This hidden gem ascent to Grays Peak will bring you to the same iconic 14er with twice the adventure and half the crowds.

Grays is easily one of the most popular 14ers in Colorado due to its moderate difficulty and proximity to Denver. Grays is an awesome 14er but the crowds take away from the hike. And while the views on top of Grays are amazing, the barren landscape of the hike to get there isn't the most amazing. Instead, by hiking it from the South Ridge you will hike through a lush valley with maybe one other group of hikers and you'll experience a fun and easy scramble to get to the peak.

Getting there:

Just getting to the South Ridge Trailhead is twice as adventurous than the typical approach. 

  • From highway 6, exit to Montezuma Road, right next to Keystone Resort.  
  • Head south on this road for just over 4 miles and turn left onto County Road 260. 
  • Drive down this bumpy dirt road for 5 miles, passing some awesome free dispersed campsites.  This road can be driven in 2wd but it will take a long time. 
  • The road will end at Argentine Pass Trailhead with a parking lot big enough for 15-20 cars so make sure to get there early if hiking on a weekend.

This hike is pretty straightforward as you can see Grays Peak in the distance right from the get go however it's not a popular trail so it's easy to take a wrong turn. 

Here's a brief summary of the trail:

  • About 5-10 minutes into the hike, you will reach a y-shaped trail junction. Do NOT go left. It's deceiving because you feel like you should be heading up the hillside towards the peak but going left just adds an extra 10 minutes of bushwhacking before inevitably running back into the original trail. 
  • Staying in the rocky, doubletrack road, you'll eventually reach a large pyramid-shaped cairn where the road dead ends and you will head left on the obvious trail. 
  • This trail takes you up a hill to a plateau at the base of Grays. Here, there is another large cairn pile and instead of continuing on the well worn trail to the right, head straight up the hill.
  • From here it's easy to find your way. Just follow the ridgline until you reach the top. This is where there is a bit of class 2 scrambling involved. It's really quite easy scamrbling, mostly just a lot of high steps but it does take 1-2 hours to reach the summit from the start of the scrambling.
  • Once you reach the peak, grab a snack and take in the incredible views of mountains in all directions. 

Optional: You can choose to continue on to Torrey's Peak but remember how hard it was to ascend Grays on your way up. By doing Torrey's you will basically be doing three 14ers in one day since you will have to reascend Grays before heading back.

If you want more beta or photos on hiking the South Ridge click here and check out the blog 

Pack List

  • Layers (be prepared for weather to change fast)
  • A lot of water
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera
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RT Distance 8 Miles
Elevation Gain 3200 Feet
Activities Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

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