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Grays Peak + Torreys Peak

Central Front Range, Colorado

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Grays Peak + Torreys Peak

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  • It's wise to start before dawn to get the best light and ensure a parking spot.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Grays Peak before dawn.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Morning light just hitting Grays Peak.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Wildflowers starting to bloom in June.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Grays and Torreys peaks guarding the end of the valley.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Beautiful flowers along the trail.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • More wildflowers along the trail.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • The menacing east face of Torreys Peak.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • A lone hiker on Kelso Ridge.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Climbers ascending one of the couloirs on Torreys Peak.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • The trail up toward Grays Peak.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Getting higher into the snow on Grays Peak.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Looking back down the ridge.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Looking eastward toward the trailhead.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Torreys Peak starting to look sharper.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • The summit from Grays Peak.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Another angle from the summit of Grays Peak.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • Looking toward the Gore Range.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
  • The Class 2 ridge toward Torreys Peak.- Grays Peak + Torreys Peak
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful views. Accessible from Denver. Easy Class 1 trail.
Cons: 
Very crowded.
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Region:
Central Front Range, CO
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
Yes, with restrictions
Net Elevation Gain: 
2,976.00 ft (907.08 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
8.00 mi (12.87 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
11,294.00 ft (3,442.41 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

Many Coloradans are drawn to climb as many 14ers as they can, but it is difficult to ignore the allure of bagging more than one in a single climb. Grays and Torreys peaks share a main trailhead on the eastern side of the Continental Divide. The combination is a very popular choice for weekend warriors driving from Denver to escape the city and soak in the mountain views. There is no mistaking that, while this may not be the most crowded trail you have ever seen in Colorado, it certainly seems out of place to have so many people on this trail every weekend given the remote setting that the valley and summit views evoke.

Grays Peak is the easier of the two to climb, with a Class 1 hike going all the way to the summit. At 14,270 feet, it is the highest peak on the Continental Divide, the highest in the Front Range, and the 10th-highest in the Rocky Mountains. The summit of Torreys is only 3 feet shorter, despite the mountain looking much more impressive. The east face is especially impressive and will be seen along the entire hike.

The trailhead sits at the end of Stevens Gulch Road, which stopped being maintained in 2009 and has developed deep ruts among other obstacles to standard two-wheel-drive vehicles. Being one of the most popular weekend hikes near Denver, expect the lot to be completely full by 6 a.m. The earlier you arrive, the better your chances of getting a level parking spot.

Begin the hike by crossing the bridge and start a gentle climb up the right side of the valley. The summit of Grays Peak will come into view on the left very quickly, burning like a beacon in the red sunrise if you arrive early enough. The hike is very straightforward at this point. One unsigned intersection allows you to take the rugged Kelso Ridge to the right of Torreys, but you should continue onward up the Class 1 trail to Grays. There will likely be enough people on the trail that it would be virtually impossible to get lost, but normal mountain safety precautions should always be taken. Know where you are going and your limits.

Once at the summit of Grays, an amazing panorama opens with mountains as far as the eye can see. Many other prominent peaks can be seen from here such as Pikes Peak, Mount Evans and Mount Bierstadt, Quandary Peak, Mount of the Holy Cross, the entire Gore Range, and many more. From here, evaluate the weather and either return the way you came or make a bid for Torreys. If you decide to climb Torreys as well, make your way onto the Class 2 trail over the saddle and up 570 feet to the summit. The zigzag switchbacks up the Class 2 ridge and should be very obvious from the summit of Grays and the saddle. Keep away from the ledge on your right because it is a very steep drop to the valley. From Torreys you can hike back to the saddle and turn left to hike under Grays to connect back to the Class 1 trail. This will take you back to the trailhead.

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(12 within a 30 mile radius)

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(72 within a 30 mile radius)

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