This beautiful summit hike begins 30 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs in the Elkhead Mountains. Hahn’s Peak towers prominently above the surrounding landscape with it’s almost perfectly conical shape, evidence that this peak was once an active volcano. Your ultimate destination and incentive for this hike is a fire lookout tower from 1912 that still tops off the summit.
The trail begins by winding through a cool shaded forest of evergreens. As you gain elevation, the trail opens up to vistas overlooking the surrounding mountains and lakes. About halfway, aspens enter the terrain, so look out for the occasional bear claw and other cool markings on these white trees. Finally you reach the saddle just before Hahn’s Peak summit, and the trail turns to a sharp 35 degree angle and begins a very rocky ascent (you’ll want ankle supporting hiking boots for this). Along the ascent you’ll pass remains of gold mines now 100 years old. Finally you'll arrive at the summit, offering incredible 360-degree views spanning from the ski-slope covered Mount Werner to the Colorado Flattops, the Mount Zerkel Wilderness, and even to the wide open plains of Wyoming. It’s impossible not to take several pictures of this amazing scenery as well as the wooden lookout. The return trip to the trailhead is quick, and you will undoubtedly go home with fantastic photos as well as admiration for these mountains.
If you’re willing to weather a bit of snow, you can also try this hike in winter! Snowshoers and cross-country skiers frequent this trail enough to make it a feasible and well marked winter day hike. If you’re a total snow junkie (and are avalanche aware), bring your downhill skis to the top and crush the powder down!
Note: Trailhead/parking area can be difficult to find--stop in at nearby Steamboat Lake State Park for information on finding trailhead.