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Grays Peak

 North Slopes
Difficulty Class 1 
Ski/Board: Intermediate, D3 / R2 / II  
Risk FactorsExposure: Low
Rockfall Potential: Low  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Low  
 
TrailheadGrays Peak
Start11,280 feet
Summit14,275 feet
Total Gain3,000 feet
RT Length7.5 miles
AuthorBillMiddlebrook
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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Trailhead

?PARKING ISSUE
The Clear Creek County Sheriff no longer allows parking along the road to the trailhead. They say they will ticket those who do so and you'll see "No Parking" signs along the road. So, get up there very early and if the trailhead parking is full, you'll have to drive back down to the bottom of the road and walk up. Awful, I know.
Take I-70 to the Bakerville exit (#221). Leave the highway and drive south over to the dirt parking area near the start of Forest Road 189. This is the winter trailhead and even if the upper road is open, low-clearance passenger cars should park here. It's almost 3 miles to the summer trailhead. Continue up the Grays Peak (189) road. After 1 mile, stay straight at a junction. Continue another 2 miles to the trailhead, at 11,280'. There are restrooms and a few dispersed camping spots near the parking area.

Route

1 provides a distant view of the route. Start the hike by crossing the large bridge that spans the stream in Stevens Gulch and follow the well-defined Grays trail - 2 and 3. Grays soon comes into view - 4. From the trailhead, follow the trail for approximately 1.5 miles to an information sign - 5. Shortly after this point, hike up to a flat, rocky area - 6. Continue around a small ridge which runs south up to the east side of Grays - 7. Torreys Peak is to your right and Grays is ahead, to the southwest.

Above 12,600', swing left and follow the trail along the west side of the rocky ridge - 8. Continue above 13,000' ( 9) to reach a trail junction - 10. Turning right will take you to Torreys peak so stay left on the Grays trail. Continue east to reach a 13,400-foot corner which overlooks Stevens Gulch and a rock tower - 11. From the corner, continue toward the upper, north slope - 12. After some brief gain, the trail turns right and begins a long traverse west across the slope. Switchback up the remaining slope ( 13) to reach the summit - 14 and 15.

In Winter

In winter months, the southeast side of Kelso Mountain is prone to avalanche activity which may run over the summer Grays Peak trail. Unless you're confident the snow in this area is stable, it's best to leave the trail near 11,600' and take a more direct line up through Stevens Gulch before re-joining the Grays Peak trail near 12,100'.

Skiing?

Off the summit: 16
Skiing the north slopes: 17 and 18

Notes

The road to the trailhead is somewhat rough, so a good clearance vehicle is recommended.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8 #9 #10 #11 #12 #13 #14 #15 #16 #17 #18

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