September 11, 2016

Grays Peak – 14,270′

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2,770' (Mt. Lincoln - 25.1 mi SW)
Summit/Clear Creek County
8 mi SW of Georgetown
12 mi E of Dillon

East Slopes (Class 1)
Grays-Torreys Combo (Class 2)

Google Maps


This is the 19th 14er I've hiked, first back in July 2015 with my friend Kevin. I hiked it a second time with several friends in June of 2016, and will likely visit its summit many more times in the future. It is the 9th tallest peak in Colorado and the tallest in the Front Range. Grays Peak cannot be seen from the north, east, or south except from higher ground, but dominates the eastern skyline, together with its shorter neighbor just to the north, Torreys Peak, of the populated areas off to the west around the Dillon Reservoir. 

The standard route follows a heavily worn but very good Class 1 trail up its east slopes from the Grays Peak Trailhead at 11,280'. This is one of the easiest and most popular trails on any of the Colorado 14ers - literally a stroll up a mountain - and often hosts hundreds of visitors on a summer weekend, despite the fact that the 4WD road to the trailhead is quite rough. To avoid the crowds, one must seek alternate less-traveled routes to the top.

Both times that I have summited Grays Peak, I did so after first summiting Torrey's Peak via the Class 3 Kelso Ridge route. From the top of Torreys, a loose but continuous trail winds its way down Torreys' south slope and reaches a wide saddle between the two peaks at about 13,700'. Continue straight (south) on another trail that winds its way up to the summit of Grays. There's not much to say here... these trails are there, easy to follow, and require no route finding whatsoever. After summiting Grays, it gets even easier (shocking!) as the route back to the trailhead follows the standard Class 1 East Slopes route. If you're lucky, you might hike past a group of mountain goats on the way down. 

There are somewhere around a dozen or more established routes up Grays and Torreys, so I will have to go back several more times and try different ones. These peaks are also popular ski hikes, something I hope to do more of in the near future. Being so close to I-70, both are relatively easy to access even when snow blankets the mountains. 


Trip Reports

Grays & Torreys (July 2015)