Saint Vrain Mountain, 3707m (12162 ft)
St. Vrain seen from Mt. Audubon
Access (Saint Vrain Trailhead):
Please refer to the above books for more details and alternative routes
Follow Colorado highway 72 towards Allenspark. Exit towards Allenspark and in central Allenspark (it's a small place) locate a gravel road on the lefthand side, marked "Ski Road Co Rd 107". Follow this road for a couple of miles. Just before the trailhead, the road Y forks. Follow the sign and go right. The trailhead provides space for 10 cars or less.
According to my GPS, the trailhead starts just below 9000 ft. The trail runs through forest in the beginning before it switchbacks between rocks up the mountain. Although not marked, the trail is so wide, that it should be easy to find in winter. At approx. 11200 ft, you get a spectacular vista, as the ridge from Ogallalla Peak to Longs Peak opens up before you.
At this point, Meadow Mountain is up to your right. On your left is an unnamed summit of 11479'. Before you, in the southwest, St. Vrain mountain rises from the valley. Follow the trail towards St. Vrain, pass Rocky Mountain National Park sign, and at the foothills of St. Vrain, exit the trail and make your way upwards. Follow the sticks that come down the mountain.
On your way down, you can hike up Meadow Mountain. There are also sticks up this mountain.
I started from the trailhead at 07:00AM, reaching St. Vrain mountain at 09:00AM. I tried to take it easy, but I am not sure if I was successful, because I felt bad all the way above 11000 ft. I started the descent from Meadow Mountain 10:30 and reached the trailhead at 11:30. I must have looked weird to the people hiking up the mountain in T-shirt and shorts. The winds were so strong at St. Vrain that I put on winter gear. And I put on tons of sunscreen which I left all over my face. I had such a strong desire to get down, feeling sick as I did, that I didn't have the strengths to take off the winter gear. Man, I must have been a sight..
The amazing view from St. Vrain is hard to describe. See the pictures.
Pictures: (move cursor to read notes, and click on the images to see full version)
Other trail descriptions for this region: