Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eldorado Mountain

Last night we were talking about what to do today and Dan suggested Eldorado Mountain.  Not wanting to drive anywhere this weekend, it was the perfect idea.  Eldorado Mountain is the high point just south of Eldorado Canyon.  It is not a pristine mountain, as there are radio towers and a building at the top and railroad tracks and tunnels through it, but it is quite a hike.

We hopped on our bikes this morning around 9:30 and rode to the Ashram trailhead just outside of the state park.  We hiked up the Fowler trail about 2 miles into the park.  We turned off to the Rattlesnake Gulch trail and hiked it to the Crags Hotel ruins.  It was really neat to see the site of a luxury hotel that was open before World War I.

We continued on the trail for about half a mile and then followed a faint trail to the railroad tracks.  We scrambled up a very steep ridge and walked over the tunnel to the north ridge.  It was slow and difficult through the brush and over talus fields and large boulders.  We reached a high point on the ridge around 1:30 and stopped for a snack.  We weren't quite on the summit yet, so we continued along this ridge until we met the summit ridge.  Here, we were able to move more quickly to south and to what we thought was the true summit.  It was hard to tell where the highest point was because the mountain was so flat on top.  We got to the radio tower and called the highest rock around the summit.

We decided to try our luck descending the northeast ridge.  It looked less steep, though it was a bit longer.  There were beautiful views on the way down and there was quite a bit of talus that was stable enough to hike down.  We finally returned to the trail at about 4:30 and then hiked back to bikes and rode home.  All in all, it was a nine hour day.  We figured we hiked about 10 miles and we biked about 20 miles.  It was a very hot day, but a good one.

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