Trip Length: Approximately 6 miles
Elevation: 10,013 feet
Elevation gain from Deer Mountain Trailhead: 1,210 feet
Hiking from the Deer Ridge trailhead in RMNP to High Drive in Estes Park is a unique way to experience Deer Mountain. The first mile passes through a wide grassy area open enough to provide views of all the Continental Divide Mountains to the west and part of the Mummy Range. Beautiful Gold Banners dominate this area.
Mile two takes you over the western side of Deer Mountain with a healthy series of switchbacks. Here, the open field of wildflowers transitions into a semi-dense forested area consisting of Aspen, Spruce, and Fir. As you pass through, don't forget to take in the aroma!
The summit is wide, rocky, and drops off to a steep cliffside, providing excellent views of all of the Continental Divide Mountains as well as the town of Estes Park. The friendly chipmunk that all but climbed onto our laps gave some insight into just how beloved this trail must be by residents and visitors alike!
Descending toward Estes Park rather than back the same way provides a more narrow trail, overgrown just enough to give that feeling of blissful remoteness.
(If anyone knows the name or function of this marking...please share!)
Happy Trails Everyone!!
Jamie M. and Adam A.