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
|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)|
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.
The Grays Peak National Recreation Trail rises up Stevens Gulch into the upper valley, where it splits for Grays Peak and the saddle between the two 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 high saddle on the Continental 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. Steep drop-offs to the east should have you favoring the west side of the trail.
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, steep 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 Continental Divide. Tread cautiously, as there's little room for error.
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').
Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84View 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
- 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 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.
Clear Creek Ranger District
101 Chicago Creek Road
P.O. Box 3307
Idaho Springs, CO 80452
Dillon Ranger District
680 Blue River Parkway
Silverthorne, CO 80498
M - F from 8am - 4pm