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Mount Princeton

 East Slopes
Difficulty Class 2 
Ski/Board: Advanced, D6 / R2 / II  
Risk FactorsExposure: Moderate
Rockfall Potential: Moderate  
Route-Finding: Low  
Commitment: Moderate  
Start8,900 feet
Summit14,200 feet
Total Gain5,400 feet starting at the 2WD trailhead
3,200 feet starting near 11,000' on the 4WD road
RT Length13.25 miles starting at the 2WD trailhead
6.5 miles starting near 11,000' on the 4WD road
Last UpdatedOct 2022
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From Buena Vista: From the center of town, drive west on the County Road (CR) 306 for 0.7 miles. Turn left on CR 321 and continue south for 7.2 miles. Turn right onto CR 322 at a large sign.
From South of Buena Vista: Over 5 miles south of the U.S. 285 / 24 junction, turn west on County Road 162 in the town of Nathrop. Drive over 4 miles to a junction. Turn right on CR 321. After 1.2 miles, turn left on CR 322.

On CR 322, drive 0.8 miles and turn right into the Mt. Princeton trailhead. This trailhead is at 8,900' and there is a large parking area. If you have a good clearance 4WD, you can continue up the Mt. Princeton 322 road but BEWARE, it is narrow with few pull-offs and trying to pass oncoming vehicles on a busy weekend can be very frustrating. Follow the signs for the Mt. Princeton trail and start up the road. Drive/walk 3+ miles to the radio towers at 10,800' where you'll find parking for a couple of vehicles. Turn left and continue on the 322A road. At ~3.3 miles and near 11,000' reach a few small pull-offs with space for 5 or 6 vehicles. Not much room to set up tents but ok for vehicle camping. Beyond here the road gets more difficult and parking becomes scarce.


1 shows the route from the east. Leave your vehicle and hike up the road. Above 11,200', the road has a couple of large switchbacks as it ascends the east side of unranked, 13,300-foot "Tigger Peak". Near 11,700', the road swings to the left side of the ridge where you can see the upper portions of Tigger. Near 11,800', locate the Princeton trail on the right, before the road curves left - 2. Leave the road and start up the trail - 3.

Hike up to 11,900' on the ridge ( 4) where the trail crosses to the north side of Tigger and you can see the Princeton summit - 5. Following the trail west, traverse onto rocky terrain and across several gullies which may contain snow in spring or early summer - 6 and 7. Continue west on mostly stable rock. Occasionally, the trail may disappear due to recent rock movement but it's fairly easy to follow. After crossing a couple of final gullies, turn left to reach easier terrain on Princeton's east slopes - 8. Near 12,800', reach a small rock wall that was built to block an old mining trail that drew hikers to unfavorable terrain - 9. Turn hard left and ascend ( 10) to the Tigger-Princeton connecting ridge , near 13,100'.

On the ridge, turn right and follow it northwest toward the summit - 11. Near 13,300', reach a small flat area before continuing up the southeast ridge - 12, 13 and 14. Between 13,600' and 14,000', the route is a bit steep but does not exceed a difficulty of Class 2. Near 14,000', the final pitch appears - 15. Stay near the ridge crest and continue to the summit - 16 and 17.

In Winter

In winter months, the north side of "Tigger Peak" holds avalanche terrain. It may be best to bypass this area by hiking directly over Tigger before re-joining the standard route along the ridge between the two peaks.


Viewing ski terrain on the east slopes: 18, 19
Skiing: 20, 21, 22


The Mt. Princeton road is narrow and there aren't many pull-offs. Consider parking at the bottom on a busy weekend.
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