Monday, January 11, 2016

Trail Review: Raspberry Mountain, Divide, CO

The hillside near Raspberry Mountain, Divide, CO.
When I was in Colorado this past Summer during my sabbatical, I had the opportunity one morning to get up early and hike/trail run up Raspberry Mountain just outside of Divide, CO, in Pike National Forest.  The night before my wife and I drove out to find the trail head and make sure I could access it via the road.  That can be a concern, because as you will find out if you drive down that road, parts of it are a bit rough and other parts are washed out.  Definitely was glad to have my Jeep Liberty to get up to the trail head.  The trail head itself is not marked.  But, with the help of a map we had picked up, we eventually figured it out.  It's at a 90 degree turn shortly before the Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp.

The post marking the start of the trail up Raspberry Mountain.
There isn't a parking lot or anything other than just this post pictured above at the bend in the road. There is a bit of room for a few vehicles to park, but not a lot.  I got there early the next morning and was the first vehicle to park, so I tucked it in tight to the hillside to stay out of the way of cars driving up and down the road, as well as to allow for other vehicles, if people ended up desiring to hike/run like myself.

The trail starts around 9500 feet or so and goes to just over 10,600 feet according to my map.  So there's a good 1,100 feet gain in about 5K or so.  (My total trip distance back and forth was about 6.25 miles with around 2200 ft of elevation change, +/-.)  Much, if not most, of the first 2+ miles is double wide with several sections looking similar to the one below where the middle would sort of be washed out as the trail would jump upwards in 50-100 ft increments.

The last stretch really jumps upward and the trail becomes more like a normal hiking trail as you move around trees and through or over some rocks.  You are within/surrounded by trees the whole time until the very end when you pop out on this rock outcropping at the top.  It was late July and...WOW was the wind cold!  I was glad I had worn long sleeves and that I could huddle behind some rocks after taking a few pictures. It was nice to take a few minutes to pray alone to God that early beautiful morning in the shadow of Pikes Peak.  You think you are going to come out on top of this huge mountain at 10,600+ feet, but then with Pikes Peak behind you, it seems like all you've done is hike up a little hill!!!  Enjoy the rest of these pics!!!  Raspberry Mountain is very doable, get out there and have fun!!!

Pikes Peak in the background seems to dwarf Raspberry Mountain!

Part of the rock outcropping at the top of Raspberry Mountain.

On top of Raspberry Mountain with Pikes Peak behind me.

Sections of the trail are wide, but several are steep lung burners!

Let's just say running down was a lot faster than going up!!!

This intersection/tree across the trail confused me for a few minutes on my way up! (Or was it the lack of oxygen?)

Almost all the way back down to my Jeep!

Definitely worth the run/hike!  A great start to the morning on Raspberry Mountain back in July.

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