Grouse Mountain

Where to begin at Mueller State Park?

How about at the very top?

It’s not as hard as it sounds at this Teller County preserve, a 5,000-acre mosaic of mixed forests, wavy meadows, rugged outcrops and hidden ponds.

The high point of the park is Grouse Mountain. This might be the easiest high point you’ve ever reached.

The spur is marked as No. 16 on the numbered trail system, spanning more than 50 miles. It springs from No. 17, Cheesman Trail, a loop traveling nearly 6 miles that offers a proper tour of the park’s scenery and history; it’s especially great during fall colors. Perhaps Grouse Mountain is a mere sidestep to that journey. At any rate, the view from the summit is among the best in all of the Pikes Peak region.

The trailhead is at the end of the road through the campground. Go straight on No. 17. No. 16 is to the left in about a tenth of a mile.

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The ascent is steady and steep but not long. The trail soon flattens and meets a rock pile, which serves as the overlook. America’s Mountain boldly looms straight ahead, above the sweeping valley. The high peaks of the Sangre de Cristo range scrape the sky to the southwest.

Likely, you’ll want to log some more miles for the price of admission to the park. If not Cheesman, consider Outlook Ridge Trail, another we’ve spotlighted in this series. This one is marked No. 7, touring several viewpoints along 4 miles. We also recommend Elk Meadow, which we last looped in about 2 miles.

Trip log: 1 mile round trip (out and back), 204 feet elevation gain, 9,845 feet max

Difficulty: Easy

Getting there: Going west on U.S. 24, turn left for Colorado 67 at the stoplight in Divide. Follow to the park’s entrance on the right. Continue straight on the road to the campground and veer right at the sign directing to the Grouse Mountain trailhead.

FYI: Trail to Grouse Mountain for feet only; other trails multi-use. Day pass $9 per vehicle. Dogs prohibited on all park trails.


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