Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Meadow Mountain

Distance: 7.3 miles round trip
Elevation: 8,940 ft - 11,632 ft
Elevation Gain: 2,692 ft
Bathroom at Trailhead: No
Dogs: On leash
Date Hiked: 20 August 2015
CMC Rating: Easy C
HashTags: #peakbagging #coloradooutdoors #rmnp #tundra, #gearguide

View of St. Vrain Mountain from the slopes of Meadow Mountain
Meadow Mountain, near Allenspark Colorado, is an 11,632 ft peak sandwiched between the Indian Peaks Wilderness and Rocky Mountain National Park. The trail is a rocky slog that is more fatiguing than the distance and elevation gain would warrant but the views of Long's Peak from the summit are stunning so everyone should make the trip at least once.

Parking lot and trailhead
A typical trail segment, very rocky
View back down the valley
The trail to Meadow Mountain starts at the St. Vrain Trailhead. To get there, take County Road 107 (Ski Hill Road) out of Allenspark for 1.5 miles and then turn right on Forest Service Road 116 for 0.5 miles. Both roads are dirt. FSR 116 is getting eroded and while still passable with a passenger car, some zigzagging is required to find the least objectionable route.

Finally getting above treeline. Looking at an unnamed peak to the south.
Heading to the saddle. That is St. Vrain Mountain in the distance.
Looking up at Meadow Mountain from the saddle
The bulk of the trail is pretty much the same. It travels through Aspen, Spruce, and Limber Pine, making several sharp switch backs further up the valley. At 0.7 miles is the wilderness boundary, and at 1.9 miles is a small stream crossing. At 2.5 miles the trail finally breaks above treeline. The saddle is located at 3.3 miles (11,198 ft/1,844 ft elevation gain). Head to the left to continue on to St. Vrain Mountain or turn right and summit Meadow Mountain.

Heading up to the summit with hazy Indian Peaks in the distance
Approaching the summit
Long's Peak from the summit
The views from the saddle are stunning. St. Vrain Peak lies to the south while to the west is Wild Basin area of Rocky Mountain National Park. The hike up to the summit is not as difficult as it looks. Fifty percent of it is mostly tundra. The other half is a large talus pile. I had to put my camera away to scramble over some of the larger rocks. There is no preferred way to the summit. Some drift to the right others go straight up.

Weather station
Rock Shelter
On the summit
The summit is big enough to hold a high-school football game. There is a small solar powered weather station and a rock shelter. The latter really comes in handy when the winds start to blow. On this trip, the area was filled with smoke from the western wildfires and the peaks were obscured in haze.

Heading down

1 comment:

E3 said...

The summit, what a perfect place to be! Fantastic photos.