Mays Peak – 8,283 and Mt. Buckhorn 8,360

I was looking for a quick hike today because I wanted to be
home by 11am to spend time with my oldest daughter who’s 19 and I feel like I never
see anymore because we have conflicting schedules.  Fridays are my hiking days, but they are also
the only time I have free to see my daughter before she goes to work in the
afternoon.  She sleeps in really, really
late, so I just got up early and headed to the trail, intending to be back by
noon to wake her up for some mother/daughter time.  

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the North Cheyenne
Canyon area recently.  I hear they’ll
close the road in for winter at some point, so I’ve just been going to the same
trailhead and hiking different peaks.  This
is a pretty popular area, with trails to many different areas, so getting there
early is essential.  There’s nothing
really special about Mays Peak or Mt Buckhorn.
They aren’t particularly tall peaks, and they aren’t difficult to find
(they don’t have established trails but they’re both pretty close to the
trail).  However they’re on the map and
they’re labeled, so I figured I’d add them to my list of points to see.  

I parked at the trailhead at Gold Camp Road and High Drive,
and was on the trail at 8:10am.  Here’s
the route I took:

I hiked north on High Drive to just after this sign:

I was at a junction (left is Buckhorn, right is Mays).  

I turned right and took this trail east and then curved
north around the mountain.  For some
reason it looked like they didn’t want me to take this trail, but it was the
way I’d wanted to go, so I did.

The trail looked established, but it’s not on their trail

After rounding the mountain and turning north I decided to try
to find my own way up Mays Peak.  I know
there’s a trail, but I wanted to practice my route finding, so I turned west and
this is what I saw.

I continued west and continued up the hillside.  The only difficult part was avoiding those
darn banana yuccas:  they’re prickly!

I made it to the ‘summit’ and took a few pictures of the
view (to the north I could see the Waldo Canyon Burn Scar)

And one of me to prove I’d summited.

Then I was on my way back down to the junction.  I took 667 south and around the mountain and
then up the hill.

Once the trail started heading north there was a junction that
was difficult to see and unmarked.  You
could go north or west.  Mt Buckhorn is
north, so stay straight.  

Mt Buckhorn is kind of difficult to find, but just keep
heading north and eventually you’ll get there.
First you pass this rock formation

Then you pass a large firepit.

Next you’ll go through a few more

And another very large crater size fire pit

You’ll know you’re at the summit because you’ll come to a
very large area of boulders that defy explanation of how they got there.  These things are HUGE!  The actual summit is on top of this rather
large boulder, that requires ropes to climb.
I’d heard this so I’d come prepared with my helmet.  However, there was absolutely NO WAY of
climbing this rock without ropes.  Trust
me, I spent a good 15 minutes walking all around this thing looking for a
viable route.  This rock is much larger
than it looks (you can camp underneath it).

So I put my helmet away and headed back down.  I couldn’t believe what wonderful weather we
had today!  Here it is, December 1st,
and I’m wearing yoga clothes out on the trail!
It was 65 degrees today in the mountains, with no wind.  

There are many trails in this area, so I had options on my
way back down.  I decided to take the 667
to the 776, mainly because I wanted to see where it went.  

I’d already taken the 667 for quite a ways and knew that
took me to the Kineo cutoff.  The 776
took me down to the area just before the 7 bridges trail.  I could exit just below the North Cheyenne Creek
or just after the 1st bridge, where it turns into 622 (7 bridges

I exited here and took Gold Camp road back to my truck, making
it there at 10:30am.  The hike was quite
pleasant, and although short (5 miles or so?
Maybe a little more…) I didn’t see many people and I was out hiking in
the sunshine.  I was so happy I’d gotten
outside today!  

Author: Laura M Clark

Laura has summited over 500 peaks above 13,000' solo, including being the first woman to solo summit all of the Colorado 14ers, as well as the centennials. After each hike, she writes trip reports for each one and publishes them on her blog, which is read by fans all over the world. Author of Wild Wanderer: Summiting Colorado’s 200 Highest Peaks, which is available to purchase on Amazon.

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