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Deer Mountain Loop

  4.2 ( 10 ) Favorite


10.5 mile 16.9 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,698' 518 m
Descent: -1,698' -518 m
High: 9,922' 3,024 m
Low: 8,340' 2,542 m


Avg Grade: 6% (4°)
Max Grade: 21% (12°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Brian Smith

A loop around and over Deer Mountain near Estes Park.

Brian Smith

Features Birding · Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife


This hike leads you from west to east around the northern side of Deer Mountain before summiting and descending. Proximity to Estes Park make this a convenient hike for those coming from the Front Range.


Starting at the Deer Ridge Trailhead, start down the Deer Mountain Trail and prepare to turn left onto North Deer Mountain Trail shortly thereafter.

North Deer Mountain Trail skirts the mountain's northern flanks as it heads northward and gradually to the east and south as it descends around Deer Mountain's base. Enjoy the grandiose views of Deer Mountain and surrounding peaks as you descend towards Estes Park. The trail passes through mixed forest and meadow typical of the montane ecosystem. Just after the four mile mark, look for a connector trail to branch off to the right and follow it to the Deer Mountain Trail.

The Deer Mountain Trail climbs steeply up the eastern slope of Deer Mountain before descending its western slope to a junction with North Deer Mountain Trail. About halfway through, the Deer Mountain Summit Spur branches off to the southwest and climbs steeply to the summit. Follow the summit spur for a final push to the top and a reward of panoramic views. Head back down the Deer Mountain Summit Spur and turn left back onto Deer Mountain Trail. Descend the steep, switchbacking trail as it dives off of the western ridge of the mountain. Eventually, you'll be back where you started at the Deer Ridge Trailhead.

Flora & Fauna

This montane ecosystem has open stands of large ponderosa pines. Spacing of ponderosa pines is somewhat related to available soil moisture. Grasses, other herbs and shrubs may grow between the widely spaced trees on dry slopes. As the pines become old, their bark changes from gray-brown to cinnamon-red, and the bark releases a pleasant fragrance when warmed by the sun. The long needles of ponderosa pines are attached to the stems in groups of two's and three's.

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Sep 18, 2019
Jess Beasley
Fall colors just starting! Lots of birds (nuthatches, grouse, jays, flickers) 10.5mi — 3h 50m
Jul 5, 2019
Bill Clay
9.8mi — 4h 09m
Jun 1, 2019
Russell Bader
Nice summit view of the mountainside 10.8mi — 3h 30m
Oct 28, 2018
Emily Wood
Oct 27, 2018
Cynthia B.
Sep 16, 2018
Paula Samaha
Jul 7, 2018
Gail Andrews
Apr 22, 2018
David Giles
Lots of snow. Spikes and gaiters recommended 10.7mi

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 10 votes


  4.2 from 10 votes
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