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FR401 Deer Peak s(u)

I heard somebody remark once, that god put the Wet Mountain Range in this place, so that man might have a better view onto the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. There are many points on top of the range (or plateau), where one can form an opinion about this statement. The most obvious one is FR400 Gardner Road s(u). The approach to the FR401 Deer Peak summit, crosses that point and then reaches a little higher. This is more of a jeep trail summit, while most of the Gardner Rd summit (with some exceptions on the east side) is a smoother dirt road.

1.(mile00.0,8320ft) START-END WEST: jct Co69 - Centennial Ranch Rd.
2.(mile08.9,9500ft) profile turns left onto Garnder Rd.
3.(mile13.7,10780ft) FR400 Gardner Road s(u) (shp)
4.(mile14.2,10720ft) major intersection with Greenhorn Mtn Rd. profile turns left onto FR401
5.(mile17.3,11520ft) TOP: FR401 Deer Peak s(u)
6.(mile25.0,8990ft) Ophir Creek Rd joins from right and route continues downhill
7.(mile26.0,8800ft)START-END EAST: jct Co96 (Greenhorn Hwy) - Ophir Creek Rd


From West.
the profile follows the same route as FR400 Gardner Peak s(u). The washboard on the lower sections, while going through the real estate area can be extreme - but at the same time the light conditions during early morning can be the best of all. More details about this section are on the FR400 s(u) page. At the the top of FR400 two roads branch off. Each one roughly follows the crest of the Wet Mountains in opposing directions, at least for a while. Both options are uphill from here.

top: the bald ridge is Greenhorn Mountain, the highest landform in the Wet Mountains.
bottom: approaching the top of FR401. During the middle of the day the light has become much flatter.

The profile turns south and follows a jeep trail, starting out as a regular dirt road but climbing steeply. It stays in forest until it reaches a summit meadow close to a transmitter facility. From here you can can see the single bare outcrop in the Green Mountains, marking its southern  end of the Green Mountains, Cuerno Verde or Greenhorn Mtn. There is a way to continue straight from here, but the profile remains on FR401, turning right steeply uphill - a short walk can be refreshing after all that rock and roll - and crests when passing near towers of the transmission facility. The view from this meadow stretches from Greenhorn Mtn, to the Spanish Peaks, and over the southern end of the Sangre de Cristo Range. But all these peaks are pretty far away and when there is no snow on them they are bound to look a bit hazy by the time one arrives on top, even in late September when the leaves are changing.

From East.
(described downwards). Rocky steep stretches alternate with smoother sections. Every once in a while the road traverses a meadow and opens a view on tree covered smoothly curving hills, and once onto the plains between here and Pueblo.

At the first intersection CR401 ends and only another option continuing straight is signed. The better road crossing here is not signed. My directional sense told me turn left, but the profile takes the correct option which is right and downhill. The road slowly becomes faster and continues to curve around, so that it's easy to loose a sense of direction. The road finally reaches hard top on Co165 between at the bottom between the Bigelow Divide to the north and the Greenhill Divide to the south.

Dayride with this point as highest summit


( < CR1A Cotopax(sh) | Cordova Pass > )
FR401 Deer Peak Road s(u) , Wixson Divide , Bigelow Divide , Hardscrabble Pass : Horn Creek trailhead > CR130 east > CO69 south > up CR305 Centennial Ranch Rd > up CR400 Gardner Rd > FR400 Gardner Rd(shp) > FR401 south > FR401 Deer Peak s(u) > down FR401 > down FR400 > Co65 north > Bigelow Divide > Wixson Divide > Mc Kenzie Jct > Co96 west > Hardscrabble Pass > Westcliffe > CR160 Hermit Rd west > CR129 south > CR130 west back to starting point : 77.7miles with 7007ft of climbing in 7:34hrs (VDO MC1.0 m5:14.9.19)


FR401 Deer Peak s(u)
Highest Point: 11520ft
Western Approach:
climb over distance
jct Co69 - Centennial Ranch Rd. (8320ft)
3200ft 17+1/2
Eastern  Approach:

jct Co96 (Greenhorn Hwy) - Ophir Creek Rd (8800ft)
2720ft 9miles