The Montgomery Pass Trail is a moderate hike within both the Roosevelt National Forest and the Colorado State Forest Park. Its trailhead is off Highway 14, across from the 55-vehicle parking lot for Zimmerman Lake Trail, where you'll find a portable toilet. No water is available at the trailhead, so be sure you are toting your own for the trip.
The first portion of the trail is pretty steep, but it levels off as you reach the ridge. While this section requires an arduous climb, the thick forest of firs and spruce surrounding the trail to the treeline is shady and cool. You'll find camping available near the treeline as well, but be aware that water is not supplied. At about 1.3 miles, the trail traverses the ridge for about another .7 miles. You'll be treated to pawsome views on this final trek as the alpine meadows open up before you to reveal furtastic alpine and sub-alpine wildflowers in abundance from spring through summer, with birds, butterflies and bees moving among them. Several rock outcroppings appear here and there on the trail, and can be used for shelter or a stop for a snack and rest.
The upper trail is marked with stone cairns, and in winter, alpine and cross-country skiers are guided by blue diamond markers high in the trees. Along with streams and alpine grasses, North Park, the Neota Wilderness and the Rawah Wilderness come into view, and as you reach the endpoint of the trail at North Diamond Peak, the vista expands dramatically. A short, unofficial trail leads off to the right and ends at a radio tower from which more beautiful sights of mountains and valleys are spread out before you.
The parking area is open during the winter for those seeking a snowy adventure, but take care with your fur pup in the drifting snow. A firm grasp on the leash is required to avoid having Fido step off the track.
This trail is challenging in some sections, but it is not crowded, and the views of wildlife along the way, plus the wildflowers and the vast panoramic vistas, make it well worth the effort for both you and your furry bestie.
Lightning is a danger during storms in the exposed alpine areas near the pass. Take shelter, if possible. In winter, avalanches may occur. To help avoid them, stay on the trail and keep eyes and ears open to detect a rumble or snow cloud. Watch for bears. Hunting is allowed in areas near the trail, so be sure to equip yourself and your pup with blaze orange.