Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Angler Mountain Trail

Distance: 4.4 miles round trip to Ptarmigan Trail, 5.4 miles round trip to Bench
Elevation: 8,542ft -10,112ft
Elevation Gain: 1,571 ft (cumulative)
Date Hiked: 29 June 2013
Bathroom at Trailhead: No
Dogs: Off leash

View of the Tenmile Range in Silverthorne Colorado.  Viewed from the Angler Mountain Trail.
The Tenmile Range and open verdant meadows are only some of the attractions on the Angler Mountain Trail
In summer, the Angler Mountain Trail in Silverthorne, CO will make your eyes pop with the number and variety of wildflowers that dot the route. In the more forested sections Colorado Columbine fill every nook and cranny while on the more open Sagebrush hillsides Lupine, Scarlet Gilia, Blue Flax, Pontentilla, Cushion Buckwheat and many more ebb and flow with each undulation of the terrain. What is also amazingly fun, is the first mile of the hike contains placards identifying these flowers as well as the local trees and shrubs.

The Trailhead
The initial steep hillside.  Elevation gain is a consistent 500ft/mile.
The overall route is on the east side of Highway 9 and takes the hiker up and down verdant hills while slowly gaining altitude. The trail ends with its intersection with the Ptarmigan Trail and from this intersection it is only 0.5 miles to the Ptarmigan Bench, a series of logs in an open clearing with stunning view of the Gore Range.

Heading into an Aspen Grove
Wildflowers line the trail
Angler Mountain is relatively new trail and therefore not any of the maps you are used to looking at. The trailhead is located within the Angler Mountain Townhomes off Bald Eagle Drive in north Silverthorne. Take Bald Eagle Drive at The Ponds, cross the Blue River, and continue around the townhomes to the south and the prominent trailhead. The route starts sharply up a dry Sagebrush hillside and then proceeds to go up and down similar hills, some dry, some covered in young Aspen trees, and some shaded by Lodgepole pines.

Another open Aspen Grove
Approaching the new road at 0.7 miles
The early part of the trail winds through homes being built in the area and crosses a new road at 0.7 miles before gradually tapering off into more pristine areas.  At 1.8 miles the route reached the top of another hill and looking down the other side, the trail seemed to end abruptly at the bottom. I stood there staring for a while because I knew the trail continued having seen its apex on the Ptarmigan Trail but I did not want to descend only to find I had taken some wrong turn somewhere and was on the wrong trail. Finally, I descended the hill to find the trail continued but was totally hidden by the shrubs.

This pleasant Aspen tunnel was the gateway to the  wilder  meadows in the upper reaches of the route. 
Views of the Gore Range abound
After winding 2.2 miles and 1,216 ft up to the Ptarmigan Trail, I decided to head to the Bench, which I thought was only a hundred yards or so further on. It was in fact 0.5 miles.

Heading off into the more open expanses
Lupine line the trail
Despite the few forested sections of the trail, there is very little shade on this route, which made for a hot, dry climb. If you can, start earlier in the day to avoid the heat and the afternoon thunderstorms which build behind the Gore Range and come rumbling eastward as the day progresses.

A sharp switchback heading up another hill with more views of the Gore Range
One of the final pitches to the Ptarmigan Trail

6 comments:

Charis said...

This is gorgeous!

sylvia murphy said...

Thanks Charis,
It is a lovely trail.

Barbara Morris said...

do you remember is there is cell service on the trail? My husband is on call this weekend, but we were looking forward to a ike

sylvia murphy said...

Hi Barbara,
This trail is so close to Silverthorne and right on a hill overlooking things, so I can't image that you wouldn't have service. May depend on your provider though. Verizon has better coverage in the mountains overall.

Nancy m said...

Is the intesection with Ptarmigan well marked with a sign? I went up a little over an hour but did not see it. I wasnt sure if i missed it or did not go far enough.

sylvia murphy said...

Hi Nancy,
There is definitely a trail sign. We just did this hike, the wildflowers are lovely.