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Montgomery Pass

We tried to go camping this weekend but were thwarted twice. Both Katie and I had a 3-day weekend with the 4th of July on a Monday this year so it was a great opportunity to get out and camp. Trying to take advantage of the 3-day weekend, we booked a small yurt outside of Georgetown to do some glamping. We haven't done too much hiking in the I-70 corridor, so we thought this would be a good home base to get out and explore the area. This would have been our first time going glamping, but due to too many guests prior to our arrival lighting illegal campfires, the fire marshal shut down their Airbnb operation a week before our stay.

We got a refund for the Airbnb and started planning where we would go camp instead. We really wanted to camp in that same area, but since we live in Fort Collins, it would take us longer to get to that area than people coming from Denver, and we didn't want to risk getting to that area and having no place to camp, particularly since it was a holiday weekend. So we planned on going the opposite direction and looked in Routt National Park on the Wyoming side. This was still a 3-hour drive but isn't very close to any major cities. We made our plans and started getting excited when Thor (one of our 3 cats) started getting sick...

Thor finally started feeling better on Saturday morning, but because of everything going on with him, we decided to just stay in town so we could keep an eye out to make sure his recovery continued. He finally started acting like a normal cat again by Monday, but his condition wasn't worth risking being out of cell reception camping all weekend and the pet sitter needing to contact us.

With our camping plans canceled, again, we knew we still needed to get out of the house to hike at least once. Monday was looking to be the best day for hiking from a weather perspective, so we waited all weekend before getting out into nature to enjoy the last bit of our 3 day weekend. We picked Montgomery Pass because we wanted to get away from other people to try and stay in the camping spirit. We drove 2 hours up to Cameron's Pass and started our hike from the Zimmerman Lake Parking lot. The hike started out a little strange. Everything was wet and damp. Colorado hiking, no matter where you are, is usually pretty dry, but this area of the mountains get a lot of afternoon thunderstorms and a lot of snowmelt. Now that it's July, things in the foothills are starting to die and turn brown, but on the Montgomery Pass trail, everything was so green. So green that it felt like we were hiking on the East Coast again with all the moisture.

After hiking through the dense wet forest, there was a little opening that gave us a preview of the views that we were going to see at the summit. That preview was a stunning opening in the trees, although the view was incredibly misleading. Once we hiked another quarter-mile and got above the tree line we were treated to gorgeous rolling mountain peaks covered in grass and millions of wildflowers. There were so many flowers that we struggled to take steps without trampling on them. The trail split with trails going in both directions to the tops of nearby peaks, down their saddles, to other peaks, down the saddles, and so on for as far as we could see. We choose to go to the South because the first mountain from the split in that direction was taller and less distance. As we climbed up the views kept getting better and better until we found a nice spot to sit and eat our lunch. Considering the trail was exposed, the wind wasn't too terrible, and we ate our lunch just off the top of the last peak that we visited.

We hiked back down and started unpacking when someone else in the parking lot started screaming about a moose. This got our attention and sure enough, despite this guy yelling at the top of his lungs about them, there was a small herd of moose just inside the trees from the parking lot. There were five in total, just eating the greenery and ignoring all the humans. We spent a little bit of time watching them but kept our distance.

We will definitely be coming back to this area to do more hiking, and might even try this same hike but try and make it to more of the mountain peaks. Even without visiting more peaks, this was a challenging hike being around 1,400 feet of elevation gain in just 5 miles. So we might need to get into better shape if we want to visit some of the other peaks next time. Even though it was challenging, it only took us 3 hours to complete.

Trailhead Location
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5.1 mi 3 hrs 11,243 ft 1,381 ft
View Graph
Orange Jelly Fungus
Cup Fungus
Tease of a View
Up and Over
Dark Clouds
Clark Peak
Three Mountains
Nokhu Crags
Joe Wright Reservoir
Selfit at the Top
Staring Me Down