Pegmatite Points

On the first Tuesday of August, I woke up and decided to pick a somewhat easy hike for the day. I figured it was time to do some more exploring in the Mount Evans Wilderness. And with that decision in mind, I found myself at the Deer Creek trailhead outside of Bailey, Colorado.

Here’s some more info about my hike that day:

  • Date: August 6th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 9.9 Miles
  • Route: Tanglewood Trail via Mount Evans Wilderness

Getting There

Both the Pegmatite Points and Rosalie Peak are accessible by the Deer Creek Trailhead. Interestingly enough, you can find this trailhead by typing in Tanglewood trails on Google Maps. Personally, I like this trailhead as it is set back in the woods pretty far away from everything and you can also hear the creek as soon as you get out of the car.

The Route

From the trailhead, the route up to Pegmatite Points is very easy to follow. Early on, I crossed a bridge that goes over Tanglewood Creek and just stood on the bridge taking it all in. I had the feeling that it was going to be a good day.

Tanglewood Creek.

From there, I followed the trail up the creek until I came to a junction where the Tanglewood trail and Rosalie trail meet. It is very important that you keep going straight on the Tanglewood trail at this point.

Before you cross into the Mount Evans Wilderness, you will want to make sure that you fill out a free wilderness permit and keep it with you for the rest of your hike.

Heading up the Tanglewood Trail.
A sign welcoming you to the Mount Evans Wilderness.

For the first several miles, the hike is pretty mellow and just follows along Tanglewood Creek. At times, parts of the creek run onto parts of the trail but these can easily be avoided. Before reaching treeline, I encountered some nice switchbacks but they didn’t really last too long.

Going up through the switchbacks.

Once above treeline, the views opened up dramatically as the woods down below come into view. Additionally, the surrounding peaks also start to become more visible.

Peaceful view.
Looking west.

The switchbacks continue well above treeline until I reached the saddle between Rosalie Peak and Pegmatite Points. At this point, it was really starting to get hot as the afternoon sun was directly above me. At the saddle, Rosalie Peak is accessible by going right while the Pegmatite Points are off to the left.

Beautiful view on a beautiful August day.
A steep rock face just below Rosalie Peak.
The Pegmatite Points!

From far away, the Pegmatite Points really don’t look all that imposing. But once up close, I encountered some fun sections that required some easy scrambling until I finally reached the summit.

False summit.
Scrambling fun.

The Summit

With the summit at 12,227 feet, the views are just remarkable. Rosalie Peak looked so breathtaking and Denver is even visible way off to the east too. I sat up there and ate my lunch taking it all in for awhile. It didn’t even seem real.

Rosalie Peak from Pegmatite Points.
Another summit view looking out into the surrounding wilderness.
The valley below.

The Return Trip

With some more clouds starting to roll in, it seemed like it was good time to pack up and head back down towards the trailhead. But I simply had to take some more photos on the way back.

A stream crossing.
Heading through the woods.
I could sit here all day.

Although it was an uneventful trip back, it was so serene and peaceful out there. I really didn’t want to leave at all. Nature is just so amazing!

Until next time!

Four Peak Monday

After working my 12 hour shift from Sunday afternoon into early Monday morning, most people would probably go to bed. But not me. I had much different plans for my Monday and none of them involved spending my day off sleeping.

With that in mind, I made my way out to Berthoud Pass to begin what turned out to be a pretty remarkable day. Here’s some more info about my hike:

  • Date: August 5th, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 13.6 Miles
  • Route: Mount Flora, Mount Eva, Witter Peak and Parry Peak via Continental Divide Trail

Getting There

Berthoud Pass is easily accessible off of US Highway 40 just outside of Winter Park, Colorado. Their is plenty of parking too.

The Route

From Berthoud Pass, I headed up to the summit of 13,146 foot Mount Flora and made it up there pretty quickly. It was pretty foggy that morning with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms developing later on.

Morning fog near the summit of Mount Flora.

From there, I made my way over to 12,884 foot Witter Peak which is on the way to Mount Eva. At the point, the fog was beginning to dissipate revealing a peaceful morning. I only encountered a handful of people in the eight hours that I spent out in the wilderness that day too.

Witter Peak in the distance.
From the summit of Witter Peak looking east towards Denver.
The view to the south.

After taking a quick break atop Witter Peak, it was time to continue on. Upon walking back to where I had originally veered off trail, I chose to continue further on towards the summit of 13,130 foot Mount Eva. It was pretty uneventful and before long I was signing my name in the summit register and taking in the views of the surrounding area.

Took a quick moment to relax and reflect on life.
Debris from an old building on Mount Eva.

After reaching the summit of three mountains that day, I simply was not content so I continued on my journey towards Parry Peak. At this point, thunderstorm clouds were beginning to form far off to the north. I figured I would make it quick and then retrace my steps back down towards the trailhead.

Parry Peak.

