Montgomery Pass, north of Cameron Pass, Colorado
Maps: USGS 1:24K quad: Clark Peak; Trails Illustrated 1:41K: 112 Poudre River/Cameron Pass
Access: From Hwy 287 at Tedís Place, drive west on Hwy 14 56.2 miles to the Zimmerman Lake parking area just west of Joe Wright Reservoir. TH for Montgomery Pass is just across the highway from the parking area.
Trailhead: NAD83 zone 13 425289e 4487963n Elev: 10,020'
Trail: 1.75 mi to Montgomery Pass with ~1000 ft gain; Another 1.5 mi to the tallest Diamond Peak with ~850 ft gain.
Dogs: Voice control most of the way; Right at the pass youíre in Colorado State Forest and they generally post that dogs must be on leash.
Weather: Current and recent conditions from the NOAA Local Forecast from the NWS
August 8, 2007
The day was a fine specimen of a summerís day in the mountains, with a bright blue sky to complement the verdant green of the pine forest. Christine and my two dogs, Frank and Makenzie, led the way up the trail through this bright Colorado forest of lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce. The trail follows an old logging road, and so is fairly steep but wide, and the grade is smooth. We huffed and puffed up the trail quickly in the morning light, with Christine relating to me her hiking adventures over the last year when she lived in Pennsylvania. Reminds me how much I like living in the west!
In due course, we arrived at timberline, and then out into an open field of green tundra with the Rawahs stretching away to the north, and the Diamond Peaks stretching to the south towards Cameron Pass. We walked west over the open terrain, still under brilliant blue skies, and reached a group of 5 people hanging out near the signpost designating Montgomery Pass. Christine and I hadnít planned on what to do exactly once we reached Montgomery Pass, but it seemed like it would be fun to explore to the north, as both of us had hiked to the Diamond Peaks from Cameron Pass before. However, the group of 5 hikers set off just as we arrived and walked north, spreading themselves out so it was both difficult to pass, and yet frustrating to be stuck behind. Thus, we decided that the Diamond Peaks were quite nice and worth seeing again, and set off to the south.
The first hill was very steep, and I sidehilled back and forth to gain the top. Frank and Makenzie made it look easy. To the west, we could see down into North Park, and from this vantage we could clearly see the devastation wrought by the pine bark beetle. Millions of brown pines speckled the forest below, sometimes grouped in patches that covered entire hillsides. The wind was brisk, and even though it was August and the sun was out, it was very chilly. We tried to keep to the lee side of each ridge we were hiking up to stay warmer. We reached the top of the first hill, and from there could see the three humps of the Diamond Peaks stretched out to the south. We hiked to the middle peak, and decided that was far enough. Here we stopped and ate lunch, trading some snack items for variety. I threw rocks for Makenzie to chase (at her request) while Frank just sat and enjoyed the view of Joe Wright Reservoir below. We retraced our steps back to Montgomery Pass, and then leisurely strolled back downhill through the cool forest, and to the car. The entire hike took perhaps 4 hours.