Gray's Peak is one of the highest elevation points along the Continental Divide. This popular National Recreation Trail offers a strenuous day hike. Join other 14ers as you walk through an alpine basin to the Gray's/Torrey cirque. From here, follow the switchbacks to the summit and enjoy the stunning scenery. The Forest Service recommends that you get an early start to avoid afternoon storms and that you stay alert for weather shifts. Your dog can come with you if they're secure on a cord or leash.
The best time of year to navigate this route is between late June and October. By then, the road to the trailhead should be clear for you. Otherwise, you'll need to start your trek at Steven's Gulch Road, which adds about six miles to your round-trip.
Start your hike with a climb through the basin. There are wildflowers and a creek here that add to the natural beauty of the area. As you emerge from the high-mountain valley, you'll encounter a level path with rocky terrain on the way to the cirque. From here, the road becomes steeper on the way to the peak. The trail includes plenty of switchbacks to make your trek more manageable. Remember to take your time and bring water for you and your special pal.
The reward for your climb is a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and valleys. There's an up-close view of Torrey's Peak, which has a slightly higher elevation. Gray's Peak summit has a stone wind-shelter around it to provide some protection from the elements.
This national trail offers a challenging workout for you and your pooch. Be prepared for hiking in higher elevations before you come. The climb is worth the effort as you catch sight of the majestic mountains, sparkling lakes, and area wildlife. Keep alert, and you might spot a mountain goat out here!