Mike’s Hikes #4: Bald Mountain on August 23rd

By Alaina Geibig 7 months agoNo Comments

Bald Mountain: Sunday, August 23rd

Overview: Meet at the WSCC office at 204 Poplar Ave. at 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, August 23rd. Our very own volunteer trip leader and staff member, Ben Katz, joins  Mike Burkley to co-lead this hike.

The WSCC COVID-19 safe hike protocols will apply to this hike. Since we wear masks for other’s safety, please increase your fellow hiker’s comfort by wearing a mask.

The area offers exceptional views of the West Elks, Raggeds, the San Juan’s and all the way to the Maroon Bells and beyond. The long drive up to the trailhead takes you through a predominantly conifer and aspen forest – which has been heavily logged over the last 50 years – and is scheduled for more timber sales and logging starting in 2021.  Along the drive up on the forest road, we will point out where the past and future logging activity is located.  This area is prime mule deer, elk and black bear habitat.

Trail Description: We will hike approximately 4 miles on this out-and-back trail. From our parking area at Bald Mountain Reservoir, we will hike approximately 1 mile to the junction with Mendicant Ridge Trail.  NOTE that we may need to park further from the trailhead, adding up to an additional mile in total to the hike. From there we will climb steeply along this rocky, loose trail for a short distance and leave the trail and take a gentle, easy climb to the top of Bald Mountain.  If time permits, we can add on some hiking along the Bald Mountain Tie-In trail with more spectacular views of the West Elk Mountains.  

Starting elevation is approximately 11,000, with an ending elevation of about 11,800.  Be prepared for a high altitude hike.

COVID-19 Protocols: Our community is still in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we will be following all necessary protocols to ensure a safe hike for everyone involved. The following restrictions will be followed at all times throughout the hike:

  • We will have no more than 10 people total on this hike. Please RSVP below.
  • Maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from members of other households at all times, except in cases where it is unsafe to maintain that distance. Social distancing (6 ft apart) will be followed at all times with hikers not of the same household
  • Separate cars must be taken to the trailhead
  • Masks must be worn when not actively hiking. Please bring a mask with you on this hike.
  • Hikers will all bring their own equipment, including water, hand sanitizer, and food/snacks. Please aquire all equipment and supplies you might need for the trip prior to arriving for the hike.
  • Do not come on the hike if you feel sick or have symptoms
  • We will follow all Safer at Home and Leave No Trace guidelines

Trip Leader: Ben Katz and Mike Burkley

Where: Bald Mountain

Difficulty:  Moderate due to the 4-mile length and 800-ft elevation change.  There is one 40 foot section that is extremely steep with loose rocks- certainly hiking poles are necessary here.  Otherwise, this is a moderate stroll.

When:  Sunday, August 23rd. We will meet at the WSCC office (204 Poplar Ave.) at 8:00 am. We will need to take separate cars – one per family. The drive to the trailhead is roughly 1 hour and 50 minutes, and you can expect 2-3 hours of hiking.  We may stop at 1 or 2 spots along the road to point out past and future logging activities.   The last half of this drive is over a rocky surface, with the last 5 miles requiring 4X4 and preferable higher clearance.  I would not recommend a low-clearance passenger vehicle, although some people do drive these vehicles to the end of the road.

What to bring: Good hiking boots, hiking poles, plenty of water, lunch/snacks, sun protection, and bug spray. 

How to get to the trailhead: Travel south on HWY 92 from Crawford to Crystal Creek Road.  Turn east onto Crystal Creek Road and continue for approximately 15 miles to the parking near Bald Mountain Reservoir.


Bald Mountain


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