As I was making my way up Parry Peak, I was starting to definitely get tired but the end was in sight! So I soldiered on. But damn I was so relieved when I finally made it to the summit of 13,392 foot Parry Peak. I sat down at one of the rock shelters and ate nearly all of the food that I had brought with me. It was pretty amazing to be up there looking down and marveling at how small Winter Park actually looked.

Near the summit of Parry Peak looking back towards Mount Eva and Mount Flora.
Several rock shelters atop Parry Peak.
Looking north towards the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Winter Park.

The Return Trip

With storm clouds rolling in, it was soon time to head back. But it wasn’t that easy. Although all of these mountains are connected by rolling tundra, hiking back required reaching the summits of both Mount Eva and Mount Flora again in order to get back to Berthoud Pass. My calves were definitely burning when all was said and done.

Mount Eva straight ahead.
Looking back at Parry Peak from the lower slopes of Mount Eva.
Thunderstorms moving in to the north while I was descending Mount Flora.

Reaching the summit of four different mountains in one day was an incredible experience. I’ll never forget it. And by the time Monday night rolled around, I was definitely happy to go to bed for the first time in two days!

Mount Parnassus and Woods Mountain

On a sunny late July morning, I headed out for yet another cool hiking adventure. On this particular occasion, I set out to summit both 12,940 foot Woods Mountain as well as 13,579 foot Mount Parnassus. By my standards, it was a relatively easy day. Here’s some more information:

  • Date Hiked: July 23rd, 2019
  • Miles Hiked: 7.9 Miles
  • Route: Watrous Gulch Trail to Woods Mountain and west slopes of Mount Parnassus
  • Class: 2

Getting There

The Herman Gulch trailhead is accessible by taking exit 218 off of Interstate 70. As soon as you go down the exit ramp, you will want to take two quick right turns and go on a dirt road. Plenty of parking can be found here, but definitely get there early if you plan on going during the weekend!

The Route

From the beginning of the Herman Gulch trail, I reached the intersection where both the Herman Gulch and Watrous Gulch trails split apart from each other and continued up the Watrous Gulch trail.

Where the trails intersect.

Below treeline, the trail is surrounded by a lot of trees and is pretty relaxing. The further up I started to get, I noticed that it does get pretty steep rather early on. Upon reaching a small creek, I was also greeted with a large uprooted tree!

Large uprooted tree.
The trail among the trees.

Before too long, the trees start to thin out. The surrounding area starts to come into view with remarkable views of nearby 14er Torreys Peak too.

Looking to the south towards Torreys Peak.

It was really turning out to be a nice morning. With nothing but blue skies around, I continued up the Watrous Gulch trail and made a quick stream crossing to stay on the trail. Right after the stream crossing, I came to another intersection for the Bard Creek trail but continued on the Watrous Gulch trail for a good while after that. You can still reach the summit of Mount Parnassus if you do end up taking the Bard Creek trail too.

Watrous Gulch.
Working my way up towards Woods Mountain.

Finally, I found myself out of the woods and above treeline. I probably say it all the time, but being above treeline and among the mountains is unlike anything else.

Looking back to the south.

Now, it was time to head up the southern slopes of Woods Mountain. An easier route does exist but it seemed pretty circuitous at the time. Nonetheless, I found myself on the trail at the top of the ridge before too long anyway.

I went straight up from this point.
Looking back down towards where I came up the mountain.
The trail on top of the ridge.

From this ridge, I continued east until I reached the summit of Woods Mountain. I took a well deserved break at the summit before continuing onto Mount Parnassus. Even from here, it was pretty awesome to look around at all of the neighboring peaks and see the ones that I have already reached the summit of.

Woods Mountain Summit

The views of other nearby 13ers was pretty remarkable as well!

Looking over towards Mount Parnassus and Bard Peak.
Looking out to the west towards Pettingell Peak and The Citadel.

After pondering for awhile and admiring the remarkable landscape, I picked a line and started to make my way up the western slopes of Mount Parnassus. The sun was starting to beat down but was nothing a little bit of sunscreen couldn’t handle!

Starting the journey up Mount Parnassus.
Almost to the summit!

The Summit

The summit of Mount Parnassus is just downright amazing. The route to nearby Bard Peak and Engelmann Peak becomes visible.

Mount Parnassus Summit.
Looking over towards Grays and Torreys Peaks.
Looking west.

The views in every direction were remarkable. And I figure that I probably spent more than thirty minutes at the summit. But it was getting closer to noon so it seemed like it was time to head back down in the direction of the trailhead.

The Return Trip

On the way down Mount Parnassus, I hiked towards the saddle between Woods Mountain and Mount Parnassus. From there, I headed for one of the side trails that cut off from the main trail up Watrous Gulch. But don’t worry I took a lot of pictures along the way back!

Looking up towards Woods Mountain.
Love this one.
The trail down to Watrous Gulch.

Overall, this hike was splendid. It had amazing scenery with remarkable views in every direction. I’d recommend it and look forward to doing it again sometime.