CO – THE Colorado Trail, Segment 7, Tenmile Range (07/22)

Since I was running short of time to complete Segments 6-8, my new strategy was to hike to the high point of each. I completed the objective for Segment 8 by hiking to Kokomo Pass and Elk Ridge (blog link). For this segment I hiked from Copper Mountain Ski Resort (Far East Parking Lot) to the ridge between Peaks 5 and 6. The Tenmile Range is named for the ten numbered peaks of the range, which measure approximately ten miles in length.

This segment is 13.2 miles with 3,674 feet in elevation gain and 3,053 in loss. For me this out-and-back section was 9 miles with 2,700 feet elevation gain/loss.

I watched the evening clouds building above Crystal Peak from the parking area. There aren’t a lot of nearby dispersed options so I chose to risk sleeping in my car. It was a terrible night’s sleep with traffic noise for nearby I-70.

Oh Saturday . . . I figured it would be busy especially as cars started arriving early. Surprisingly I only saw one person on trail for the first hour or so thus most must have chosen the paved bike path.

The “no e-bike” sign is becoming a common sight.

The now familiar sight of Crystal Peak was visible throughout my hike.

Sadly there is a lot of beetle kill trees in the area. This area had been recently cleared with new trail and a bridge built. I met a trail maintainer who was I was happy to personally thank.

Long boardwalks are a great solution for trail sustainability.

Soon enough I was above treeline and happily in tundra land.

Looking back at the Crystal Peak and some of the numbered peaks. I learned the sunflowers are called Old-Man-of-the-Mountain (Tetraneuris grandiflora).

I can’t remember the name of these flowers. Their stems and leaves are similar to the Pasqueflowers.

I met a large group of runners who were off-trail ridge running. I’m sure I would have enjoyed if only I had the energy.

This is Peak 5 and Dillon Lake off to the right. The post is marking the ski boundary line on the Breckenridge side.

Peak 6, at 12,573 feet with a little snow remaining in front of the Crystal Peak and other 14’ers.

Of course I took time to enjoy all the alpine blooms.

The sky pilots were amazing. I’ve never seen such large displays.

At the pass the 360-views were WOWtastic.

Copper Mountain includes the ski area and obvious signs of mining with the colorful holding pond I could see from Kokomo Pass.

I met one of these fliers. He was hiking up with his sail in his pack.

I was surprised to the Holy Cross Peak. You can see the snow line running vertical and just barely horizontal.

Looking down at my car in East Parking Lot and Copper Mountain Village.

I believe these are a type of phacelia.

These were such a dark purple penstemon.

Georgia Pass in Segment 6 is going to have to wait as the universe declared a hike this day was not to happen. At least I got to see it, and as they say plans are made to be changed.

Colorado Trail Segments Hiked:

  • 1-5
  • 12-13
  • 11
  • 10
  • 9
  • 8

Ignoring the outliers, I’ve hiked Segments 1-13 less 6, totaling 160 miles toward The Colorado Trail plus 90 bonus miles (repeats) and over 45,000 feet of elevation gain/loss. I’m jumping south to the San Juans to hike some of those segments.

Tips:

  • The Guthook/Far Out App and Colorado Trail Association Guidebook and Databook are helpful in planning section hikes. The guidebooks details parking and trailhead options along with the elevation profile. Far Out was a great way to plan my turnaround based on mileage and elevation gain/loss. I also used Gaia with the Colorado Trail Nat Geo layer.

Resources:

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