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Round Mountain Summit Adventure Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 3.9 (24) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A long steady climb through foothills and Ponderosas.


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Map Key

8.2

Miles

13.2

KM

Out and Back

8,331' 2,539 m

High

5,850' 1,783 m

Low

2,764' 843 m

Up

2,764' 843 m

Down

13%

Avg Grade (7°)

47%

Max Grade (25°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Overview

This is almost entirely singletrack that ascends the sloping sides of Sheep Mountain (aka Round Mountain). It's a long and steady climb over mostly Ponderosa covered dirt trail. There are some short sections that cross rock slides near the beginning. The end of the trail is the summit of Sheep Mountain. The summit isn't spectacular in itself, but getting there is a long and worthy journey!

Need to Know

The trailhead parking area is located in the Big Thompson Canyon, approximately 4 miles west of The Dam Store on Colorado State Highway 34 (approximately 12 miles west of Loveland).

This is a long one, so be sure to pack plenty of water. There is an outhouse at the parking lot, and then no other facilities the rest of the way. You'll cross a small spring well into the hike, but signs warn against drinking that water (I tend to follow what the signs say).

Description

The first section of the trail is the Foothills Nature Trail which is a dirt road. After about a quarter of a mile, you leave the nature trail by turning left. There's a sign there marking the intersection. You continue to follow a rocky road about 100 yards up a climb and then the singletrack begins. After another quarter mile or so, you leave the City of Loveland property and enter forest service land.

You'll wind your way up and across the side of the canyon with beautiful views of the river below along the way. After a mile or so the trail switches back providing even better views of the canyon that you are ascending. Before long, you leave the canyon views behind and are greeted with expansive views of the plains and communities to the east.

The trail continues up through forest and rock formations. Because Round Mountain is not very dramatic, this trail starts to feel like it is getting pretty long. There's not too much incline to tell you that you're reaching the end. Rather, you just continue to gradually climb, and gradually climb some more, then more. Eventually, you "break out" on the summit, which is marked by a very large rock cairn. Unfortunately, there are not many views to speak of here, as the summit is covered entirely with Ponderosa forest. You can, however, take a short walk to the north from the summit and get another great view of the canyon below and Palisade mountain on the other side of the canyon.

Note, you can also mountain bike this trail.

History & Background

From the city of Loveland's website: Most of The Summit Adventure Trail was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's. Portions have been rebuilt by the Loveland Ranger Force, a group of teenagers from Loveland.

The Summit Adventure Trail portion of the Round Mountain National Recreational Trail is primarily maintained by hikers and the National Forest Service, due to the fact that it leaves the City of Loveland's property, and enters the Roosevelt National Forest.

Many people utilize this public trail each year, and others help to maintain it! Along with the City workers who maintain the lower portion of the trail known as the Foothills Nature Trail, there are also volunteers who help to patrol the upper portion of the trail known as the Round Mountain - Summit Adventure Trail through a program with the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers. The trail's beauty depends on you as well as nature. Please pack out any trash you see along the trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jared Crockett with improvements by ashley w

Trail Ratings

  3.9 from 24 votes

#1057

Overall
  3.9 from 24 votes
5 Star
21%
4 Star
50%
3 Star
25%
2 Star
4%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#203

in Colorado

#1,057

Overall
397 Views Last Month
10,269 Since Mar 12, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
44%
16%
40%
0%

Photos

Weather caught by the mountains
Jul 10, 2017 near Loveland, CO
The view to the east from Round Mountain Summit Adventure Trail
Mar 12, 2015 near Loveland, CO
The trail follows this neat cutout through the rock.
Mar 12, 2015 near Loveland, CO
This cool rock formation is found in the middle of the trail.
Mar 12, 2015 near Loveland, CO

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 13 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Aug 8, 2020
Russell Hobart
Jun 14, 2020
Matthew Oliver
Trail dry and clear, moderately trafficked 8.2mi
May 17, 2020
Greg Collette
May 2, 2020
Stone Olson
First hike of the year. This will help me get in shape for more. Long trail. Went on a day with mist and fog covering everything. White out for 3/4… 9.1mi — 9h 00m
Jul 25, 2019
Emma McVey
Just. Keeps. Going.... and no views at the top. Will not do again.
Jul 23, 2019
Ryan VanBuskirk
Jun 29, 2019
Mariela Smithers
Beautiful hike, Full of wild flowers 4mi — 3h 00m