Scenic Buena Vista

Bald Mountain - NNE of Mt. Princeton and Near Colorado Trail
(Photos - May 10, 2008)

Bald Mountain This morning adventure for myself was to stand on the summit of Bald Mountain. I included this adjacent photo to show you its location, which can be see as one travels west on Chaffee County Road 306 ("Cottonwood Pass Road") approximately four miles west of the Buena Vista traffic light.

To get there, travel from Buena Vista on Chaffee County Road 306 and turn left (north) at the Chaffee County Road 342 turnoff. The road splits almost immediately with Chaffee County Road 345 spurring to the right. Go right! That road will take you all the way to the summit of Bald Mountain and be advised that the road becomes quite rough in some spots. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is definitely a good idea.

NOTE: There is another "Bald Mountain" in the general area of Buena Vista. This other Bald Mountain is located on the east side of the Arkansas River Valley, SE of Johnson Village and NE of Nathrop and the Ruby Mountain campground area. It is too bad these beautiful smaller peaks do not have better names besides the generic "Bald Mountain." :p)

Enjoy the photos below. Happy trails!

All the best,

Chaffee County Road 345 The beginning of Chaffee County Road 345, with Mt. Princeton and Bald Mountain in view.

I parked my car just 0.5 miles down the road near the San Isabel National Forest sign. I am generally not crazy about doing hikes on any kind of road (See: "S" Mountain and Mt. Antero), but I was in the mood to walk and get a good hiking workout.

Mt. Princeton
Chaffee County Road 345
The lower portion of the road. The bottom photo is a look back at the valley with Buena Vista and Midland Hill straight out there.
Chaffee County Road 345
San Isabel National Forest
Continuing up the road as it turns west along the side of Charcoal Gulch. (How's that for a name for such an obscure gulch?)

I glanced out there at the forest, noticing the snow and leafless trees. Do you see any signs of spring in that bottom photo? :(

Mt. Princeton Heading up! This northerly view of Mt. Princeton is a constant throughout much of the walk.
Chaffee County Road 345 Aspens surround the road near the top.

This shot reminds me of a visit in May 2007 to Last Dollar Road near Telluride. ;)

Bald Mountain
At the Top of Bald Mountain

Altitude 9,825 Feet

A cellular tower is up there and what do you know, my cell reception was perfect up there with four solid bars! :)

On a side note, Verizon has excellent cell phone coverage throughout the Arkansas River Valley for Buena Vista, Nathrop and Salida. Many other cell providers have no coverage in our area.

Sheep Mountain The conditions today were extremely windy with snow flurries intermittently coming down all morning. It took me one hour and 15 minutes to reach the top.

The best photo among all the grayish clouds and snowfall was probably this view to the west of Sheep Mountain. The two distinct indentations (i.e. valleys) comprise of South Cottonwood Canyon (left - leads to Cottonwood Lake and Mineral Basin) and Cottonwood Canyon (Cottonwood Pass).

Mt. Princeton I sat and relaxed for awhile, and amazingly, the best photo I captured of Mt. Princeton was taken with my cell phone. Not bad!

Oh ... please don't make fun of my shoes. That is a sign of a lot of wear and tear from hiking in these mountains. Plus, I'm uh ... a little low on cash and trying to catch up financially after bicycling across America this year. ;)

Topographical Map A photo of my topographical map detailing this area of Bald Mountain. Notice the Colorado Trail is fairly close to the highest switchback.
Mt. Yale As I began to walk down, the snowy conditions on Mt. Yale subsided and I captured this shot. Turner Peak is the pointed peak to the left and Mt. Yale's stands tall to the right.

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