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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Rosalie Peak

Updated: Oct 2, 2023

September 16, 2023

Rosalie Peak | 13,575 feet

10.9 miles; 4293 feet elevation gain

Total time: 6 hours 28 minutes

This is a route that has been on my list for 3 years now and each year it got cancelled for some reason. The plan was to do this as a backpacking trip and summit all three peaks in the Rosalie Group, Rosalie Peak, Epaulie and Epaulet Mountain. The backpacking plan was to pack in and camp near treeline on Friday night then summit all three mountains Saturday and then pack out on the way down. Colorado had other plans in mind and it rained and snowed all day Thursday and Friday with below freezing temperatures predicted Friday night. We decided to alter our plans and go for the same route in a single day push after van camping near the trailhead. The trailhead is a gravel road with a few large potholes but it is accessible in any car and only about an hour from Denver. Of note, this area is full of aspens but none were changing colors yet.

This route is very straightforward but I always recommend downloading the route as there are a few trail splits and no visible trail at times. I utilized the AllTrails download for this hike but also mapped my own route on CalTopo. Saturday morning we started around 5:30am and quickly made it to treeline. We reached the saddle between Rosalie Peak and Pegmatite Points, 4 miles in under 2 hours. While you gain elevation consistently through the trees it is a very well maintained class one trail. Once you reach the saddle the elevation gain intensifies until the summit. When we reached the saddle we discovered that it had snowed around 4-6 inches at this elevation and our trail runners had not been the best shoe choice. The next 1.5 miles to the summer was very slow going with no visible trail, ankle deep snow and a steep incline. It took us about 2 hours to do this section. I imagine it would be a lot easier without snow! From the summit you have stunning views of Mount Blue Sky (previously Mount Evans) and the Sawtooth Ridge, one of my favorite routes.

On the summit we decided we would not be adding on the additional two peaks today due to cold and wet toes and difficult conditions. But, from the summit of Rosalie Peak it would be a fairly quick trip with some loss of elevation and then regain. I will definitely come back to repeat this route and add the additional peaks. While it is a busy trailhead we didn't encounter anyone until the last couple of miles. The summit views are absolutely stunning and there is an alpine lake, that would be beautiful to add on as well. Despite cold toes and some whining about early winter conditions, this was a fun route and I can't wait to come back. After seeing the route I don't think backpacking would be worth it unless you slept above tree line on the saddle in ideal conditions! The first few miles are quick in both directions and backpacking would not save much time and obviously adds a lot more weight for those miles. I will do it as a long single day push in the future!

Hike Details:

Trailhead: accessible in any car

Camping: Deer Creek Campground is nearby. If you want to backpack this route there are a few campsites early on in the route.

Fees & Reservations: none.

Bathrooms: no bathrooms.

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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