’t too scared though as I decided to hide under a rock for a little while until the weather improved.

Can’t believe I really hid under this rock!

At times, this hike really seemed like a struggle. But with every step, the scenery and view of the surrounding valleys and mountains continued to get better! Soon enough, I was able to see areas above treeline too.

A steep portion of the trail.
Caught a glimpse of the area above treeline while still deep in the woods.
Took a right at this sign to continue up the trail.

Before long, I finally found myself above treeline. And the scenery was truly unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.

Above Treeline

Upon reaching the treeline, I was treated with views of the snow capped peaks of the Mosquito Range directly to the west. In addition to that, it looked as if more storms were forming out there as well.

View of the Mosquito Range.
The amazing scenery coming into view.

After reaching the meadow, the scenery really opens up around you. Even though it was an extremely snowy year, a wide majority of the snow had already melted, except for a three foot snow drift just below the summit that was easily avoidable.

Unique geology with Bison Peak in the distance.
Looking back from further up towards the summit.
Such a cool place!
View from just below the summit.
The view from the summit.

After I made it to the summit, I sat up there for nearly half an hour. It was completely comforting just being out in the wilderness with nobody around you at all. As a matter of fact, I only saw three other people during my entire hike that day.

With another round of afternoon thunderstorms beginning to move in, I figured it was time to get on with it and head back down the mountain. So I signed my name in the journal at the summit and took a picture of the summit marker before calling it good.

A storm moving in while beginning my descent.
A unique viewpoint.
Probably the best picture I took that day.

In all, it took me about six or seven hours to complete this hike. Although it was strenuous, the views and the surrounding landscapes were totally worth it. I would definitely recommend hiking to the summit of Bison Peak to anybody and personally look forward to doing it again sometime.

Author: David Higham

Spending time in nature calms my soul.

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