Chaffee County, Colorado
San Isabel National Forest
Salida Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Road: 297
Trail Type: Out and Back
Nearby Towns: St. Elmo, Nathrop, Buena Vista
Nearby Trails: Iron Chest, Grizzly Lake, Hancock Pass
Trail Length: 4.03 miles
Elevation: 10,589 to 12,129 feet
This is a great trail that offers a little bit of everything -- rocky challenges, fantastic scenery, Colorado history, and access to some great hiking and fishing. It starts about 2.75 miles from the start of Hancock Pass, as a left turn.
You immediately start climbing as you start the Pomeroy Lakes trail, following the creek that cuts through Pomeroy Gulch. There are old mining buildings to the side of the trail, though take care to stay off of private property (it will be marked). If you look up Chrysolite Mountain to the left, you'll be able to see the Mary Murphy Mine almost to the top.
Just after passing under the Mary Murphy Mine, take a left turn at a spur. This spur will take you up to the mine. The road is narrow, and it eventually opens up above timberline to a narrow shelf road. This road cuts across the mountain to quickly reach the mine.
You can park at two locations next to the mine, and there is a big loop here to turn around. There isn't much left of the mine, but the views are gorgeous. Look up to see additional mining equipment up the hill. If you followed this to hike over the ridge, you would find the Iron Chest Mine on the other side, the mine you reach at the end of the Iron Chest trail. The hike is less than a half-mile, but it is steep and rocky.
Continue down to the intersection where you were earlier to continue along the trail. It soon gets bumpier and rougher. You will come to another intersection where you turn left and continue uphill. If you turn right here you quickly find a dead end at a campsite.
There are a few hill climbs that are unavoidable, though some have different lines through them that can make them easier. There are some difficult lines through these areas which can be quite fun. However, it isn't long before the trail levels out and you get to the end, at a large parking area. Try to park on the dirt and not in the grass.
It is a short walk to Pomeroy Lake, just around the corner. Take a longer hike to get up to Upper Pomeroy Lake, further in the basin, framed by Pomeroy Mountain.
Continue back out the way you came in.
- June 27, 2009: ran by Bill S., Chad S., Gary, Ladd, Matt K. and Terry
- August 2, 2008: ran by Bill S., Brian D., Don, Mark U., Matt K., Mike S., Monica, Rich, Steve B. and Walt
Take Highway 285 from Denver to Route 162 near Nathrop. Take 162 west 15 miles to turn left on Hancock Road marked 295. Take this road 2.75 miles to the trailhead for Pomeroy Lakes on the left.
Meet in Conifer on Highway 285 at the Loaf N' Jug gas station. Those coming from Colorado Springs will want to meet at Johnson's Village instead and not come that far north.