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  • Writer's pictureJoanna Lee

Square Top Mountain

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

June 9, 2021

Square Top Mountain A (13,794 feet)

Route: Alltrails (from Guanella Pass)

6.9 miles; 2638 feet elevation gain

Total time: 3 hours 50 minutes

This week's biggest challenge was finding a mountain without ridiculous post-holing conditions. After the weekend it seemed like every trip report on 14ers and every review on alltrails was just a mess of melting snow. To top it off, there were a few wet avalanches last weekend. With very warm temperatures this week we didn't want to end up post holing for miles. There were a couple reviews and reports about Square Top and conditions were much better than our other options so even though we have done this peak before, we went for it again. Weather conditions were ideal, temperatures in the 30s-40s, 10mph winds and clear skies all day.

We left Arvada just before 5am and were hiking by 6:15am, an efficient start to the day. I had Nyx with me and Brittany had Gryff. The first 2 miles are very straightforward and easy in terms of minimal elevation gain. There were a couple snow patches and snowmelt creeks to cross but nothing that required more than hiking boots. The first lake was completely thawed and stunning as usual. At the first lake you branch off the trail to head up the mountain, this is where the elevation gain really starts. For the next mile you climb around 1500 feet of vertical gain. It certainly feels that way too, it is very steep. However, the trail is class one the whole way with a very easy to follow trail. There were a few snow patches but for the most part it was clear. Looking down, we could see the second lake was still mostly frozen!! We reached the summit in about 2 hours and spent about 15 minutes on top taking photos and taking in the views. There were no winds and it was so warm. Two other groups summited while we were up there. The summit is nice and spacious so everyone can enjoy their space. We started heading down the steep incline, which is equally as hard to go down as it was to come up. We stopped for a break at the first lake to let the dogs cool off before finishing the last mile and a half. We passed a few more groups heading back to the car, the hike to the first lake is a pretty popular one so we weren't surprised.

We finished in just under 4 hours, the exact same time that it took us last summer/fall. I felt much more prepared for the incline/elevation gain this time around and honestly found it to be a really enjoyable hike. The views are 360 degrees and you can see many iconic peaks including Bierstadt/Sawtooth and Grays/Torreys. Overall, aside from the challenge of finding a snow-less hike this planning process was very straightforward and we got lucky with another day of amazing weather. Summer is really here!!

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