Pierson Mountain (9803 ft, 2988 meters) and Lion Head (9740 ft, 2969 meters) from FR 119, 05/21/2005
We first stopped at the Lion Gulch Trailhead on US 36, but it was packed with cars, and Stefan suggested that we might want to try Pierson and Lion Head from the Estes Park side, on FR 119, so we headed there.
Taking a left off of US 36 just before Lake Estes, we drove for a mile or two, then turned left onto FR 119 where "The Finger" rock formation could be seen just to our east. Driving thru a residential area on a steep winding road, we parked near a gate with a forest service sign. GPS info at start of hike: 40.31712 105.49090, elev 8574, acc 17 feet.
We started hiking up the forest road past the gate at 10:21. Where we began our hike was not where we initially thought we were. Because of this and because we tend to hike where things look interesting, our route to the summit of Pierson Mountain was not very direct, forming a U shape from the start to the summit.
We reached a sign that said "Pierson Park Trailhead" at 11:15. This sign also said "Homestead Meadows 3 miles, Lion Gulch Trailhead 7 miles, Trail no 1000". GPS info at this sign is: 40.30072 105.48975, elev 9064, acc 16 feet. Taking the trail that started at this sign, we hiked for about a half hour before reaching another sign that said "Homestead Meadows". GPS info at this sign is: 40.30050 105.48264, elev 9043, acc 31 feet. From this sign, we followed a trail southeast for awhile before making a beeline up to the summit of Pierson Mountain. Conveniently, after we left the trail, the way up Pierson was marked by rock cairns.
We reached the summit of Pierson Mtn at about noon. GPS info on summit of Pierson: 40.30257 105.47475, elev 9823 16 ft, 2.68 miles traveled so far. There was a Pierson Mtn summit register placed there by Mike Garratt of Dolores Colorado on Dec 11, 1999. The summit register was mostly empty, only 11 groups of people had signed it in the 5 1/2 years since it was placed there. The Pierson Mtn summit itself doesn't have a nice view because of trees, but a knob a few yards to the south does. From there you can see the Twin Sisters, Big Elk Park, the Mummy Range, and Estes Park.
After signing the summit register and taking some pictures, we headed northeast down to the saddle point between Pierson and Lion Head. We took a break at the saddle, then continued northeast to the summit of Lion Head.
We reached the summit of Lion Head at 13:34. GPS info on summit of Lion Head: 40.30951 105.46807, elev 9768 ft, 16 ft acc, 3.85 miles traveled so far. The summit of Lion Head is more open with nicer views than the Pierson summit has. We took pictures of Flattop Mtn, Hallet Peak, Stones Peak, Chapin, Chiquita, Ypsilon and Fairchild. We had lunch on the Lion Head summit and signed the summit register, being a few loose pages evidently placed there by Jennifer Roach in 2003.
Heading back, we returned to the Pierson - Lion Head saddle, then instead of returning to the top of Pierson we headed west, across the north slope of Pierson, passing across a clear area that had been logged in recent years (40.30907 105.48031, elev 8996, acc 16 ft), and eventually meeting FR 119 again. We then hiked down FR 119 back to where the truck was parked, returning to the truck at 15:57. The GPS showed 6.53 miles for the total trip distance.
Total distance traveled: 6.53 miles.
Elevation difference from lowest point to highest point = 9803 - 8574 = 1229 feet (375 meters).
Total trip time: 5 hours, 36 minutes.