Escaping The Nutshell

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Cook Mountain Loop from Coulson Gulch Trailhead

This video shows: First 30 seconds is on ridge we descended. From 0:30 to 1:20 is on Cook Mtn south summit. From 1:20 to end (2:16) is a 360 degree panorama on the actual Cook Mtn summit (north side of summit plateau).

You can see the GPS tracks for this entire hike. Ignore the noisy spikes in the data.

The gate just before the Coulson Gulch Trailhead was still closed, so we parked on the side of the forest road (118) just in front of it.

Starting at 10:15, we headed east on the 4WD road that goes by the Coulson Gulch Trailhead. We followed this road as its direction swings from east to southeast, passing by the summit of Point 7985 and paralleling Rattlesnake Gulch along the southeast ridge of Point 7985.

Near the lower part of this ridge, we departed from the road, turning right and heading south, making our way over a couple rock ledges. As the ridge ended, we crossed over meadow, then followed a 4WD road toward the northwest tip of Button Rock (Ralph Price) Reservoir.

Near the reservoir, we took the right branch of the road which climbed to the saddle between Cook Mtn and Point 6785. After the road topped out on the pass and began descending on the other side, we took a faint trail coming off the right side of the road, which we followed as it began ascending Cook Mtn in a clockwise direction.

The trail we followed appeared to be an old manmade one, which was also marked by plastic ties on tree branches. We eventually lost track of the trail and headed up the southeast side of Cook Mountain making our way through fairly reasonable terrain. Note that the west side of Cook Mtn is a different story, with much steeper terrain and bluffs.

We ended up on the southwest knob of the Cook Mtn summit plateau. This is a familiar spot which we've visited a few times before. The view of the North St Vrain Canyon here is spectacular, which you can see on the video. At this overlook, the odometer showed 4.0 miles and the time was 12:40.

From the overlook, we headed northeast along the summit plateau to the official summit (at least that's where the summit register is). In what may be the oldest still used summit register in Colorado, the Cook Mtn summit register showed our last two signings were Mar 17 and May 20 of 2012 (we love this mountain). The last signing on the register for this year was Apr 27 by someone from Northglenn. We were on the summit at 13:05, with the odometer at 4.4 miles.

After signing the summit register, we soon headed down because of dark clouds overhead, and it began raining. We descended along the north ridge, picking up the 4WD road on this ridge, and making it down to Higgins Park. The way up the Coulson Gulch Trail was very wet, with the trail crossing the swollen creek several times. We returned to our parking place at 15:10, with the odometer at 6.6 miles.

GPS data
Place Name Elev [ft] Accuracy [ft] Position (lat,lon)
Parking below Coulson Gulch gate 7,668 23 40.25073,-105.41084
Cook Mtn south summit 7,594 23 40.21268,-105.40796
Cook Mtn summit (north) 7,581 23 40.21795,-105.40469

© 2012-2013 Stefan Hollos and Richard Hollos

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