(G & M: #615)
Easy to include with a day of climbing the Arapaho Peak summits (north & south), "Old Baldy" can be ascended on easy Class 1 terrain in about 15 - 20 minutes from the saddle east of South Arapaho. The rounded summit offers an excellent view of the east face of the cirque below the Arapaho Peaks and of the "glaciers." Trailhead is accessible by passenger car & close to Front Range locations.
Old Baldy West Ridge Route
RT From Fourth of July:
If coming from the northern Front Range areas or up from Boulder, drive to Nederland and from the traffic circle where the three main roads intersect, drive south on SH119 .7 mile and turn right (west) onto CR130 to Eldora. If coming from the south by way of SH119, this turnoff will be just south of town just after a couple of switchback curves in the highway drop you down to town level. Turn left (west) and drive to Eldora on paved road, passing the high school and the turnoff for the Eldora Ski area. From SH119, it's 1.5 miles to the ski area turnoff. Continue through the town of Eldora where the paved road ends and continue in a NW direction on CR130 to the Fourth of July Trailhead and campground which is about 7.6 more miles. The road becomes progressively rougher but does not necessarily require high clearance or 4WD, but you might be more comfortable with a higher clearance vehicle at least. Especially on weekends, the last half mile or more to the trailhead, you may see numerous cars parked along the road and may have to park some distance away, yourself. On the Trails Illustrated map, after the historical site of Hessie, this upper section of road is labelled CR111/The Fourth of July Road and ends at what the map calls the "Buckingham Trailhead."
There is a small campground and a trailhead parking area above. There's a vault toilet available.
Other than the small campground at the trailhead, because there's so much private property on the drive in, finding any legal, at-large camp spots is difficult. Expect the campground to be full any time around a weekend. There are about 10 tent spots for use and no water supplied, but there is a vault toilet. No fee is collected for the campground, but that can always change. "No Camping" is signed at the trailhead parking. There is an overnight parking fee. Because of the popularity of this trailhead, expect the parking area to fill up early on weekends.
Year Climbed: 1998
From the Fourth of July TH, hike up the trail that eventually leads to Arapaho Pass. There is one switchback right at the beginning and then another more pronounced switchback about 1/2 mile up. The trail is well-used, easy to follow and ascends at a fairly gentle gradient. At 1.6 miles up, the trail comes to the Fourth of July mining ruins. (See coordinates provided.) The trail for the Arapaho Peaks turns off in this vicinity and was signed when we passed by in 2012. You may see other trails earlier that serve as a shortcut. Most likely, the Forest Service discourages their use.
From the trail intersection, head up past low trees and onto open tundra slopes. The trail heads NE and E as if climbs steadily on switchbacks through mostly tundra terrain that gives way to more rock higher up. Near the saddle between South Arapaho and "Old Baldy," (UN13,038) the trail joins the "Glacier Trail" coming in from the east.
Once at the saddle, walk east mostly on "use trail" along the ridge crest to the summit of Old Baldy over more rocky terrain with boulders. Enjoy the excellent view of the Arapaho Peaks and the cirque below the peaks with the Arapaho Glacier. Return by the same route or descend to the previous saddle and continue to South Arapaho Peak.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.
Mountain Handbook ›
Old Baldy 13078
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