LoJ: #528 (G & M: #527) / 13,146' Mount Flora

Range › Front Range
Quadrangle › Empire
Summit Location › Peak Route Icon N 39° 48' 17.88", W 105° 44' 08.69" (Not Field Checked)

Peak Summary

Mt. Flora is one of the summits that's part of the highly visible group of mountains when one is driving west out of Denver on I-70 and crossing the Floyd Hill area. Flora combines easily with Parry Peak and Mt. Eva for a three-peak day that can get you back to your Front Range home well before dinner. All of these summits are Class 2 and do not present any substantial obstacles. The trailhead is accessible to vehicles with better-than-average ground clearance. This group of three summits can also be combined with James Peak to the north for stronger parties resulting in a substantially longer day. A two-vehicle setup could make doing all four summits in a day much easier. Combining all these peaks provides a rare opportunity to hike a long stretch of the Continental Divide.

Mt. Flora North Ridge Route

Class 2
Peak Icon Peak Icon Peak Icon
Medium Day // Take a Lunch
Climbed with Parry Peak + Mount Eva
RT From Fall River Reservoir: 9.95 mi / 4,400'
From Mount Eva: 2.35 mi / 740' (One-Way)
  • Trailhead
    • Fall River Reservoir TH

      From I-70, west of Idaho Springs, take exit 238 for the Fall River Road/CR 275. This paved road ends in the vicinity of a mountain village called "Alice," mostly a collection of summer cabins, etc. This is the same road that leads up to the well-known St. Mary's Lake and Glacier. The road follows the Fall River in a generally NW direction. Measuring from the exit off I-70 and the intersection with CR275, after 6.6 miles, the road makes a second, abrupt switchback to leave the Fall River drainage and climb up to St. Mary's Lake and Alice. Turn left at this switchback onto "Rainbow Road," aka: FR 174.1. This is a graded, gravel road that becomes rougher the farther up valley you travel. The road starts out on the north side of Fall River, then at 8.2 miles, drops down to cross over to the south side of it. Just before making that crossing is a smaller pullout where you can park if you want to join a segment of the Continental Divide trail that heads up to James Peak from here. Coordinates are: N 39° 48' 40.45" W 105° 40' 01.32". This is the trailhead for our third route suggestion for James Peak. There is an open camping area here (elevation 10,140 ft.) and another across the creek. Before reaching this crossing, the road passes through almost all private property. We did not observe any campsites before this creek crossing. At 8.4 miles, the road crosses the official trailhead for the CD trail. There is minimal parking allocated here. Immediately after this point, the road becomes quite a bit rougher. While many SUV type vehicles can make it to this trailhead parking, we recommend that only higher clearance, 4WD proceed further.

      If continuing on to the reservoir, as you near the Fall River Reservoir, there will be a road heading off to the left for Chinns Lake at 8.9 miles. That will be FR 174.1D. Stay right to finish the drive on up to Fall River Res. The road gets even rougher here and passes by more private property. At 9.4 miles, there are some campsites and there are a few more sites at the reservoir at 9.7 miles total from the start of CR275. A sturdy gate prevents driving up to the north end of the dam, but you can walk there easily. If heading to Parry Peak from here, walk past that gate, and about half way to the north end of the dam, watch for an old roadbed that veers off to the right, heading uphill. This can serve as the start for Parry.


      Camping

      A car camp is possible in the reservoir vicinity but these are 4WD only accessible. There are also primitive sites along the gravel road to the reservoir as noted in the trailhead description but there are homes/cabins and private property, so be sure you don't camp in someone's driveway. The best primitive camping opportunity appears to be when FR 174.1 crosses from the north to the south side of Fall River but there are cabins in the vicinity. See coordinates below. For Front Range hikers, overnight camping will likely not be a concern unless you're looking for an early morning start and want to come up the evening before.


      Campsite Locations

      Fall River Crossing › N 39° 48' 40.7", W 105° 40' 01.3"
      Elevation 10,160 ft. Be aware of Private Property
    Approach Map Photos
    • From Parry Peak Mount Eva

      • Parry Pk East Ridge  Class 2 / 2.7 mi / 2,885’ One-Way


        From the parking area below the reservoir dam, walk north across the open field and head into the trees. Continue working generally north up through the trees, gaining about 800 feet in elevation before you are completely out of the trees and onto the tundra. Overall the forest is relatively open and opens more as you gain altitude, so bushwhacking is not really a problem.

