Ascent of Crosier Mountain on 2017-11-12

Climber: William Musser

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, November 12, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Crosier Mountain
    Elevation:9250 ft / 2819 m

Ascent Trip Report

I struggled to understand the trip reports to do this 1k prominence peak so I will do a detailed report on the three parking areas and routes. First, all three routes are in a public forest and all are well defined, decently maintained, and well signed. But on this very sunny beautiful day, there were no others hiking, only on my way down did I finally see some folks coming up. Of the three parking areas, there were 3 cars at Glen Haven, none at the Rainbow/gravel pit and one at the Garden Gate (called Drake). Of the three trailheads the gravel pit is by far the easiest to find. The parking and signs are obvious from the main road whereas the other two the starting trailhead signs are back away from the road and the parking at either are not as obvious.

Garden Gate Trailhead #931

This trailhead is 2 to 3 miles from the turnoff in Drake leaving Hwy.34 However, Highway 34 is still closed to all but local traffic. I found you can find this trailhead coming up There is a small parking area on the south side (left) of the road. You'll need to open and close the gate to access the trail. From here, it is about 10.2 miles (RT) with a starting elevation of 6428ft. and ending at 9233ft.

Utilizing this trailhead, one can make for a fairly decent loop run by connecting one of the other two trails (trailheads) thereby, taking the road back to the Garde Gate Trail-head. The summit spur is only about .5 miles for a small addition.
The intersection with the Rainbow/Gravel Pit Trail comes after 5.8 miles and descending all the way to Glen Haven using the Glen Haven Trail comes in at about 7.8 miles. Then of course, the road-run back down to the Garden gate Trail-head.

This particular trail enjoys quite a bit of solitude and quiet and there is ample camping further up the trail in an obvious meadow. At ~3 miles up this trail, the terrain opens up into a nice flat valley with a seasonal but small stream that runs its course. There are plenty of places to pitch a tent here and the odds of seeing deer or fox is high.

The trail starts gently enough and switchbacks quickly to attain the south ridge which is in plain sight for most of the way. Once over, the trail will drop and rise sporadically and deposit you into said long meadow with easy hiking and some awesome camping spots. Once past, it climbs again up a shallow ravine until it levels off in dense Pine forest and meets up the Rainbow/Gravel Pit Trail. It is then only another 1/2 mile of incline to the top.
Rainbow Trail/Gravel Pit Trailhead #981

Rainbow Trail TH
Year round access

This trailhead is also located on the south side of the road. It is very distinct with a large parking area. There is some private property located near the trailhead for the first 3/4 mile, so please adhere to the trail.
It is roughly 8.5 miles (RT) with a starting elevation of 6,600ft and an ending elevation of 9233ft.
From the trail-head to the Glen Haven trail junction (coming from the west), it is about 1.7 miles. Camping is scarce and hard to find along this trail due to the ravine and thick Lodgepole Pine forest.

The trail starts off by heading straight up a ravine/gully and gains altitude quickly. It levels out sporadically as it switchbacks up the ridge. The private homes located on the other side of CR43 are in view for most of the time until you breach the ridge.
The trail continues to meander through forest and follows a creek for a good portion of the way until it meets up with the Glen Haven Trail.
From here, it is still about a half mile (left) to the intersection with the Garden Gate Trail.
There is a small old cabin at this junction located just a hairs-width off the trail.
This particular trail segment is good to run.
Glen Haven Trailhead #931-2

Glen Haven
Might need to do some creative parking!

This trailhead is located in the town of Glen Haven. Parking here is tight and constricted at best. Use the small post office located just up the road or, there is a small dirt clearing just opposite the access road one can park. However, there is only enough room to park say, three vehicles. There is a dirt road/driveway leading southeast just past the red horse stable. There is also a brown sign reading, "Crosier Mountain TH". The trail starts about 150-200ft up this dirt road and is marked.

From here, it is about 8 miles (RT) with a starting elevation of 7,700 and ending once again, at 9,233ft. There are more choices to camp along this particular trail.
There is also the option to purchase food and drink at the General Store in town in case you've forgotten yours.
Estes Park is only a few more miles up Devils Gulch where it turns into MacGregor Avenue .

The trail attains altitude at a modest pace. Probably the easiest trail of the three. It partly follows a creek, meanders through the forest, hits 'bald' spots and navigates around Piper meadows (which I believe is privately owned by the H-Bar-G ranch). At the top of Piper Meadows, the trail forks to the left, which continues to Crosier or right which access the ranch. From this vantage point, it is only about 15 minutes to the trail junction with Rainbow Trail.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2340 ft / 712 m
    Total Elevation Loss:330 ft / 100 m
    Round-Trip Distance:8.2 mi / 13.2 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Gear Used:
Crampons, Ski Poles
    Weather:Cool, Calm, Clear
22F at start 45F at end
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2175 ft / 662 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2010 ft / 613 m; Extra: 165 ft / 50m
    Loss on way in:165 ft / 50 m
    Distance:4.1 mi / 6.6 km
    Route:Glen Haven FS Trail #931-2
    Start Trailhead:7240 ft / 2206 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:165 ft / 50 m
    Gain on way out:165 ft / 50 m
    Distance:4.1 mi / 6.6 km
Ascent Part of Trip: Denver-19

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Crosier Mountain2017-11-12 a2340 ft / 713 m
2Peak 84302017-11-12 b180 ft / 55 m
4Twin Owls Overlook2017-11-12 d325 ft / 99 m
5Knapps Knob2017-11-12 c170 ft / 52 m
5North Table Mountain2017-11-12 f570 ft / 174 m
6North Table Mountain-Quarry Peak2017-11-12 f75 ft / 23 m
Total Trip Gain: 3660 ft / 1116 m    Total Trip Loss: 589 ft / 180 m

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