Keller Mountain is another Gore Range summit which is easily accessed from the Bighorn Creek trailhead near Vail, or for Front Range hikers, the Rock Creek TH north of Silverthorne. On the Vail side, a three mile hike places you at an old cabin from which the real ascent begins. Done from this direction, to reach the summit, there is a long ridge walk. The climb should not exceed Class 2+ unless you deliberately find some scrambling you want to do. The trailhead is accessible to all passenger vehicles, but parking is extremely limited. Done by itself or even combined with North Traverse Peak, Keller can be completed as a longer day hike, but there's also an excellent backpack approach possibility as well. From Rock Creek TH, Keller makes a good day-hike by its east ridge and can also be combined with North Traverse Peak. If you do not return by Keller's east ridge, expect a difficult bushwhack in beetle-kill forest.
Keller Mtn. East Ridge Route
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
RT From Rock Creek:
From an intersection just on the north side of I-70 at Silverthorne, CO, drive north on SH 9, 7.9 miles to a turnoff to the west right across from the Blue River Campground. The left turn will be onto FR1350/1351. Head west up this road avoiding any opportunities to turn left. The road soon makes a switchback up the hillside and then keeps heading west. At 1.3 miles, make a left turn. This takes you off FR1351 and keeps you on FR1350. It's approximately another 1.6 miles to the trailhead parking area. While there is a fair amount of parking room here, summer weekends may still find this lot full. Plan accordingly.
Once you make the turn at 1.3 miles from SH 9, you will be getting away from private property and farther up the road will see several at large spots prior to the trailhead. There is also the Blue River CG at the turnoff on SH 9. This is a National Forest fee area with 25 units and vault toilets, but no water.
We have not actually climbed this route for Keller. We are posting it because for Front Range hikers, this is the shortest and easiest route to Keller and North Traverse as well. The east side of the Gore Range has limited access points because of private property issues. The Rock Creek trailhead is one of the few that allows quick access to a portion of the range. From the trailhead, a good trail continues up along Rock Creek to two old mines with the Boss Mine being the farthest up valley. Most persons doing this east ridge route will follow the trail to that point, then follow an old trail for a while above the mine, then bushwhack on up to the east ridge. The lower portion of the ridge is Class 2 hiking while the upper section does get into some difficulties reported on other sites. The Class rating does not appear to exceed Class 2+ or Class 3. Do your own research for more details.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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