Deer Mountain, Deer Ridge Junction Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Deer Mountain - 6.0 Miles
Deer Ridge Junction Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||6.0 Miles|
|Start-End Elevation:||8,930' - 10,013' (10,013' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+1,083' net elevation gain (+1,236' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Deer Mountain caps a massive, divisive ridge between Beaver Meadows (south), and Horseshoe Park (northwest). This relatively short hike follows a well-maintained trail through ponderosa parks, aspen stands, and subalpine forests to the summit, which rises just above all other points on the ridge.
The trail's southern exposure frees it of snow longer than many others in the Park, extending accessibility from late spring to early winter. Visitors will enjoy ecological diversity and panoramic views that include some of Rocky Mountain National Park's most iconic summits, meadows, and geological features:
The Deer Mountain Trail heads east on a steady grade across sparsely treed hillsides of ponderosa and aspen. Deer and elk are common along these lower slopes, and southern views over Longs Peak, Beaver Meadows, and Moraine Park improve with each step.
Moraines separating these meadows - or low ridges of glacial till pushed aside by a glacier's downward movement - gain definition as you progress.
The trail switchbacks at .85 miles with views over Horseshoe Park and the Mummy Range including Mount Chapin (12,454'), Mount Chiquita (13,069'), Ypsilon Mountain (13,514'), and Fairchild Mountain (13,502').
Switchbacks steepen through 1.55 miles (9,612') in a thicker mix of aspen, spruce, and fir before leveling abruptly on the ridge top (2.05 miles : 9,835').
Travel eases through 2.25 miles (9,930') before dipping and climbing back to the Deer Mountain Summit Trail split (2.8 miles : 9,843'). Bear right for a short but steep climb to the summit.
The Deer Mountain summit (3.0 miles : 10,013') is small but easily maneuvered for sensational panoramas that stretch across Estes Park, Longs Peak and neighboring summits on the Continental Divide, Moraine Park, Beaver Meadows, Horseshoe Park, and the Mummy Range. A good map will help identify all points of interest, and provide useful perspective on the greater landscape and distance between each feature.
GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View these GPS points on a Google Map
- N40 23.220 W105 36.592 — 0.0 miles : Deer Ridge Junction Trailhead
- N40 23.168 W105 36.078 — .5 miles : Steady climb through open hillside
- N40 23.194 W105 35.898 — 1.0 miles : Long, moderate switchbacks up south face
- N40 23.340 W105 35.629 — 1.55 miles : Switchbacks tighten and steepen
- N40 23.213 W105 35.622 — 2.0 miles : Trail levels on high ridge
- N40 23.065 W105 35.106 — 2.5 miles : Trail dips and rises back thru mixed forest
- N40 22.889 W105 34.961 — 2.8 miles : Deer Mountain Summit Spur split
- N40 22.755 W105 35.062 — 3.0 miles : Deer Mountain Summit
- This is an especially attractive autumn hike, and is often accessible late into the season.
- Deer Mountain is a popular destination with limited parking along Trail Ridge Road. Arrive early to secure parking and avoid crowds.
- The Deer Mountain summit is exposed. Be mindful of changing weather patterns and leave the summit area before storms develop.
Camping and Backpacking Information
- There are no designated backcountry campsites along the Deer Mountain Trail.
Rules and Regulations
- Dogs are not permitted on any backcountry trail in Rocky Mountain National Park.
- Horses are permitted on the Deer Mountain Trail, but not on the access spur to reach the summit.
The Deer Ridge Junction Trailhead is located 3.05 miles west of the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station along Trail Ridge Road (Highway 36). The trailhead is located on the north side of the road at the Trail Ridge Road - Highway 34 split. There is no designated lot, but roadside parking is permitted. Parking is limited.
Rocky Mountain National Park
1000 Highway 36
Estes Park, CO 80517-8397