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A classic Sawatch 14er with a shorter approach than most.

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Out and Back

14,106' 4,299 m


10,870' 3,313 m


3,236' 986 m


3,235' 986 m



Avg Grade (10°)


Max Grade (37°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

County Road 322 is extremely narrow and rough. High clearance vehicles recommended if driving up. I made it in my Subaru, but it was very sketchy, and I wouldn't do it again. This road is closed in the winter, and conditions are variable year-round.


Mt. Princeton dominates the skyline in Buena Vista. As far as 14ers go, it's a fairly straightforward mountain. Following a treacherous drive up a dirt road (if you're confident enough to make the trip) it's just a short hike up some more road before turning up some singletrack and continuing on some talus to the ridge and summit.

Need to Know

As always, bring rain and sun protection. While this is a shorter hike, it's still a 14er. Even fast hikers should plan on 4 hrs round trip under perfect conditions. The north-facing ridge of this mountain holds snow late, sometimes until July, so be prepared for more hours on the mountain. 10 hrs isn't improbable for slower hikers.


From the center of Buena Vista, drive west on County Road 306. In 0.7 miles, turn south on CR 321 and drive 7 miles. Come to a fork and bear right onto CR 322. Drive under a mile to another fork, one for a ranch and one, clearly signed, for Mt. Princeton. Turn right for Mt. Princeton. Park here (8,900 ft) if unless you have a high clearance vehicle & confidence. Continue driving up the road if you're piloting something burlier. Over 3 miles up the road there are some radio towers with pullouts for 8 cars or so. There are a few campsites here as well, around 10,800 ft. Unless you're comfortable driving on a narrow shelf road with rock steps and bumps, park down low. There's nowhere to turn around for 3 miles.

From the upper TH at the radio towers, continue hiking up on CR 322A (the road away from, not toward, the radio towers). Continue for about 1.5 miles on the road before turning right onto Mt. Princeton Trail at 11,800 ft, just a few minutes after breaking tree line. The Jeep Road continues up along 13er Tigger Peak and is accessible by car for 1-2 months of the year.

The beginning of this trail remains class 1 but is absurdly steep. The grade relents after about 200 vertical and the trail continues below the Tigger-Princeton ridge. It's class 2 from here on out. Talus hop cautiously before continuing up some switchbacks to reach the ridge at 13,100 ft. There's an old trail below the switchbacks, but it more or less dead-ends below the ridge.

Once on the ridge, don your wind protection and continue toward the summit. Cross along some flat areas by some rock features until you reach 13,500 ft, after which the grade cranks up. Continue up some excellent class 2 trail to reach the summit - it's just a short stretch from here, where you'll have excellent views overlooking Buena Vista.

Flora & Fauna

Marmots and pika.

History & Background

Mt. Princeton, while first summited in 1877 by an alumna of its namesake, was named years prior by Harvard graduate - and Wyoming high point namesake - Henry Gannett.


Shared By:

Tyler Prince

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 22 votes


in Buena Vista


  3.7 from 22 votes
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in Buena Vista


in Colorado


26 Views Last Month
9,013 Since Jun 23, 2015
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Mt. Princeton summit. Altitude has been shown to contribute to absurdity.
Jun 24, 2015 near Buena V…, CO
Hikers along the ridge, just a little above the switchbacking trail.
Jun 24, 2015 near Buena V…, CO
Mt. Princeton Summit view of Tigger Peak
Jul 23, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Mt. Princeton on 7/17/19.
Jul 18, 2019 near Alpine , CO
The turnoff for Mt. Princeton can be seen to the right, with the Jeep road continuing to the left. 13er Tigger Peak is dead ahead. The route goes below and to the right of this mountain.
Jun 24, 2015 near Buena V…, CO
The route, seen from just below the summit. The switchbacks on the trail are covered with snow, so the path is slightly different with summer conditions. Tigger Peak and the Arkansas Valley are seen in the foreground.
Jun 24, 2015 near Buena V…, CO



Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In


Jul 13, 2022
Andy Guthe
Family 14. Clarks & Guthe's - moms — 5h 00m
Jun 11, 2022
Brian Baker
Made it to radio towers in stock 2006 V8 2WD 4runner. Some short snowfields to cross on trail.
Aug 28, 2021
Private User
Aug 6, 2021
Hung Hau
5mi — 4h 30m
Jul 20, 2021
William Horst
Straightforward hike with CAMPR... straight up and straight down. 9.3mi — 6h 00m
Jul 2, 2021
Samantha Peterson
We started from the upper TH. The rocks for the last 3 or more miles were NO JOKE! Beautiful views on top! 9.1mi — 6h 18m
Jun 12, 2021
Geok Poh Lim
8.4mi — 7h 30m
Jun 6, 2021
Theresa Saenz
7.2mi — 6h 00m

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