Deer Ridge to Peak 8700, 04/22/2006

Peak 8700 is ranked number 50 in Gerry Roach's Boulder County Peaks list.

We parked on the side of the Peak to Peak Highway where it crosses the North Saint Vrain Creek, about 1/10 of a mile south of the Wild Basin entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.

At 10:39, we started hiking east along a trail on the north bank of the North St. Vrain Creek. At point 1 (see point list below), the Hydraulic Lab, we passed by some old structures, then continued following along the creek toward point 2. Roughly halfway between points 1 and 2, we reached a position where the north bank of the creek becomes a cliff. There appears to be a faint trail going up and over the cliff, but we decided to turn around and try to gain the ridge further back where we had come.

We returned almost back to the Hydraulic Lab, then headed north, ascending the ridge via a drainage. After getting to the top of the ridge and heading northeast toward point 6, we came upon an old forest road which we followed for awhile until it started going downhill, where we turned left through lightly forested terrain, and headed directly to point 6. We reached point 6 (Point 8654) at 12:30. From point 6, we headed east-southeast to point 5 (Point 8476), following an old forest road for much of the way, and reaching point 5 at 13:01.

The hike along the ridge from where we first ascended it, to point 5, is nice terrain for hiking, being lightly forested mostly with Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir along with some Limber pine and Lodgepole pine, with an old forest road to hike along much of the way. But from point 5 (Point 8476) to point 4 (Peak 8700) there is no more road, or trail, and the terrain gets a little more rugged with the ridge narrowing, but still quite reasonable for foothills terrain. There is an occasional rock cairn along this last stretch up to Peak 8700. We reached the summit of Peak 8700 at 13:26.

The views from the summit are great. We could see Peak 8849 to the northeast, which we had climbed only 12 days ago, North and South Sheep Mountains to the East, Mount Meeker to the west, Taylor Mountain and Big John Mountain to the south, and Rock Creek Canyon to the southwest. We could even see the waters of the North St. Vrain Creek directly below us. There was no register on the summit, so we deposited one there. We left the summit at 14:17, returning the way we had come, and returning to the truck at 16:40.

The total time for this hike was 6 hours, with an elevation difference from lowest point (St. Vrain Creek at Hydraulic Lab) to highest point (Peak 8700) of about 8700 - 8000 = 700 feet. This small elevation difference is deceiving, since the horizontal distance was extensive.

Point List
1Hydraulic Lab40.2171/105.5147
2Creek Point 140.2165/105.5022
3Creek Point 240.2155/105.4847
4Deer Ridge East Summit (Peak 8700)40.2181/105.4728
5Point 847640.2204/105.4811
6Point 865440.2226/105.4965
7Deer Ridge West Summit (9008 ft)40.2303/105.5197

GPS data
Place nameElev [ft]Accuracy [ft]Lat/Lon
Parking at Pk to Pk Hwy & N St Vrain Creek83511340.21897/105.52770
Point 865487321740.22255/105.49793
Point 847684732140.22054/105.48094
Peak 870087551640.21775/105.47218

Topomap of the Peak 8700 Area