Peak(s):  "Golden Bear Peak"  -  13,010 feet
Hagar Mountain  -  13,220 feet
Date Posted:  03/28/2021
Modified:  03/29/2021
Date Climbed:   08/22/2020
Author:  CaptainSuburbia
 The Golden Bear   


"Golden Bear" and Hagar Mountain Loop


I had been wanting to climb "Golden Bear Peak" ever since I Iearned of it while looking through trip reports. I was born and raised in Upper Arlington (a suburb of Columbus, Ohio) where the Golden Bear was our mascot. I was also a big fan of our local celebrity Jack Nicklaus, aka The Golden Bear. So I thought it would be cool to climb "Golden Bear Peak".

With the fire season in full swing I wanted to climb something close to home in case the smoke forced us to bail. "Golden Bear" was a nice, short drive with the trailhead being by the Eisenhower Tunnel so it was perfect. The class 3 Hagar Mountain was nearby, so we planned to climb it as well for a nice loop and a little bit of spice.

Day of Climb: August 23rd, 2020

Trailhead: Coon Hill Trailhead - Eisenhower Tunnel

Peaks: "Golden Bear" and Hagar Mountain

Mileage/Elevation Gain: 7.9 miles and 2417 feet of gain.


We arrived at the Coon Hill trailhead around 7:30 in the morning. We parked on north side of the highway after exiting I-70 westbound directly after the Eisenhower Tunnel. There were no other cars and plenty of spaces. The start of the trail was a short walk just east of the parking area past some maintenance buildings. From there we followed a single track in a northeast direction parallel to Straight Creek.

The beginning of the trail heading northeast.

We continued on this high into the basin and eventually came to a switchback at about 11,850 feet where we went right. Don't miss this turn or you'll end up on the ridge to Coon Hill. The trail then went south and zigzagged with multiple switchbacks up to the lower ridge of "Golden Bear".

Heading south after the first switchback.
Ridge to "Golden Bear"

Once on the ridge the trail ended and we headed north over grassy terrain towards the summit. It was a very wide ridge without any difficulties. We hit the nondescript summit quickly and savored the views despite the haze caused by wildfire smoke. "Golden Bear" is the lowest Front Range 13er and I'm surprised it's not more popular with it's proximity to Denver. It really was a nice climb that I would reccomend.

Leo leading the way as we near the summit.
Final pitch to summit.
Looking south across the continental divide from "Golden Bear"
Looking down at the west exit of the Eisenhower tunnel and the trailhead.
Hagar Mountain and "The Citadel"
Leo the Wonder Dog

We had a short stay on "Golden Bear" and then headed northwest off the summit towards Hagar Mountain. The terrain remained easy as we went up and down several high points while descending to the saddle. The third and final bump was the Clear Creek-Grand-Summit county triple point. We turned due north here and reached the saddle at 12,690 feet.

First point
Rest of the route to Hagar. "The Citadel" is the furthest peak right.
The Clear Creek-Grand-Summit county triple point.
The large saddle

From the saddle the route continued to be a cruiser until we neared Hagar. At about 12,800 feet we hit a steep, rocky headwall. This led us to the false summit and then a small saddle. It was here that we found the short class 3 section that would take us to the summit of Hagar Mountain.

Hagar Mountain and "The Citadel".
Approaching the headwall
Climbing the headwall.
Looking back towards "Golden Bear".
More of the headwall.
Nearing the class 3 section.

I had been worried about the difficulty of the class 3 section because of my dog. He was just a little guy and had not done something like this before. I had been prepared to turn around or perhaps my girlfriend and I would take turns summitting. However, he went up it like a champ and had Iittle trouble. I think I boosted him once or twice. Overall I would say it was easy class 3 with minimal exposure and perfect for someone new to this class.

Class 3 section
A nice scramble
Almost to the summit with the false in the background and Coon Hill in the way back.
Summit photo!
Summit view with " The Citadel" on the right and Pettingell Peak on the left
Leo and Sonia heading down from summit.

After a nice summit stay we started our descent. The weather had remained beautiful the entire morning and the wildfire smoke never bothered us. We worked our way back to the Clear Creek-Grand-Summit county triple point to finish the loop. At the point, we turned southwest on a ridge towards Coon Hill and descended to the saddle where we took a faint trail back down into the basin. We then followed Straight Creek back to the trailhead at the tunnel to finish the nice loop.

Ridge towards Coon Hill.
We descended here into the basin and back to the tunnel.

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions
Love Leo!
03/28/2021 11:58
...the wonder dog!

Wonder dog
03/28/2021 13:50
He's the best!...Thanks for reading!

Fun peaks
03/28/2021 14:13
I thought it was pretty neat to hike above the tunnel especially since I‘ve driven through it so many times. Cool peaks

03/29/2021 10:49
One of my very fav areas. I hadn't thought of doing GB from the west side of the tunnel - guess I'll have to visit that. Thanks for posting this.

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