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

Mom, Solo Colorado 14er Finisher, Outdoor Enthusiast, Traveler, and Girl Scout Leader with an MBA in International Business and Marketing. I value adventure, growth, courage, wisdom, integrity, accountability, and family. I enjoy yoga, wine, whiskey, traveling, reading, and the outdoors. I strive to be the person who inspires and motivates myself and others to succeed.

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