Peak bagging in Colorado usually means 14ers or 13ers that almost always involve long, steep treks above the timberline. Well, how about a peak that tops out at a not-so-lofty 10,654 feet and is an iconic landmark that is visible for miles? Add in a gloriously scenic route through wildflower-choked meadows that is doable by families and a 100-mile view at the top and you have the recipe for a great hike. Welcome to Rabbit Ears Peak! The peak is named for the unique rocky remnants of a volcanic plug that looked more like a rabbit in the past than it does today. The rocks are very soft and brittle, and they are eroding quickly.
The trailhead is near the historic Rabbit Ears Pass and the beautiful Dumont Lake Campground east of Steamboat Springs. The trail follows an old dirt road that is still open to four-wheel drive vehicles, but it is rare to see any because the road is extremely poor. Better not to attempt to drive it; also, it is a beautiful walk. Climbing gradually for the first few miles, the trail is open with little shade but with ever-changing views of rolling meadows, forests, and distant glimpses of surrounding mountain ranges. The unique rocks that form the peak go in and out of view as the trail gets closer, finally disappearing for the last mile. Taking a right turn at the base of Hahn’s Peak, the trail flattens out for a little while and then becomes very steep as it approaches the peak. The last eighth of a mile is a real thigh-burner, but the end goal is in sight.
The views are remarkable at the base of the rocks that form the true summit. While not recommended, it is possible to climb the 150-foot rocky peaks, but exercise caution as the rock is extremely unstable.