The Grizzly Peak hike in the Front Range of Colorado is the perfect combination of exhilarating (and tough) terrain with amazing views.
Along the way to the summit of Grizzly Peak, at 13,427 feet in elevation, you will also pass by Cupid Peak at 13,117 feet. Getting to take on two 13ers in one hike is sure to be a fun filled day out in the mountains.
This hiking overview will talk through all the important things to know when taking on the Grizzly Peak hike and help better prepare you for the trail!
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1) Hiking Overview
Let’s start off with some basic round trip hiking stats regarding the out & back trail to Grizzly Peak.
- Trail Name: Grizzly Peak & Cupid Peak
- Grizzly Peak Elevation: 13,427 feet
- Cupid Peak Elevation: 13,117 feet
- Trailhead Location: Loveland Pass
- Distance: 5.4 miles
- Elevation Gain: 2,600 feet
- Duration: 4+ hours
- Trail Type: Out & Back
- Terrain: Dirt & Rocks
There are a few important things to note regarding the Grizzly Peak hike:
- In Colorado there are a few peaks with the name “Grizzly Peak”. This one is named the Grizzly Peak D hike.
- Another popular way to extend your hike is to add on the nearby Mt Sniktau to the day. This longer version of the trail (Sniktau, Cupid, and Grizzly), comes in at around 8 miles of hiking and 3,000 feet of elevation gain.
- The final ascent up Grizzly Peak is no easy task. In just 0.2 miles, you will ascend around 600 feet of elevation. It is a rocky scramble up to the top so be prepared!
2) Grizzly Peak Trailhead & Parking
The Grizzly Peak trailhead is located directly on the side of the road on top of the Loveland Pass / Continental Divide.
On Google Maps, you may see the trailhead parking lot named “Grizzly Peak Trailhead”. Here you will find around 25-30 spots to park.
Many people park at this lot, not only to take part of the hike offerings but also to simply visit the Continental Divide on the Loveland Pass, which is directly across the street from the trailhead.
Due to this, the lot will fill up early and often. However, people do come and go, and spots can open up constantly throughout the day.
If you arrive at the trailhead parking lot, and it is completely filled up, there are a few more options to consider.
About 0.3 miles further down the road (heading south), there are two more parking lot areas. These can fit an additional 15-20 cars each. And if all three of those are full, another 0.3 miles down the road is the Pass Lake parking lot.
In the photo below (taken from the trail), you can see the 4 parking areas along the road. Hopefully this can give you a better sense of the parking lot situation near the trailhead.
During my time on the trail, I arrived around 6:30AM on a summer weekend and grabbed one of the last spots in the main lot. I assume during the week, there is a bit more flexibility on getting there early.
Colorado Car Rental: Looking for a rental car in Colorado? Check out Rentalcars.com for a variety of options that can work well on your trip.
3) Grizzly Peak Trail Map
To get a better sense of the trail route, trailhead, and parking locations, you can take a look at the map below that lays it all out.
4) Weather Forecast
When it comes to hiking up Grizzly Peak, it will be very important to pay attention to the weather forecast. Since all of the hike is done above the tree line, you have to be cautious for those thunderstorms that are common in the summer months.
In addition, the views are just so much better without those low lying or thick clouds. Saving this hike for a nice weather day is your best bet.
I would recommend checking out a few different weather forecasts prior to taking on the hike (links are to the nearby Mount Sniktau to avoid confusion with other Grizzly Peaks):
Also note, that the Loveland Pass area is known for its strong winds. Be sure to bring multiple layers to prepare for the weather, and the potential windy conditions.
Hiking Resources & Checklist
Before heading out for the trails, be sure to read up on some of the hiking resources up on the site. These are here to better prepare you for all types of outdoor adventure.
5) Where to Stay
If you aren’t local to the area, then there are a few nearby towns to consider staying in during your trip. Spending a few days in the general area will have you nearby to many other top hikes that Colorado has to offer.
One of the more convenient locations to stay in would be Georgetown, which is located just 20 minutes away from the trailhead. It is a small historic town and makes for a relaxing stay. A few top options to consider include:
- Microtel Inn & Suites: while located just outside the town center, the hotel sits right on Georgetown Lake and is just minutes away from all that Georgetown has to offer.
- Georgetown Mountain Inn: if you are looking for a quiet, comfortable and affordable choice, the Inn has everything you need to enjoy a visit.
- Rose Street Bed & Breakfast: this B&B is located directly next to the town center and is the perfect choice for those that want a more homey feel when it comes to accommodation.
