Sunday, September 12, 2010

Storm Pass Trail

The aspens are starting to glow and the elk are bugling, just a great time to be on a Colorado mountain trail. The Storm Pass Trail is a great trail run option in Rocky Mountain National Park. Despite having one trailhead near Longs Peak and the other near Bear Lake, I find very little traffic on this trail. I took off from Lily Lake (the eastern trailhead) before dawn and ran the entire length of the trail to its western trailhead on Bear Lake Road. The one-way length is just a little over 7 miles and tops out at Storm Pass, elevation about 10,300 feet. I crossed Bear Lake Road and tacked on the climb up to Bierstadt Lake for a little extra mileage and climbing. Bierstadt Lake is rather uninspiring, but the views from the ridge just below the lake were worth the climb.

The Glacier Basin as viewed from just below Bierstadt Lake

I turned around at Bierstadt Lake and returned the same route. This out and back totalled just over 17 miles and just under 4000 feet of climbing. There is a great loop option which I've done a couple of times taking Boulder Brook/North Longs Peak up to Granite Pass and then back down the main Longs Peak trail. There are also endless trails heading out of Bear Lake. I was happy staying below treeline today, however, especially after doing big miles last Monday.

One of many great views from the Storm Pass Trail

I'd like to give a shout out to Nick C for winning his first 100-miler (first of many?) at Wasatch this weekend. Also, to Pete S for finishing Wasatch to complete the Grand Slam.

GPS data for today's run.


  1. Sprague Lake up over Granite then down to Storm Pass trail and back to Sprague. 19 miles and 5k vert. Nice route. Thanks for the shout out.

  2. Sprague Lake TH to junction with Storm Pass Trail only 1.6 miles, but that TH not as convenient as Lily Lake or Longs Peak Ranger Station. Also need a National Park pass to get there. May have to run the little out and back from Storm Pass Trail to check out the lake sometime.

  3. Get into the park before 6:00am and no need to worry about passes ;-)