James Peak (13,294') from Corona Pass Road
ElevationAscent: 2,102' 641 m
Descent: -2,101' -640 m
High: 13,157' 4,010 m
Low: 11,125' 3,391 m
GradeAvg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 42% (23°)
Current trail conditions
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“Start just below tree line, climb to and traverse Rogers Pass, and then ascend the north face of James Peak.”— Ray Watts
This is a hike in three sections:
1. A gradual climb on easy trail from the trailhead to Rogers Pass, which is a low point on a wide pass variously known as Corona Pass, Rollins Pass, and Rogers Pass. The Winter Park - Mary Jane ski area is directly across the valley. Can you identify those runs that you skied last winter? From the pass, look east across Denver to the Great Plains.
2. A level traverse along a rocky ridge leads to James Peak on a section of the Continental Divide Trail. The marmots will let you know that you have been seen.
3. Continue on the Continental Divide Trail for a switchback climb up the north face of James Peak on good trail with some loose rock.
Most of the hike is across tundra, with excellent views to the north, east, and west (and south from the summit).
The trail begins in a forest with a moderate grade, reaching tree line after 0.5 miles. It continues to climb steadily, with one switchback, until it reaches Rogers Pass just beyond the junction with the Continental Divide Trail. Continue across the pass and then, when the ridge becomes rocky, follow the trail on the west side of the ridge. This section is relatively level.
When you reach the base of the obvious face of James Peak, which is a mix of tundra and rocks, the trail makes easy switchbacks but at a steeper grade. There are several trail junctions marked only with cairns; at each of these, turn toward the summit. The trail at one point grazes the vertical east face of the peak, giving a dramatic alpine view. The summit is large and flat, with stunning views in all directions. As you approach the summit, note your trail so that you don't descend on the wrong one!