Climb Table Mountain in the Red Mountain Open Space

5 miles 1200 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Josiah Roe

Unparalleled views of "The Big Hole" aka Red Mountain Open Space and 1.8 billion years of geological history.

Table Mountain sits smack dab in the middle of Red Mountain Open Space, an area known to geologists (and settlers) as "The Big Hole", a singular and unique landform that peaks into the "basement" rocks that underly northern Colorado and Southeastern Wyoming. Soapstone cliffs and bright red Dakota Sandstone are just some of the remarkable features that can be seen along miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails.

To get to Red Mountain Open Space, take Co. Road 21 from Terry Lake Road, and after 9 miles take the clear turnoff left from Antelope / Red Canyon Road (about .75 miles *before* the main parking are). From Red Canyon Road you can see where the road visibly crosses over Sand Creek. If you do not have a vehicle you trust to cross over the creek, park here.

Take the road across the creek and up the hill, passing an abandoned and rusted tow truck. A series of hills will be to your left, with the north face of Table Mountain clearly in view. Near the highpoint of the road (before it drops down to connect with County Road 23), take a left through a saddle and drop down to cross the drainage below the face of the mountain.

Technically the land to the west of the barbed-wire fence remains private land (though the owner has graciously deeded it to the City and County on his passing), so stick to the east of the fence and proceed up face of the mountain along the obvious use trails.

Contour along the east face. There are several points at which the main summit ridge can be gained, at which point head back north to the summit which is marked with a large pile of stones.

You'll be rewarded with amazing views of "The Big Hole" to the north, the Rockies (including Mt. Meeker and Long's Peak to the SW), the High Plains, and on a clear day the City of Fort Collins to the South. 

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A couple quick notes!

This article is very well written, thank you! So well written, in fact, that I didn't do any other homework before making the trip up. In case anyone else is about to make the same mistake, let me share a couple of things that I learned the hard way: First, there are no dogs allowed in this open space. There are several signs pointing this out and the trailhead was actually quite busy, so I decided it best to follow the rules. It was far too hot to leave the pup in the car, even in early April, so I didn't get to enjoy the trails this time. Even if the weather had been cool enough to do so, there is also a sign warning of multiple break-ins at the trailhead, so make sure you don't bring anything you can't carry. Also worth mentioning is that the hike described here is posted as closed to the public, and the road that crosses the creek does have a closed gate across it. I'm sure that it could be managed with minimal trouble, and it definitely looked fun, just be aware that you'll be traveling through posted off-limits areas from the start. Still giving four stars here, because even though we didn't get to hike, the drive in was beautiful and I'm itching to go back without the pup. If you enjoy the more desolate and arid side of Colorado, you'll feel at home here.

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We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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