Winter Travel on Deer Mountain
At some time in almost every Rocky Mountain National Park winter, a long, warm, dry spell makes cross-country skiers and snowshoers despair and think of setting up banana farms near Estes Park. This is the time to hike up Deer Mountain, when you likely will encounter little snow. During other times, such as when the skiing is good at Bear Lake or Glacier Basin Campground, the north-facing switchbacks on Deer Mountain will still have fairly deep snow. The zigzag nature of the trail causes climbers up Deer Mountain to move constantly from bare trail to snowy trail. On-off, on-off with skis or snowshoes is a significant nuisance. Once on top, the trail usually holds snow in winter. But during the banana-belt periods, you may be able to walk a more or less dry route all the way. The trail undulates for more than a half mile along the mountaintop to a trail junction where a sharp right turn leads a few steep yards to the summit. Many of the summer’s best views from Deer Mountain are even better in winter. Snow on the high peaks of the Mummy Range to the north and Front Range to the south add considerable drama to these vistas. Low-angle winter light on the peaks gives the mountains more texture than in summer, although the shift of the sun to the south reduces the texture on the Mummy Range. Highlights: Views of Mummy Range and Front Range, picturesque limber pine, Deer Mountain summit.
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Trail Statistics & Information
|Nearby City||Estes Park|
|Skill Level||Easy to moderate|
|Trailhead Elevation||8,930 ft|
|Top Elevation||10,013 ft|
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