        Gain the SE ridge of Mt. Bancroft. Follow that ridge all the way to the summit of Bancroft. Most of the hiking is on tundra, but at times you'll have to cross areas of rock - mainly embedded rocks and small to medium rubble. As you approach the summit cone, there's one area of steeper rubble. Bancroft is not a "ranked" summit but since you're so close, you may as well tag it.

        From Bancroft, head west along the ridge that connects over to Parry. From the low point, you'll have about 400 feet to gain the Parry summit. The terrain is similar to the ascent to Bancroft. It'a an easy sky-walk offering commanding views of the Front Range cities and plains and in the opposite direction you'll be able to spot the Winter Park/Mary Jane ski area.

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      • Mt. Eva North Ridge  Class 2 / 1.0 mi / 430’ One-Way


        Mt. Eva is sequenced with Parry Peak. Mileage and elevation gain are measured from the summit of Parry, which becomes the "approach" for Mt. Eva.

        From the summit of Parry Peak, stroll south along the flat summit area and then begin the drop down to the Parry-Eva saddle on mostly tundra. Once you begin the ascent to Mt. Eva, the tundra will give way to broken rock/rubble and embedded rock for most of the 430 feet of gain. On these Continental Divide summits along the Front Range, you should expect high winds most any time. Be prepared as you begin this long traverse to Eva, then Flora. If conditions are too rough, or the kids have had it, it's easy enough to bale out and head east back down the drainage to the Fall River Res.

        The summit of Mt. Eva is a fairly large area that's relatively flat. There's a large metal structure south down the ridge just a short distance from the summit. In 2004, there was a rotary, propeller section that appeared to be from a helicopter. If shelter is needed, you may find some on the leeward side of the building.

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    Peak Icon Route Map Photos

    Route Info Mt. Flora North Ridge

    Route Description

    Year Climbed: 2004

    Mt. Flora is sequenced with Parry Peak and Mt. Eva for a three-summit loop day. Parry and Eva become the "approach" for Flora. One way distance and elevation is measured from the summit of Mt. Eva. Round trip distance and elevation assumes completion of the loop hike.

    Leaving the shelter of the partially collapsed steel building near the Mt. Eva summit, continue south along the connecting ridge to Mt. Flora which lies 2.35 miles away with an additional 740 feet of elevation gain. In between Eva and Flora is a connecting ridge east to Witter Peak, an unranked 12,000 foot summit. Tagging that summit will add an additional mile, which is not included in our RT estimate. So there are two saddles to navigate between Eva and Flora. Almost all of the two miles of ridge is tundra strolling with brief section of embedded rock and/or rubble. Your biggest challenge may be the relentless winds that so often blow across these Front Range summits. You may find yourself being blown sideways a lot. If precipitation begins, it will likely come at you from a near horizontal, sideways shower.

    The summit area of Flora is fairly large and relatively flat. You'll have to cover more distance than expected to reach the true high point. Enjoy the surprising view and perspective. At the summit, there's a trail that leads SE down the ridge to Breckenridge Peak and then continues on down from there. If you have to bail off Flora because of weather, this could be a potential return route, but you'll have to navigate several roads to get back to Fall River Res., cross one other ridge and two other drainages. We think there's a much more entertaining way to return so see the next paragraph.

    From the summit of Mt. Flora, walk back north along the ridge all the way back to the Witter Peak ridge, about 1.5 mile. Continue north on the main ridge toward Mt. Eva a little more and the Witter-Eva saddle. Start looking for a descent route into the basin that contains Slater, Sherwin and Chinns Lakes. If you're here earlier in the spring, you'll understand why we suggest ice axe. You can find any number of nice glissade possibilities to expedite your descent. Once out of any snow, (and hopefully out of the wind) the best way to avoid willows will be on the south side of the creek. Then make your way to Slater Lake (11,385 ft.) where you can pick up a trail that heads on down past Sherwin Lake and Chinns Lake. From Chinns Lake, pick your way on down to the north back to Fall River Res. Chinns Lake drains down into the reservoir. You can either follow the creek down or head down the road from Chinns Lake a couple switchbacks, then cut over on a trail.


    Additional BETA

    Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
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