Backcountry Bound: Trail of the Week, Mt. Epworth
Level of Difficulty -2 (on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the easiest)
One-way Mileage – .85 miles
One-way Hiking Time – 1 hour
Altitude, GPS Reading at Trailhead – 11,574′, 39°55’21″N, 105°41’16″W
Altitude, GPS Reading at Destination – 11,775′, 39°55’21″N, 105°41’45″W
Trail Fee Required – No
Dogs are permitted without leash
Trailhead Location – On US Hwy 40, north of the Winter Park Ski Resort main entrance, between mile markers 231 and 232, turn east onto CR 80 (FDR 149), also known as the Moffat Road to Rollins Pass. Follow FDR 149 for 13 miles where the trail and all three lakes are visible on the left (1). There is no trailhead sign. Park at the wide spot in the road. The Moffat Road is a good dirt road. This road is the old railroad bed used by trains crossing the Continental Divide at Rollins Pass (near the town of Corona), traveling from Denver to Hot Sulphur Springs. (For an interpretive self-guided tour of the Moffat Road stop by the Winter Park Visitor’s Center).
Trail Description ” This hike has one of the best views of Grand County. Follow the old wagon road down the hill through the tundra. After a short distance, a distinct single-track trail turns to the left. Follow this single-track trail to Pumphouse Lake (2). The mountain directly behind Pumphouse Lake is Mt. Epworth. Follow the lake around to the right (north) to the ridge. Follow the cairns up the ridgeline. Begin up Mt. Epworth through a hillside of small boulders, which quickly changes higher up to a field of much larger boulders. In this large boulder field, the cairns are more difficult to distinguish. From the top of Mt. Epworth (3), there are great 360° views. Looking south and clockwise along the Continental Divide are James and Parry Peaks, Berthoud Pass, the Continental Divide, Winter Park Ski Resort, Byers Peak, Bottle Peak, Sheep Mountain, the town of Fraser, White Cliffs, the towns of Tabernash and Granby, Lake Granby, the Never Summer Range, the mountains in Rocky Mountain National Park, the Continental Divide, and Rollins Pass.
More trails and information are available in “Hiking Grand County, Colorado” and “Winter Park and Fraser, Colorado Mountain Bike Map”. The book and map are available locally in many retail outlets, gift shops, sporting goods stores, and coffee shops or visit our Web site at http://backcountrybound.home.mindspring.com/. This column is a partnership with Headwaters Trails Alliance (www.headwaterstrails.com) and Fraser Valley Partnership for Trails, who work to plan, build, preserve and maintain multi-use trails in Grand County.
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Winter Park Resort and Trestle Bike Park will open for the summer on Saturday, bringing back mountaintop happy hours at the Sunspot Lodge and Colorado’s longest alpine slide.