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The Rabbit Ears Range is a collection of peaks running east-west for about 30mi along the Continental Divide and the Jackson/Grand County boundary. Willow Creek Pass marks the eastern extent while Muddy Pass marks its western one. On our way back to Steamboat Springs, we decided to pay a visit to the range highpoint at Parkview Mountain, a P2K. Ingrid had visited this a year earlier, but was kind enough to suggest it to allow Eric and I to do the same. Our approach and routes were probably the most efficient in terms of least miles hiked, but hardly the best way to do them. Better would be to combine them all in a single outing since the traverse along the divide here is quite scenic and relatively easy.
We started on foot up a trail leading to the saddle, but left it after only a few minutes to pursue a more direct approach to Haystack on our right. This took us up through forest and talus, then more forest and talus again, reaching the summit in about 40min. There are nice views of Parkview to the east and not one, but two Sheep Mtns - one to the southwest and another to the northwest. We found no register, so left one of ours before heading back down. Now noon, Eric decided he'd had enough for the day and headed back to the Jeep to relax and read. Ingrid and I continued down to the saddle where we were happy to pick up a good trail we weren't expecting. Not shown on our topo map, this is the Continental Divide Trail which we could have discovered by checking Google Maps. It would nicely take us to the summit of Peak 11,500ft through a series of switchbacks in about 45min from the saddle. The forest gives way to a broad ridgeline dominated by alpine grasses with easy walking and far views. A CDT trail post is found at Peak 11,500ft which has no obvious summit. It was only here that we realized how nice the hike to Parkview would be up the continuing ridgeline. On the way back down the ridge, we skipped all the switchbacks and then headed cross-country before reaching the saddle in order to make a more direct return to the Jeep. We found Eric lying in the grass with his book, looking as chill as could be imagined.
We tried to visit a few bonus peaks on our way back down to the highway, but the roads depicted on our maps were not all open and it became somewhat confusing. We had hoped for a couple of near drive-ups, but they turned out to be more work than we felt like in the moment. In the end, we never got out of the car and ended up driving back to Steamboat Springs and calling it a day...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Parkview Mountain
This page last updated: Sun Oct 30 11:20:36 2022
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