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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Engelmann Peak

September 28, 2023

Engelmann Peak | 13,362 feet

5.7 miles; 3739 feet elevation gain

Total time: 5 hours 12 minutes

I will start this post by saying, this route is mostly off-trail hiking with a healthy dose of bushwacking. It requires some navigation skills until tree line when you will clearly see the remainder of your route. We went into this day with a the plan of completing the whole loop of five peaks shown in the route. We did not achieve this goal and unfortunately only got Engelmann because of some weird altitude sickness. I will be back next summer to complete this incredible route because wow it is stunning. This is a great resource if you want to do the entire loop.

The route starts at Ruby Gulch Trailhead and begins up the road for about 0.75 miles. You will then branch off the trailhead and head up into the trees, staying to the left of the ravine/gully. This segment is completely off trail until you reach the tree line. There are a few cairns marking the route and we added a few more on our descent. It is very steep with lots of downed trees. Once you reach the tree line the steepness continues as you climb directly up to the ridgeline. You will then follow the ridgeline to the summit of Engelmann. There is no trail for 90% of this ascent although you can see your objective once you emerge from the trees. This route is extremely steep with a lot of elevation gain in a short distance, see stats above. From the summit of Engelmann the remainder of the route is in view. Unfortunately I experienced altitude sickness for the first time ever near the summit and we chose to turn around here and head down the way we came up, which was only marginally faster than the ascent because of how steep and loose it is.

We had summer conditions for this peak but there was already some snow, shown in the photos, on Bard and Parnassus. This peak isn't for the faint of heart and is a true grind to all the way to the summit. But as with any type two fun...I will be back to do it again!

Hike Details:

Trailhead: accessible in any car.

Camping: dispersed camping on Jones Pass.

Fees & Reservations: none.

Bathrooms: none.

Trash: no garbage at the trailhead.

Dog-friendly: this route is dog friendly.

Recent Conditions: see peak conditions.

Forecast: (nearest peak).

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