Escaping The Nutshell

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Coffintop Mountain from Ralph Price (Button Rock) Reservoir

We've done Coffintop Mountain many times, but never ascended this way before.

You can see the tracks for this entire hike.

We started hiking from the Button Rock Preserve parking area at 9:50. This place is fantastic for bird watching, and we already saw goldfinches eating dandelion seeds at the edge of the parking area.

Hiking up the gravel road to the outlet of the dam, we ascended the side of the dam, following the trail, and hiked across the dam to the south side. From there we followed a trail skirting along the reservoir to its southeast cove.

From the cove we headed southeast, up along the gulch toward Coffintop. Hiking along the gulch started out nicely with a faint trail and easy going terrain. The gulch had wild rose, parsley, and blooming strawberry. At 6400 feet we even saw columbine flowers. Never seen it growing this low.

Continuing up the gulch, the terrain got steeper and rougher after we passed the ruins of a cabin and then an old mine. We stayed mostly on the east side of the gulch, as it seemed to make for easier traveling. We finally picked up an old mining trail, not easy to discern, as we continued paralleling the gulch.

2012-05-26 Button Rock Reservoir from Coffintop Mtn summit

2012-05-26 Button Rock Reservoir from Coffintop Mtn summit

Reaching the saddle between Point 8030 and Coffintop, we headed southeast and then northeast to the saddle between the West Coffintop summit and Coffintop Mountain. From there we headed southeast to the summit of Coffintop Mountain, reaching it at 12:25. We signed the register, took some pics, and walked along the long summit plateau. The view from the summit is quite dramatic, with the reservoir far below. Today it was hazy from the forest fires in New Mexico.

For the return we headed back down to the saddle with West Coffintop, then headed northeast through the forest. Stefan's great memory of the terrain guided us along a very pleasant way, where we eventually picked up an old mining road, then caught up with the Sleepy Lion Trail which we took northeast back to the Longmont Dam Road.

On the return, the GPS odometer showed 6.3 miles.

GPS data
Place Name Elev [ft] Accuracy [ft] Position (lat,lon)
Parking at Button Rock Preserve 6016 20 40.22868,-105.34159
Coffintop Mtn summit 8034 20 40.19778,-105.35638

© 2012-2013 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos

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