Today's outing took us to Hahn's Peak, a prominent summit north of Steamboat
Springs that is easily recognized from many vantage points. With a trail leading
its lookout-crowned summit, it is hugely popular, especially on the weekends.
The regular TH is reachable by high-clearance vehicles, but the higher TH and
other nearby summits we visited afterwards required 4WD. Most of these were
fairly short outings, leaving us with almost as much Jeeping as we had hiking.
There were already several vehicles in the 2WD trailhead when we arrived there
around 7a, but we were happy to take advantage of the Jeep's capabilities and
shave off another mile by driving up to the 4WD spot. There is only
room for a few vehicles here, but luckily it doesn't see much use - ours was the
only vehicle to use it this morning. The trail follows the Jeep road for that
first mile, then becomes a single track at the 4WD parking.
The trail was in excellent shape, no downfall on its 1.5mi distance. It
climbs the northwest side of the mountain, initially through forest
but with views opening up as it reaches the edge of the West Face. The
old Royal Flush Mine can be seen below on the west side, old roads zigzagging up
its face. The trail passes by a dilapidated cabin before climbing above
treeline. The last half mile climbs up through talus with your pick of
various trail thread segments in places. I'd seen reports describing this as a
scramble, but it's not - the trail continues through all of it. There is almost
no vegetation about the rounded, open summit, leaving far-reaching views
(save for haze and smoke, some of which we had today), including a nice one of
Steamboat Lake to the southwest, Sand Mtn in the background.
The lookout at the summit is pretty cool, having been restored several
times. There is no caretaker on duty, but the sparse cabin is
open for inspection. We took some time at the summit to take it all in
before heading back down. We spent about an hour and a half on the hike.
These next three summits are all minor, found off the south slopes of Hahns
Peak. We returned to FR490 and got on a series of rough 4WD roads that require
more serious driving. We parked off FR411 and took a few minutes to hike to the
top of Beryl Mtn on an old road. Open views from the summit, Hahns Peak
to the north and Anderson Mtn to the south.
Less than half a mile south of Beryl, Anderson takes a bit more effort. The
forest roads around the peak shown on the topo map are no longer driveable with
massive downfall blocking them. We parked at the saddle with Beryl Mtn
and clambered over the downfall and up the north slopes to reach
the summit in about 10min. With trees atop this one, only partial
views, including a good one of Steamboat Lake to the southwest.
This one takes a bit more effort still. The topo map shows a road going up the
North Ridge to the summit. This road still exists, though no longer driveable.
The map shows it can be reached from the north (we were unable to locate the
old junction for that one) or from the east. Coming from Anderson Mtn, we got
only as far as a creek crossing before finding the road
blocked by downfall. It would take us about 35min to make our way up
the mountain on foot, going over downfall in various places along
the old roadway. There is a clearing at the summit with views
looking south, but little else.
This summit is found on the west side of Hahns Peak, with more than 500ft of
prominence. It appears to be located on USFS lands, but one must drive
through a private rural community to reach it. Zsuzsiyama Ln is the dirt road
servicing the isolated cabins. We drove past the last driveway, finding
the road blocked by downfall. We parked here and walked up the
remaining stretch of road to a saddle. We found that someone had built
a nice trail from the saddle going the last 800ft to the summit. Oddly,
there was no view found at the summit, no lawn chairs, no register, no
flag. Anyway, the trail saved us some minor bushwhacking. We spent about 25min
on the roundtrip effort.
Iron Mtn is about 4mi northwest of Hahns Peak. We drove back out to the
pavement, then northwest on FR488. We took this to a saddle northwest of Iron
Mtn where we found FR484-1B gated and no longer driveable. This would
leave us with about a mile each way to the summit, about half on
the old road, half cross-country. Neither had any real
difficulties, taking us about half an hour to reach the open summit,
mostly covered in talus. There is a nice view of Hahns Peak
from the top. We found a register left by Mike Garratt in 2004, fairly
busy with entries. It was 1:15p by this time, with clouds gathering
overhead - it seemed like a good time to call it a day.
Only not quite. On our way back to Steamboat, Eric wanted to give Ingrid and
Christian a chance to claim Peak 7,825ft, a peak Eric and I had done a few
days earlier. It is found south of Steamboat, just off US40. We had the route
dialed on this one, so it was an easy drive to the summit where
a water tank stands, then a 1-minute hike to the highpoint
and back. Really just a stat-padder.