(G & M: #632)
UN 13010 A
Golden Bear Peak
UN13,010 (Golden Bear) is a very easy, family-friendly Class 1/2 hike located on the ridge that sits over the Eisenhower Tunnel. The summit is located along the ridge, north of the tunnel and at the head of the NW basin for the Loveland Ski area. The peak is most easily accessed by passenger car from parking at either the east or west end of the westbound tunnel. Our route has you approach from the west end of the tunnel.
Golden Bear West Flank Route
RT From Eisenhower Tunnel West Side:
If coming up I-70 from the Front Range, drive on through the tunnel. Get in the right hand lane while driving through. Immediately upon exiting the tunnel you will see an opportunity to exit the interstate on your right. Do so and drive over to an area where you can park out of the way of semi's and other vehicles. You will see a road that heads off to the east and goes up behind a building. Park near that road. It will serve as the beginning of your trail.
If coming from the west on I-70, just before arriving at the tunnel entrance, exit the interstate on your right and drive past some small building. The road you're on will climb up a little and circle above and around the tunnel entrance to bring you back down to the suggested parking area on the north side of the interstate.
There is no designated camping in the immediate area or for several miles around, neither is there any good primitive camping close by. For Front Range hikers, this will not be a problem. For western slope hikers, you may have to find whatever camping you can much farther away.
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Year Climbed: 2008
From the suggested parking area for the Eisenhower Tunnel west side, follow a roughly paved road east that turns to gravel and passes by a building on the north side. Continue following the road as it then turns north and heads up the valley. The road will soon terminate and become a double track, which soon reduces to a trail. The trail stays on the east side of the creek and passes through clumps of willows. There are numerous displays of Columbine along the way.
Follow the trail until it switchbacks at 11,880 feet. There is another trail that branches off here and heads generally north, then swings west to join the ridge above the valley on the west side. This path could be used to access Coon Hill if so desired. Otherwise, from the switchback, continue following the trail SE and east as it begins to gain elevation more seriously. The trail/old roadbed will turn south and then come to another switchback at 12,240 feet. Make the turn and walk to yet another switchback at 12,360 ft. At this point, we would suggest departing the trail and heading in a generally easterly direction to gain the ridge above. This ridge is also on the Continental Divide. Most of the gain will be on steeper, but easy to handle tundra. Once on the ridge, follow it north to the summit of Golden Bear. Along the way, you'll pass at least a couple of "humps" before arriving at the rather indistinguishable summit. You may encounter some patches of rocky rubble along the way, but most of the remaining hike is still on tundra. In low clouds, it may be difficult to ascertain if you've hiked to the highest point. You may want to check your GPS. As with most Front-range peaks, expect high winds.
For the trip back, while it is possible, we would not suggest a descent directly west, to intersect the trail you used earlier farther down because of some rough sections of rubble. It's best to walk back to the south before launching your descent. Otherwise, continue north on the Continental Divide to Hagar Mountain, passing over the tri-county high point along the way.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
Mountain Handbook ›
Golden Bear Peak
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"Keep close to Nature's heart... and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean." John Muir