Pennsylvania Mountain – 13,013

RT Length:  5.35 miles

Elevation Gain:  1509’

I had a lot of work to get done today, but the weather was really nice and I was itching to get out and hike something above 10K, so I picked a peak I could do relatively quickly.  In fact, I think the drive to the trailhead was longer than the hike.  I arrived at the Pennsylvania Mountain Trailhead at 6am and got out my gear.  There are a few turns to navigate to get too the trailhead.  Pro tip:  When I’m unsure if I’ll have cell service on my drive out (thus being able to pull up Google Maps, etc.) I create a road map using CalTopo and add it to my GPX coordinates for the day.  This way I can follow a GPX track back to the main road when I’m done with my hike and don’t need to worry about memorizing or printing out directions. 

I parked at the end of a plowed dirt road in a residential area.  The trail starts to the right

I began with my snowshoes on, and kept them on until making it out of the trees.  I’m sure there’s a trail here in summer, but in winter there wasn’t a solid trail (but there were a lot of ski tracks).  I headed northwest through the trees and willows to treeline.

Once at treeline the route was obvious.  I started climbing the east ridge

The only downside? There were a few false summits

This was the last one however, and included a small decrease in elevation and a plateau before increasing in elevation again.  Here’s the overall route.  It’s really more of a hill at this point than a peak

It’s best to stick to the ridge so you don’t lose too much elevation.  Here I saw a small herd of elk.  They’re in the photos, but too far away to really make out.  I headed northwest towards a mining claim and rock outcropping

Here’s the final push to the summit

The summit was relatively flat. It was difficult to determine exactly where the true summit was.  There was a wind break and a cairns, but they didn’t seem to be at the true high point.  I decided to just walk around all over the summit.

Summit Selfie

Summit of Pennsylvania Mountain

This had been a quick hike so far, and the day was beautiful.  I wanted to stay longer on the summit, but I had to get to work.  I turned around and headed back the way I’d hiked in

I stopped by the mine on the way back. There wasn’t much left of the structure

Then I aimed for the knob in the ridge

And then headed back down all those small, false summits

There were numbered markers scattered all over the hillside.  I think they have something to do with the mining claims

Back near treeline I put my snowshoes back on and headed through the trees and willows to the parking area. 

Here’s a look at the road out

I made it back to my truck at 8am, making this a 5.35 mile hike with 1509’ of elevation gain in 2 hours.

This was a very nice and short, mild winter hike. 

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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