Grays Peak

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This article is about the mountain in Colorado. For other mountains with similar names, see Gray Peak (disambiguation).
Grays Peak
Grays and Torreys Peaks 2006-08-06.jpg
Grays Peak on left, Torreys Peak on right
Elevation 14,278 ft (4,352 m) NAVD 88[1]
Prominence 2,750 ft (838 m)[2]
Listing Colorado Fourteener
Location
Grays Peak is located in Colorado
Grays Peak
Grays Peak
Colorado
Location Clear Creek / Summit counties, Colorado, U.S.
Range Front Range
Coordinates 39°38′02″N 105°49′03″W / 39.63389°N 105.81750°W / 39.63389; -105.81750Coordinates: 39°38′02″N 105°49′03″W / 39.63389°N 105.81750°W / 39.63389; -105.81750[1]
Topo map USGS Grays Peak
Climbing
First ascent 1861 by Charles C. Parry
Easiest route 3.5 mile (5.6 km) hike on Grays Peak Trail

Grays Peak is the highest mountain in the Front Range of the Southern Rocky Mountains in the U.S. State of Colorado. Grays Peak is the tenth highest summit of the entire Rocky Mountains and is one of 54 fourteeners (mountains of over 14,000 feet (4,268 m) in elevation) in Colorado. Its nearest major city is Denver. Botanist Charles C. Parry made the first recorded ascent of the summit in 1861 and named the peak in honor of his botanist colleague Asa Gray. Gray did not see the peak until 1872, 11 years later. Grays Peak is usually mentioned in conjunction with adjacent Torreys Peak. Grays Peak is located on the Continental Divide of the Americas, as well as the boundary between Clear Creek County and Summit County. The summit of Grays Peak is the highest point on the Continental Divide in North America. (There are higher summits, such as Mount Elbert, which are near the Divide.)

Grays Peak as seen from nearby Torreys Peak

Climbing[edit]

Like the other fourteeners nearby, Grays Peak is considered to be an easy hike by fourteener standards, and is very popular among weekend climbers. Often a climb to the summit of Grays Peak is accompanied by continuing on to Torreys Peak, less than a mile away. The main trail, Grays Peak Trail, departs from Stevens Gulch. To get to the Stevens Gulch Trailhead, take I-70 west from Denver about 50 miles (80 km) to Bakerville Road, exit 221. From there, take Stevens Gulch Road south about 2.5 miles (4 km) to the trailhead. As of the summer of 2009, Steven's Gulch Road is still open for traffic, but is no longer maintained. With cuts in the road over 2 feet deep and large stones in the path, travel to the trailhead is only feasible for high-clearance four-wheel drive vehicles, motorcycles or All-terrain vehicles. From the trailhead, it is a hike of about 3.5 miles (5.6 km) and a climb of 3,040 feet (927 m). The trail, well-marked and well-trodden, begins by following the gulch for a slow rise in elevation, before hitting the steeper slopes. The summit includes a very small U-Shaped rock shelter where a log book is maintained. Extensive views stretch south to Pike's Peak and the San Luis Valley, east to the Great Plains, West to Silverthorne, and north to Longs Peak and Rocky Mountain National Park. At the climber's option, the trail continues from the summit north to Torreys Peak. The trail descends the saddle down to 13,707 ft (4,178 m) before climbing back to the summit of Torreys Peak at 14,267 ft (4,349 m).

Wildlife[edit]

Wildlife in the area includes mountain goat, pika, cougar or mountain lion, mule deer, elk, marmot, coyote, ptarmigan, American red squirrel, and gray jay or Canada jay. Wildflowers that bloom in the tundra area on the Continental Divide of the Americas include moss campion (Silene acaulis), alpine forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris), sky pilot (Polemonium viscosum), sea pink, old-man-of-the-mountain (Asteraceae Rydbergia grandiflora), and mountain gentian (Gentiana). Below the tree-line, the blooms of monkshood or wolfsbane, blue columbine, fireweed, and paintbrush (Castilleja) can be found.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Grays Peak". NGS data sheet. U.S. National Geodetic Survey. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 
  2. ^ "Grays Peak, Colorado". Peakbagger.com. Retrieved 2011-02-20. 

External links[edit]