A more major hub is Silverthorne, which is also located 20 minutes away from the trailhead. You may find more options around here; however, it will be a different type of feel compared to a small town like Georgetown.
- The PAD: whether you are looking for a hostel room or a comfortable room for the whole family, the PAD is one of the newer hot spots in town. It is a lively and fun place to spend your time at.
- Indigo Silverthorne: the top hotel option in Silverthorne is the Indigo, located right next to the new downtown. The rooms are beautiful, the amenities are plenty, and it offers everything you will need.
6) The Grizzly Peak Hike
After finding parking at one of nearby lots (hopefully the trailhead one!), it is time to ascend to the top of Grizzly Peak.
From the trailhead parking lot, you will come across some stone steps that will begin the ascent up the mountainside.
This first portion of the hike is one of the toughest. In just under 1 mile, you will gain around 1,000 feet of elevation.
This happens immediately from the start too. So, there is no warming up on some less steep terrain. It is just a constant uphill climb from the trailhead up to the saddle.
Be sure to take breaks as needed here as it is a difficult start. There are a couple very short flat sections, where you can do so.
In the third photo shown below, you can see Grizzly Peak off in the distance. Get ready for some more climbing soon!
Also, be sure to take a few peeks out behind you. While you will get these views coming down, the surrounding mountain views will help distract you from the climb.
Once you reach the saddle, you will see trails going in either direction. To the right is the trail that continues to Cupid Peak and Grizzly Peak. To the left is the trail that heads up Mt Sniktau.
After taking a much-deserved break at the large rock pile, it is time to begin the traverse towards Grizzly Peak.
Now, one of the most important things to know about this hike is that it is not simply an ascent followed by a descent. Instead you will find several ups and downs throughout the hike.
So, once you turn right on top of the saddle, you will begin to lose elevation along the ridge. The photo below shows the trail descending, before the climb back up begins.
After a bit of an easy downhill descent, follow the pathway etched into the mountainside towards Cupid Peak. The trail will continue to offer beautiful views with mountains out behind you and off to the side.
Once you reach the high point of the trail on this mountain, you will see rock piles on your left hand side. Near these rocks is where the Cupid Peak summit is located.
So, if you want to officially stand on top of it, you will need to quickly veer off the main trail and up to the summit.
At this point, you will also begin to see Grizzly Peak out in front of you. Its steep ascent will be in view as you now begin to descend once more.
The trail descends to a low point before heading up and over some smaller hilly sections of the route.
There are a couple rockier portions during these sections of the trail, so just be careful as you make your way to the base of Grizzly Peak.
It is now time for the climb up to the summit. I would recommend taking a nice break first to get ready for that push to the peak. From the photos below you can see the steepness of the climb and what it entails.
The ascent up is a mixture of easy to follow trail along with plenty of rocky sections to carefully maneuver your way around. Take breaks as needed and slowly make your way up to the summit.
Once up top, you will be welcomed to some amazing 360 degree views of the surrounding mountainous landscape.
Torreys Peak and Grays Peak will be directly out in front of you, with hundreds of other mountains all around.
After enough time up top, it is time to begin that descent back down to the trailhead. Remember what I said though – this is not going to be a straight descent. Instead, there will be some elevation gain to be had on the way down too.
First you will need to carefully descend down the Grizzly Peak portion of the route. Be careful here as there can be many loose rocks all around.
Once you make it down to the base, it is time to head back up the first of two inclines (see below).
After making it to the top, the trail descends once again. Not before long, the second major elevation gain during the descent will occur as you make your way back up towards the Cupid Peak area.
Don’t worry though – once you make it to Cupid Peak, the rest will be a downhill descent.
If you take a look at the map that I included earlier on, you will see that there is a secondary trail that connects to the main route.
While you can take this route up and down, I included it here on the descent only. This will have you skipping the incline back up the Grizzly-Sniktau saddle, and instead heading directly to the parking lot.
Be on the lookout for a large rock cairns pile, where you will make a left hand turn.
From there it is an easy downhill hike as you soon connect back with the main trail. Before you know it, you will be back at the parking lot, finishing up a successful climb up Grizzly Peak (and Cupid Peak)!
That about wraps up an overview to the Grizzly Peak hike of the Front Range in Colorado. If you have any questions or comments, be sure to add them in below.
Have fun out there and safe travels!
Looking for 14ers? Check out some more Colorado hiking guides for nearby peaks in the area including:
– Mount Elbert
– Huron Peak
– La Plata Peak
– Mount Yale
– Mount Harvard
– Mount of the Holy Cross
– The Decalibron
– Quandary Peak
– Mount Massive