Grays Peak and Torreys Peak, Grays Peak Trailhead, Summit County - Eagle County - Clear Creek County, Colorado

Grays Peak and Torreys Peak - 8.35 miles

Grays Peak Trailhead

A perennial snowfield along the saddle between Grays Peak and Torreys Peak

A perennial snowfield along the saddle between Grays Peak and Torreys Peak

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
Round-Trip Length: 8.35 miles (distance and total elevation gain incl. both peaks)
Start-End Elevation: 11,259' - 14,270' and 14,267'
Elevation Change: +3,011' net elevation gain (+3,366' total roundtrip elevation gain)
Skill Level: Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Grays Peak and Torreys Peak - 8.35 Miles Round-Trip

Grays Peak (14,270') and Torreys Peak (14,267') are the two highest points along the Continental Divide, and considered among the most accessible fourteeners in Colorado. The summits are connected by a .8 mile long saddle, making both attainable in a day with an early start.

The peaks stand over a deep valley framed by Kelso Mountain (13,164') to the north, and Mount Edwards (13,850') and McClellan Mountain's (13,587) serrated ridge to the south.

Trail Map | Photo Gallery

The Grays Peak National Recreation Trail scales Stevens Gulch into the upper valley, where it splits for Grays Peak and the saddle between the summits. The following describes clockwise travel to Grays, crosses the saddle to Torreys, and returns by a connector trail to form a lollipop loop:

****

The trail crosses Stevens Gulch Creek and climbs steadily on a wide, rocky path through the vestiges of treeline. Travel moderates from .8 miles (11,890') - 1.7 miles (12,245'), a chance to make up time in advance of more demanding sections ahead.

In 1.7 miles (12,245') the trail steepens up the north side of a divisive ridge in the upper valley; once over it bends east and south again on a more assertive climb into the tundra.The trail curls several times toward the valley-center on a rugged path, pressing steeply in spurts to the split for Grays Peak and Torreys Peak (2.8 miles : 13,273').

Bear left toward Grays on a steady, strenuous climb through uneven talus. Though generally well-defined, be mindful of false splits in the indistinguishable rock-scape. These social trail options generally link back to the main, but lead through unnecessarily challenging terrain.

A sharp east-southeast bend marks the final approach, crossing 14,000' at 3.45 miles. The trail narrows and tightens up a few turns just before leveling on Grays Peak (3.7 miles : 14,270').

Look for a Torreys Peak sign on the summit's north side to resume travel. Torreys' conical summit stands .8 miles away across a saddle on the Divide. The trail drops steeply on a rugged, tightly-wound path to the saddle trail connector (4.05 miles : 13,805').

Continue past this split to the saddle's lowest point (4.1 miles : 13,757') before turning uphill for Torreys. The trail is considerably narrower and less stable than what led you to Grays, requiring greater attention to footing and other hikers.

You'll cross 14,000' after 4.4 miles on the final push to Torreys Peak (4.55 miles : 14,267'). Retrace your steps back down the saddle, mindful of sliding rock, drop-offs and other hikers.

You'll reach the saddle trail connector once again (5.05 miles : 13,805'), this time splitting left down a perennial snowfield on the east side of the Divide. Tread cautiously on this section.

Once through the trail becomes quite clear (5.15 miles : 13,795'), and falls quickly back to the original split for Grays Peak and Torreys Peak (5.5 miles : 13,273').

Continue back down the main trail, which gradually moderates back to the Grays Peak - Stevens Gulch Trailhead to complete the hike (8.35 miles : 11,259').

Facebook Comments

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

View Interactive Google Map

  • N39 39.645 W105 47.082 — 0.0 miles : Grays Peak Trailhead
  • N39 39.270 W105 47.329 — .5 miles : Moderately steep climb up Stevens Gulch
  • N39 39.179 W105 47.676 — 1.0 miles : Mild grade beside Kelso Mountain
  • N39 38.856 W105 48.004 — 1.5 miles : Moderate climb north of divisive ridge
  • N39 38.708 W105 48.489 — 2.0 miles : Grade steepens up and over ridge
  • N39 38.398 W105 48.668 — 2.6 miles : Begin steep push through rugged talus
  • N39 38.272 W105 48.795 — 2.8 miles : Trail split for Grays (left) and saddle (rig
  • N39 38.178 W105 48.723 — 3.0 miles : Keep left at false split
  • N39 38.089 W105 49.009 — 3.45 miles : Break through 14,000'
  • N39 38.028 W105 49.053 — 3.7 miles : Grays Peak (14,270')
  • N39 38.258 W105 49.115 — 4.05 miles : Split for trail down saddle - keep straight
  • N39 38.467 W105 49.234 — 4.4 miles : Break through 14,000'
  • N39 38.565 W105 49.273 — 4.55 miles : Torreys Peak (14,267')
  • N39 38.258 W105 49.115 — 5.05 miles : Split for trail down saddle - turn left
  • N39 38.272 W105 48.795 — 5.55 miles : Back at split for Grays Peak and saddle
  • N39 39.645 W105 47.082 — 8.35 miles : Grays Peak Trailhead

Worth Noting

  • Arrive early to secure parking, avoid crowds and afternoon thunderstorms. Be mindful of changing weather and leave summits well before storms develop.

