Squaretop Mountain Route Guide
Mt. Bierstadt, Grays & Torreys Peak, Mt. Evans… all of these front range 14ers are crowded in the summer. This year I saw hundreds on Bierstadt on July 4th. Few people realize that Squaretop Mountain, located right between these popular peaks, see few groups climb its summit, despite being a high 13er at 13,794 feet. The last section is a hike without a clear trail, a somewhat rare experience in the area near Denver. Plan your climb up this fun peak with this Squaretop Mountain Route Guide.
Squaretop Mountain Route Guide Fast Facts
Squaretop Mountain Route Guide - Southeast Ridge
From the Guanella Pass trailhead, leave the upper trailhead on the west side of the road. Don’t follow the crowds headed towards Mt. Bierstadt to the east. Cross a series of bridges and continue on a clear path along and up the slope above you.
As you climb you will come to a sign pointing towards Squaretop Lake Top. It’s not obvious, but you should take a left fork here – don’t go straight, although the lakes are gorgeous and worth a side stop if you have the time.
Continue along the trail, which may get hard to see at times, with signs and cairns guiding your forward. Eventually you’ll come across a trail directing you to the right to climb Squaretop Mountain.
From this point on there isn’t an obvious trail. Move across the tundra, and try to walk on rocks wherever possible. If you’re in a group, spread out so you don’t trample the same spots. Follow the ridge up to the summit. There may be some simple scrambling at the very top.
You’ve made it to the summit – enjoy your accomplishment! Enjoy the views of Grays & Torreys Peak to the west, and Mt. Bierstadt and Evans to the east. Head back with time to ensure you’re back at tree line by 1pm to avoid afternoon thunderstorms. I hope you found my Squaretop Mountain Route Guide.
Hiking & climbing 13ers or 14ers is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.
- Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
- Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
- Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
- Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
- Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
- Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.
Hiking, scrambling and climbing up Colorado’s high peaks are inherently high-risk, dangerous activities. There is a significant risk of injury or death, even with proper planning and experience. Those using my Squaretop Mountain route guide accept all risks associated with climbing 14ers and do not hold this website or any information they obtain from it liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while engaging in these activities on Colorado’s high peaks. It is each hiker or climber’s responsibility to research their route carefully, bring the ten essentials, and practice other safe practices, though even these precautions do not eliminate risk and danger. Visit these summits at your own risk.
About the Author: Alex Derr
Alex Derr is a mountaineer and blogger based in Denver Colorado. He is working to climb Colorado’s highest 100 peaks, and the 20 tallest peaks in California. He created The Next Summit to share advice, stories, history & reflections from the Colorado Rockies & Sierra Nevada. When not climbing, he is managing the Communications strategy at Visible Network Labs.