FR751 Ptarmingan Hill(sh)
The Gore Range south of Vail Pass
hardly resembles the range of the same name north of the
pass. On the north side a a high rock wall is protected as a
wilderness area. On the south side, stretching to the Tennessee
road, all sorts of travelers from mountain sheep to
passenger cars, pass through the area on a fairly dense
network of trails, among them also mountain bikers. This is
one of the more obscure loops in the area. It connects the
western approaches of Ptarmigan
with the western approach to Shrine
. In order to traverse the profile in its entirety,
a short portage is required.
START-END SOUTH: northern access road to Camp Hale
02.(9320ft,mile01) jct with FR708 Mc Allister Gulch.
Profile stays right on FR702 Resolution Creek
03.(11350ft,mile06) turn hard left onto FR751
05.(10900ft,mile11) begin portage on snowmobile route
06.(10940ft,mile12) end portage and turn down FR747
07.(9290ft,mile15) FR708 Mc Allister Gulch joins from
08.(9050ft,mile14) route turns left down Shrine Pass
10.(8580ft,mile19) START-END NORTH: lowest poit on
Redcliff access road, below Co24 Bridge
From South. FR702 Resolution Creek Road leaves
from the south east corner of Camp Hale. It is signed at the
junction with FR708 Mc Allister Gulch. FR702 climbs steadily
only with slight wave like turns towards the treeline. At one
point, where the steepness increases just a bit, a look back
yields a great view of the cross on Mt Holy Cross. During late
summer, when all the snow has melted except for the cross in the
coloirs, one can almost imagine the religiosity that drove
people to name the peak back in the 1800s.
Shortly before the summit of Ptarmigan Pass, and just after
the road has finally climbed entirely above treeline, FR751
diverts from the Resolution Creek Road and switches back to the
west. The next short segment is supremely scenic as the road
traverses the high alpine tundra, situated at a perfect vantage
point onto the entire Holy Cross Range. The road passes between
Ptarmigan Hill on the right (12143ft) and Resolution Mountain on
the left (11905ft), both shaped like aunt hills. Even those
oblivious to the scenic splendor across the valley should still
enjoy this stretch, as riding becomes much easier. The road
levels out and eventually imperceptivity rolls over the high
From North. (described downwards).
Shortly past the summit FR751A diverts towards the west,
direction Mc Allister Hut. That option is part of the FR708
Resolution Mountain s(u) route. This route continues on
FR751 downhill on the other side of a "closed"
barrier, referring to motor vehicles. Several switchbacks
descend uniformly on a densely forested slope without views.
Several lesser used roads branch off towards the left. The
description follows the most heavily used branch at every
intersection. The road takes on a more abandoned character until
it finally ends, still a small distance above the valley floor.
A short portage can be used to connect to the
FR747 Wearyman Gulch Trail/Road. But it does go through a wet
area, that was even still a bit muddy at the end of August 2011.
The route is marked with blue trapezoids as a snowmobile route
and leads through a timber cut area. It leaves the end of the
road by turning 90 degrees to the left, then skirts around a
small creek, then climbs a short distance to FR747. There
is no indication on FR747 of this turnoff. One landmark is a
powerline close to the northern edge of the subalpine meadow
where the routes merge.
The upper part of FR747 Wearyman Gulch is fun to
ride, fairly smooth and very steep in places. The lower part can
be more problematic. Wearyman Road has such a strong attraction
on Wearyman Creek, so that it not only crosses it several times
but just plain follows it at times. The name Wearyman Road Creek
may be more appropriate than Wearyman Creek Road. One Corollary
to Murphy's Law says, that if you are going to meet a 14 ATV
convoy anywhere along the route, you will meet it in the creek.
Shortly after Wearyman Creek/Road merges with
FR708 Mc Allister Gulch Rd (see beginning of western approach),
the route also joins the Shrine Pass
Road. From here its a fast roll down to Redcliff, a town which
serves as antidote to nearby Vail. It is decay at its most
pleasing. The profile continues along the lower Redcliff access
road to its lowest point, where it crosses under Co24 near its
low point between Battle Hill
Summit and Tennessee Pass.
Dayrides with this point as highest summit
PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED / PORTAGE
FR751 Ptarmigan Hill(sh): just south of Camp Hale
> along railroad tracks into Camp Hale > up FR702
Resolution Creek Rd > FR751 Ptarmigan Hill(sh) > short
portage to FR747 Wearyman Gulch Rd > down FR747 > down
west side of Shrine Pass Rd > a few turns around
Redcliff > upper Redcliff access road > Co24 back to
starting point: 26.6miles with 3050ft of climbing in 3:46 hours.
Cyclecomputer measurements exclude part of the portage. (VDO
MC1.0 m3:11.8.20 t11_4).