  • Anticipate changing weather conditions throughout the day, and carry versatile layers.

  • Hiking poles are highly recommended to assist with steep grades and uneven terrain. Carry extra water, as high elevations dehydrate the body at a fast rate.

  • Mountain Goat are frequently seen on the highest slopes of Grays and Torreys peaks. Look for bighorn sheep on nearby ridges, and elk and moose in the lower tundra and valley floor.

Camping and Backpacking Information

  • Dispersed backcountry camping is permitted in the Arapaho National Forest. Camping is prohibited within 100' of any lake or stream. Group size is limited to 15 individuals.

  • Campfires are permitted for dispersed camping in the backcountry, with potential seasonal and location-specific restrictions. Campfires are not permitted above or within .25 miles (440 yards) of treeline, or within 100' of any lake or stream.

  • Contact the Clear Creek Ranger District (303.567.3000) for the latest on weather, trail conditions and trail-specific usage guidelines when planning your trip.

  • Camping is limited to 14 consecutive days in one location. After 14 days, the campsite must be moved a minimum of three miles.

  • The Clear Creek Ranger District maintains eight developed campgrounds. All are accessed from the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway, Guanella Pass Scenic Byway, I-70 and Colorado Highways 40, 103, and 119. Operating seasons vary, however most range from mid-May through mid-October. Contact the Clear Creek Ranger District for availability and detailed information on each.

Fishing Information

  • Fishing is permitted with a valid Colorado fishing license.

Rules and Regulations

  • Dogs are permitted on the Grays Peak National Recreation Trail.

  • Horses, bikes and mechanized vehicles are not permitted on the Grays Peak National Recreation Trail.

Directions to Trailhead

Grays Peak and Torreys Peak are located within the Clear Creek Ranger District of the Arapaho National Forest. The Grays Peak Trailhead (variously referred to as the Stevens Gulch Trailhead) is located 3 miles south of I-70 on Stevens Gulch Road (Forest Service Road 189).

From I-70, exit #221 and turn south over the highway. Drive through the unpaved parking area and continue on FS 189 to the Grays Peak Trailhead. The road to the trailhead is narrow and bumpy. High clearance 4x2 and 4x4 vehicles are recommended, although less-capable vehicles can make the drive in perfect conditions. Parking spaces fill up very quickly, especially on weekends. Arrive early to secure a space. Roadside parking is permitted, but can add significant distance on foot to reach the trailhead.

Contact Information

Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Chicago Creek Road
P.O. Box 3307
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
303.567.3000

Dillon Ranger District
680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO 80498
970.468.5400
M - F from 8am - 4pm

Trip Reports

There are no trip reports on this trail.



Comments

"Starting to get a little bit of snow up top and making things a little icy. Get up soon if you can!"
Tyler  -  United States  -  Date Posted: September 1, 2014
"We hiked Gray's Peak this past weekend. We left Denver by 4am and were at the trail head and hiking by 5:20am. We secured one of the last spots in the upper parking lot. The road up to the trail head is bumpy, but you can easily make it with a 4x4 vehicle. We passed about 15-20 cars parked on the way up to the trail head. At 5:20 it was still dark, but we were hardly the first ones on the mountain. The sunrise on this hike is amazing and is well worth waking up at 3am! I am not the fittest person in the world and usually do about a 3-5 mile hike once a week. I made it to the top in 3 hours and 20 min. That included several breaks (at least 10-15)to eat, drink and just catch my breathe. There were about 20 people on the summit when I got up there. After a quick snack, a few pictures, and some water we headed back down. We opted not to do Torrey's that day. We started our descent at 9am, and arrived back at the trail head at about 10:45. The line of people working their way up the mountain at that time was unbelievable and there was never a time where we didn't see another person. There was literally a line of people walking up the mountain. The descent was way more dangerous than the ascent; rocky, loose gravel, and fatigue. This was my first 14er and I am excited to do another one next year. For me, it was a challenge but the reward is more than worth it! "
Emily  -  Denver  -  Date Posted: August 18, 2014

 

Add Comment

Only used to identify you to ProTrails. Will not show on comments list.
Tell us when your experience with this trail happened.