Tennessee Mountain (9980 ft) and Buckeye Mountain (10126 ft) from Nederland High School, 05/20/2006

According to Topozone.com there are 5 Tennessee Mountains in the United States, none of which are east of the Mississippi River, and there is no Buckeye Mountain in Ohio. Go figure.

We parked in front of the Nederland High School just off the road to Eldora. At an elevation of 8465 ft, this is the low spot of the hike. On the east side of the school is the trailhead with a sign that has a map showing the trails and forest roads of the area.

We started hiking at 10:02, down Trail 926 which begins here. We stayed on Trail 926 going south for about 2/10 mile, then left the trail going southwest and uphill. We soon came upon Trail 926E at the junction with the end of FR 355 (which goes to the University of Colorado Observatory), then followed 926E southwest, until we came upon a forest road which we took southwest, at the end of which was the Ora Penn YMCA Camp. From here the road ended, and we continued uphill (southwest) toward the summit of Tennessee Mountain.

On the way up, at an elevation of 9443 ft, we came upon a very nice meadow, the west side of which had a great view of the mountains to the west, the slopes of the Eldora ski area, and the top part of Tennessee Mountain. From the meadow, we continued southwest to the summit of Tennessee Mtn, reaching it at 11:44.

The summit has no views, being wooded, and most of the trees around the summit are dead, courtesy of the pine beetle. There was no summit register here. After a few minutes of investigating the pine beetle infested trees, we continued on southwest, down to the saddle between Tennessee Mtn and Buckeye Mountain, and crossing the unmarked Boulder-Gilpin County line just below the summit of Tennessee Mountain. On the saddle we crossed an old forest road, then continued southwest to the summit of Buckeye Mtn, reaching it at 12:36. Buckeye Mtn has a much nicer summit than Tennesse Mtn, with great views of James Peak and Rogers Pass.

The Buckeye Mtn summit has a register placed there, actually two, in a glass jar, one being just a few stapled together strips of paper, and the other a small notepad, both placed there by Mike Garratt, the first deposited on Dec 28 1986 and the second on Mar 3 2001. Mike recorded the elevation of Buckeye Mountain as 10,140 ft in the register, but our topomap shows it at 10,126 feet, whereas our GPS gave an elevation of 10,162 ft with an accuracy of 15 feet. The newer summit register was signed only once, by a 77 year old man on July 1 2004. Evidently there had been no one on this summit for nearly two years before we showed up.

We left the summit of Buckeye Mtn at 13:10, returning the way we had come, and returning to the summit of Tennessee Mtn at 13:51 and to our parking place at 16:18.

Upon our return, the GPS showed a total trip distance of 8.43 miles. The elevation difference from lowest point (Nederland High School) to highest point (Buckeye Mtn summit) was 10162 - 8465 = 1697 feet, although our elevation gain was a bit more since we visited the summit of Tennessee Mtn twice. The total trip time was 6 hours and 16 minutes.

Point List
1Tennessee Mtn summit39.9336/105.5558
2Saddle Knob39.9279/105.5603
3Buckeye Mtn summit39.9218/105.5626
4Observatory Rd End39.9437/105.5331
5Point 870439.9451/105.5278
6Observatory Rd Intersection39.9461/105.5135

GPS data
Place nameElev [ft]Accuracy [ft]Lat/Lon
Nederland High School84651530.95341/105.52567
Overlook point at meadow9443839.94026/105.54272
Tennessee Mtn summit99821739.93356/105.55573
Buckeye Mtn summit101621539.92197/105.56273

Topomap of the Tennessee Mountain Area