(G & M: #342)
Dome Mountain is a pleasant Class 2 hike located up the Animas River Valley out of Silverton. A vehicle with above average clearance is best for accessing the trailhead we recommend. The summit offers impressive views of the Animas River Valley in this area and there's plenty of wildflower viewing in the summer months.
Dome Mtn. West Ridge Route
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From South Fork Animas River TH:
From the Town of Silverton, drive east on the main road through town to where the paved road splits one block past the courthouse and veer right onto the blue-signed County Road 2 (set odometer here) for 4.2 miles of nicely graded dirt road to Howardsville. (On Trails Illustrated map #141, this road is labeled #110. Pavement ends after 2 miles.) From the Howardsville intersection, continue north another 4.3 miles to the old site of Eureka. The road will cross to the west side of the Animas River and continue up a steeper shelf section. It begins to get rockier here. After a short climb, take the road sharply left that heads up into Eureka Gulch. This is BLM4508. ON Google Earth, this is labelled CR25. The turnoff is about a half mile after crossing to the west side of the Animas River. Drive west 1.2 miles to another road that heads off to the left. Follow that road .7 mile as it contours below the main Eureka Gulch Road and crosses Eureka Creek just above its confluence with the South Fork of the Animas. Just a few yards after crossing, the road terminates at an old mine site and a trail takes out in a SW direction from there heading up the drainage.
There may be some primitive camping available at the trailhead coordinates at the old mine site, however, since it's been several years since we visited this location, it's possible that this area has become posted for No Trespassing. If so, search for camping opportunities elsewhere. In general, over the last couple decades, the number of campers in this area of the Animas has increased dramatically making it difficult to find a private spot. There are no designated campgrounds with facilities so be prepared to be self-contained. There is quite a bit of private land to avoid. Between Howardsville and Eureka, there is one large flat area that typically has numerous campers, trailers, etc. parked there. It has become something of an "RV" village. This is across from the Maggie Gulch Road. Also, at Eureka, there's a popular camping area with some scattered trees that will have a number of vehicles and trailers parked there as well. This is on the east side of the river. Best we can do is wish you "good luck" in finding a spot.
Click thumbnail to view full-size photo + caption
Year Climbed: 2001
The name for this trailhead on both the Trails Illustrated and Gunnison Forest map is "Boulder Gulch." Not sure why they call it that so we opted for another name. The trail leads SW and eventually crosses a ridge north of Tower Mountain to drop into the south fork of Cement Creek. The trail stays on the north side of the south fork of the Animas. Strike out from the old mine and follow the road track to a switchback that gains some elevation before it reduces to trail and heads SW up the valley. We hiked on what began as a good trail but after about one mile, the trail began to fade in the vegetation. By that point, there is no particular need for a trail as you may continue up to some of the farthest trees up the valley on open terrain. At 11,200 ft., cross the creek (on a log if you can find one) and hike through another small group of trees before heading uphill toward a high valley northwest of the Dome summit and south and a little east from where you cross the creek. A series of game trails will lead up the steep, flowered slopes and into the nearly level basin at 11,900 ft. All along, we saw frequent signs of elk, but never got to actually see any. From the level basin area, continue to hike south and upward toward a nice saddle immediately west of the summit. Though rocky and steep and in some places snow covered, there's little difficulty in gaining the saddle and some snow may be welcome, for it may promise a quick descent on your way down, if you descend back this way.
From the saddle, hike east on steep, rocky terrain toward the summit. There were never any significant problems, but plenty of rock and rocky ledges. If you arrive early enough in the day and plan no other summits, eat a little lunch and enjoy the fine views all around. Jennifer Roach had signed in on this register indicating she had come over from the ridge to Tower Mtn., and continued on along the northeast ridge from Dome. One could easily descend this way once you get past the upper, rocky section of the mountain, for the remainder of the ridge is an open and inviting tundra slope.
For the return hike, go back as you came, but if you have not already climbed Tower Mountain, you may want to consider following the ridge over to there.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
Mountain Handbook ›
(Requires free registration & login to view)
"The world is not in your books and maps, it's out there." J.R.R. Tolkien