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Snowshoeing Montgomery Pass

This is the second time we've done this hike this year. Usually, we don't hike something twice a year unless it's one of the convenient trails near our house. This trail was not convenient to get to since it took almost 2 hours to get all the way up the Poudre Canyon and nearly all the way to Cameron's Pass, but it's a fantastic hike which is why we decided to do it again. This time we did the hike in the snow.

We first hiked to Montgomery Pass in early July when the weather was significantly different. In July, Montgomery Pass was peak wildflower season and that was the start of us becoming obsessed with finding alpine meadows filled with wildflowers. The top of the pass was still reminiscent of the wildflowers with dead flower seed pods sticking up over the snow on fragile dried-out stems. Montgomery Pass is our first snowshoe of the season, and we needed every bit of our snowshoes on this hike. With only one other group in front of us past the fork for the skiing bowl, we were taking steps and sinking a few feet with nearly every step (well I was, Katie had better luck). Because of this, our muscles fatigued quite quickly, something we weren't expecting on such an "easy" hike. This is an easy hike in the summertime, but it was difficult to snowshoe. But having to nearly break the trail made this snowshoe all that more exciting and truer to the reason we go out and adventure in the forest in the winter.

Other than the snow and lack of wildflowers, there were two more noticeable things that were different on this hike now versus in July. First, the State Park service had changed out the summit sign at the top of Montgomery pass. The old one was extremely weathered, but it was really cool. Now it's just a boring metal sign. Secondly, we saw Smoky the Bear at the Arrowhead Lodge Visitor Center. That visitor center has been closed as long as Katie and I can remember, so it was weird to see it finally open back up and to have such an honored guest waving at the cars driving by. We didn't stop to say hi, but they definitely got our attention, and was a completely unexpected sight to see.

We safely hiked this without any problems, just in time since an avalanche warning was posted after we got home for this area for the next few days. There definitely wasn't enough snow at the top of Montgomery Pass to be concerned, but with snow in the forecast (and a storm rolling in as we were finishing up the hike) I can see how this could be dangerous in the coming days. Maybe we should stick to hiking below the treeline for the remainder of the snowshoeing season.

Trailhead Location
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4.23 mi 2.8 hrs 11,154 ft 1,198 ft
View Graph
Looking Up
Nearing the Summit
Stormy to Sunny
Burn Scar
Final Push
New (Boring) Sign
Light On the Mountains
Our Previous Summit
Deep Snow