Hike the East Ridge of Pacific Peak

Colorado McCullough Gulch North Trailhead

Added by Kyle Frost

  • One of Colorado's Centennial peaks (13,950 ft)
  • Approximately 8 miles RT
  • 3,500 ft of elevation gain

Start from the McCullough gulch trailhead. If possible it would be worth having 2 cars and leaving one at the main McCullough trailhead so you don't have to walk the road on your way down.

Bushwack through trees and willows up the ridge directly to the north of the trailhead. You might be lucky and find a few faint trails, but you're mostly on your own here. After ascending above treeline, veer west and follow the obvious ridgeline towards the peak.

The ridge starts off with wide tundra and light tallus, but as you continue begins to offer more exciting scrambling and exposure. You can definitely keep the whole ridge to low Class III/Class II the whole way, but we also found plenty of spots to get some fun Class IV scrambling in. Increase the difficulty by staying directly on the ridgeline, or drop to the south side for easier terrain.

Once the ridge peters out, cross a large tallus field to the prominent summit of Pacific Peak, directly ahead.

To return, either retrace your steps back along the ridge, or drop down to the south and into the McCulloch Gulch trail. You'll have to cross a large tallus basin before picking up the trail near the bottom slopes of Quandary. If taking this route, you'll exit at the McCulloch Gulch trailhead and have to hike or hitch a ride back to the north trailhead.

Pack List

  • 10 essentials
  • plenty of water
  • weather appropriate clothing
  • topo map
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Skill Level:



Spring, Summer, Autumn

Trail Type:



8 Miles

Elev. Gain:

3500 Feet




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How to Get There

10 months ago

Long Fun Day

This is a very long but fun climb with decent exposure. Requiring constant attention, you'll only come to realize the day is almost already over when your legs begin to beg you to stop. High exposure, bring plenty of water and prepare yourself for a long day of fun.

10 months ago

Added by Kyle Frost

Designer and Adventure Photographer based in Boulder, Colorado. Fan of mountains, coffee, beer, and witty banter. Available for commissions and collaborations. I'm @kylefrost pretty much everywhere.

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