Saturday, January 31, 2009

Snowshoeing: Montgomery Pass Trail

I like hiking and snowshoeing alone but with all the different outdoor groups around the Front Range, there is no need to go alone, especially on the weekends. There are so many groups and so many activities happening each weekend so today I decided to join a group on a snowshoe trek up to Montgomery Pass.

Getting geared up at the Montgomery Pass Trailhead across from the Zimmerman Lake Trailhead and parking lot

Easy trail to follow: Follow sign to "Montgomery Pass Trail" and about a mile and a half or so later follow the sign to the "pass"

I’m still fairly new to snowshoeing. This was my fourth time being out on snowshoes but I’m realizing that not all trails are created equal. Some trails are nice, with very pleasant surroundings but there are trails out there that are just amazing, especially in the winter time.

The first mile of the Montgomery Pass Trail was like this, lots of trees and climbing

A level section of the trail about a mile up the trail, not too many tracks in the snow here

Higher still the trees opening up, and finally a break from the climbing as we head down for a bit

Montgomery Pass Trail is one of such places. The trailhead is located across from the Zimmerman Lake trailhead and parking lot where I snowshoed for the very first time. Located just a few miles away from Cameron Pass along highway 14 there is usually lots of snow here.

I was very warm on the trail, had to carry my jacket

The trees covered in snow surround us

Beautiful snow drifts

Even on a Saturday like today, with the sun shining brightly and the temperatures in in the upper 40’s, there were not that many people here. At least not as many as on the trails at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fresh snow with no foot prints

Getting closer to Montgomery Pass

Just a few more hills and we're there

Now the wind starts to blow as we head for the pass

See the wind blowing the snow off that hill on the left?

Looking back to where we came from

And the few people that we ran in to on the trail, not all of them actually made it to the top of Montgomery Pass. So far this was my most difficult snowshoeing trek. The trail is rated as “difficult” with the starting elevation at 10,000 feet. In the short two miles the trail climbs up 1,000 feet in elevation. It’s a constant climb up with only a very short section or two of flat trail. But it’s so worth it getting up to 11,000 feet in elevation and reaching Montgomery Pass. The ones that made it to the top were rewarded with an amazing views of the surrounding mountains and a landscape straight out of a fairy tale. The climb was tough and slow going, with many stops in between. Heading back down was easy and fast.

At the top of Montgomery Pass

The view from Montgomery Pass

Montgomery Pass Trail

4 miles round trip
Beginning Elevation: 10,000 feet
Elevation at Montgomery Pass: 11,000 feet
Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet
This trail is rated as “difficult”


D. Brent Miller said...

What a great hike. Anna, I'm wondering just how much you miss Chicago at this point?


Anna said...

I don’t miss Chicago :)

I do miss my family and friends and Chicago stuffed pizza.

D. Brent Miller said...

Gino's East rocks!

Payne Seal said...

I bet snowshoeing is a wonderful exercise for the legs.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these awesome pics, I hope to try this soon.