Grays Peak - Torreys Peak
The Adventure Guide to Grays and Torreys Peaks include a trail description of the Grays Peak Trail, The Grays Peak North Slope route, and Torreys Peak South Slope route, photographs of the trails and routes, comments from our hikes, mileage data, the Grays Peak - Torreys Peak topo map, and GPS tracklogs. The guide will familiarize you with the peaks and help you on your climb.
Date Climbed: 27JUL11
Grays Peak Elevation: 14,270 feet
Torreys Peak Elevation: 14,267 feet
Range: Front Range, Colorado, Arapaho National Forest
Grays & Torreys (trailhead) Latitude: 39.66081, Longitude: -105.78397, Elevation: 11,270 feet
Grays Peak Route: North Slopes
Torreys Peak Route: South Slopes
Gray Peak One-Way Mileage: 3.75
Torreys Peak One-Way Mileage: 3.70
Grays and Torreys Combo Loop: 8.30
For Map, Trail Mileage, GPS, and Trail Notes go to Page 2
We climbed Grays and Torreys by the standard routes in 2007 and 2009. In 2010 we climbed Kelso Mountain. In 2011 we climbed Kelso Ridge on Torreys Peak, descended the South Slopes, climbed the North Ridge of Grays, then descended the North Slopes.
Grays and Torreys are very popular. A good trail leads to the summit of Grays and almost as good of trail goes to Torreys. Each summit has interesting views.
Directions to Grays Peak Trailhead (Stevens Gulch): From Interstate 70, take exit 221, the exit is between Georgetown (to the East) and the Eisenhower Tunnel (to the West). A large parking area is on the south side of the exit, if you decide to walk up the sometimes rough road. From the Interstate it is 3 miles on Stevens Gulch Road to the trailhead. The mountain road has a lot of traffic and can be a dusty hike. The road conditions vary. Most years the road seems to be in bad condition and is a 4wd road.
From the trailhead kiosk, cross the creek on a good bridge. The trail begins by following an old mining road.
The trail starts at treeline but the ever present willows encroach on each side of the trail keeping the hikers on the path.
The Grays Peak North Slopes Trail is part of the Continental Divide Trail system. Backpacking over the top of Grays Peak would be a hard endeavor. Grays Peak is the highest point on the trail.
At about 11,880 feet the trail makes a sharp left turn (or switchback). The switchback is .80 miles from the trailhead. Kelso Mountain sits high above this position.
The trail gently continues along the south slopes of Kelso Mountain for .70 miles to a large trail sign. The sign indicates that the Grays Peak Trail is part of the National Trail System but does not mention the Continental Divide designation.
A creek draining the bowl beneath Grays and Torreys is crossed in .10 miles.
At 1.85 miles from the trailhead, a small trail goes to the right. The trail accesses Kelso Mountain and Kelso Ridge on Torreys Peaks. These routes are not trails. At 12,310 feet, the summit is less than 2000 vertical feet to go!
Continue straight as the trail positions itself just below a ridge.
The trail will continue to the west of the ridge until reaching the upper slopes.
The view of the route from Kelso Mountain gives a good perspective.
In .95 miles from the Kelso Junction, the trail reaches another junction.
Torreys Peak South Slope route leads to the west to the saddle between Grays and Torreys. To only climb Torreys or to climb Torreys first, turn right and begin the traverse.
To climb Grays Peak, stay left at the junction. The junction is at 13,270 feet, there is 1,000 feet to climb and less than a mile distance to the summit.
The trail leads to a ridge tower just off of the ridge at 13,400 feet.
From the tower, the trail traverses across the North Slope to the center of the face.
At 13,840 feet the trail switchbacks. The first switchback is .50 miles from the Torreys Peak Trail Junction. The above picture is looking back at the climb to the switchback.
The summit is less than a half of a mile away. Continue through a series of short switchbacks to gain the summit at 14,270 feet.
The distance to the summit from Grays Peak Trailhead is 3.75 miles. Enjoy the view!
Torreys Peak Trail Traverse
From mile 2.80 on the Grays Peak Trail, the Torreys Peak Trail begins and traverses across the North Slope of Grays Peak.
After .25 miles the trail turns on two short switchbacks.
A snowfield often lingers on the North Slopes of Grays between the switchbacks and the saddle. Proceed with caution.
At .45 miles from the Grays Peak Trail Junction, the trail joins the North Ridge route descending from Grays Peak. The Grays-Torreys Saddle is just ahead.
Torreys Peak Trail South Slope
From the saddle at 13,707 examine the south slope of Torreys.
Choose a route from the numerous options. There are direct routes that go straight to the summit and longer switchback paths that crisscross the slope. All the paths lead to the same place, the summit. A more direct route is about .40 miles from the saddle (.45 miles from where the junction with the Grays North Ridge Trail.)
At 14,267 feet the trails end at the summit.
The total distance from the Grays Peak Trailhead is 3.70 miles.
Though it can be climbed as either Grays or Torreys as the first peak climbed, most hikers seem to climb Grays first. Follow Grays Peak Trail to the Summit of Grays.
Grays summit in the snowy early summer of 2009.
From the summit of Grays Peak, Torreys Peak is less than a mile away.
Descend the North Ridge of Grays toward Torreys. There is a "Please Stay on the Trail" sign near the summit of Grays.
Follow the improved trail through tight switchbacks for .40 miles to the trail junction with the Torreys Peak Trail. The traversing trail started at 2.80 miles on the Grays Peak Trail.
The saddle between Grays and Torreys is a short distance ahead.
Follow the Torreys Peak Trail South Slope to the summit.
The total mileage to Torreys (over Grays summit) is 4.60 miles.
To return to the trailhead, descend to the Grays-Torreys saddle, traverse across the North Slopes of Grays to join the Grays Peak Trail. Descend the Grays Peak Trail to the trailhead. A total distance of 8.30 miles and a good outing!