Park County, Colorado
Pike National Forest
South Platte Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Road: 126
Trail Type: Out and Back
Nearby Towns: Bailey, Jefferson
Nearby Trails: Slaughterhouse Gulch, Red Cone, Webster Pass, Georgia Pass, Beaver Creek Road, Jefferson Cutoff, Rock Creek Hills
Trail Length: 7.11 miles
Elevation: 10,046 to 12,355 feet
Recommended by Cheryl
Note that the trail has been fixed and there is no longer a water crossing near the start. You may not see any water on the trail at all in the summer months.
The trail goes to the very top of North Twin Cone and is one of those special Colorado trails that really shows off the state. In addition to fabulous scenery there is also a string of rocky sections with a few optional paths that could be impossible for most vehicles. It is a great trail for larger vehicles as the trail is very rarely narrow. It is also easy to find all the way to the top.
The trailhead is close to the highway at the top of Kenosha Pass. There are pit toilets and flat parking spaces making for a nice area to air down and disconnect sway bars. The trailhead is the one directly across from the pit toilets.
It starts out as a flat trail where you will often find small, muddy water puddles here and there. The trail is very easy and it isn't long before you come to the first of two gates. The Twin Cone trail crosses through private property between the two gates. The first one is usually left closed and the second gate could be either open or closed. Leave the gates as you found them, and be especially courteous when you drive through the private property. A good relationship with the homeowners here will allow the trail to continue to stay open and available for recreation.
The trail begins to climb with switchbacks that are rocky but not difficult. There are excellent camping sites throughout this section. There are also many aspen trees, making this a good place to see the leaves change in the fall.
Be sure to watch for the overlook as the views are amazing. You'll be in the trees, climbing up switchbacks, and you'll be able to see South Park to your right as you climb. At the top of the switchback before you turn to go deeper into the trees there is a camp site where many vehicles can pull off to stop. Walk just a little way to the edge where you can see all the way across South Park.
Not long after the overlook there are rocky, challenging sections. Be sure to take the sections that are well-used and obviously part of the trail. It is difficult to tell which spurs were made by people driving off of the trail, so do your best. When in doubt, the path to the right is almost always the correct one.
There are a few notable rock obstacles that may give some vehicles trouble. The trail is usually wide enough in these spots to allow for many different lines, though, so you can usually find one that is more suitable for you. The rocky section starts at the first obstacle and ends just before the hill climb. There are a couple of lines that will challenge even the most capable vehicles.
Make note of a semi-flat and wide area just before you climb above timberline. This is a good place for lunch, though there is another place that is even more flat once you pass above timberline but it is much more exposed to the wind.
The hill climb is very loose, with small to large rocks in it that you must work your way through. Good tires will help you here, and if it's wet this hill can be quite impossible to climb. Please note that as you are standing at the base of the hill there is only one approved way up it -- the rockiest section to the right. Do not use any spurs to the left of this hill as they are not approved. It is important to stay on the legal section of any trail.
As you're climbing you'll be able to see South Twin Cone for most of the day. Eventually you will also be able to see your destination -- North Twin Cone. They look nearly identical, but North Twin Cone has weather station equipment at the top and you can see it for awhile.
After the last flat area the trail climbs fairly quickly and it doesn't take long to get to the weather station at the very top. The very top is at 12,355 feet and is not very big or flat, though you can comfortably fit quite a few vehicles. You can park up there and turn around to make your way down.
One of the best things about this peak is the view you get of Red Cone and Webster Pass. You can clearly make out Red Cone as it is the only truly red mountain in the area. Twin Cone opens much earlier than Red Cone and Webster Pass so you can see how much snow is still left on the other trails. You can also see a bit of Guanella Pass and Highway 287 as it snakes across South Park.
Information last updated on August 3rd, 2009.
- August 1, 2009: ran by Austin, Brian D., Chuck, Fred, Gary, Jeffrey, Martin, Mike S., Monica, Roger and Walt
- June 17, 2006: ran by Andy, Bill S., Bob R., Dave B. and Walt
- June 25, 2005: ran by Alanna, Bob S., Carlos, Cheryl, Jim, Kendall, Ladd, Micheal, Mike S., Monica and Walt
- June 19, 2004: ran by Aaron N., Alanna, Bob R., Bob S., Dave B., Jason and Monica
- June 14, 2003: ran by Brad, Kris, Mike R. and Monica
From Denver take Highway 285 to Kenosha Pass. Turn left at the top of the Pass into a large dirt area on the side of the road with a road spurring off to a parking area visible from the highway. This road is marked as FSR 126 and CR 872. The campgrounds are right off the highway and there are facilities here and a large area to air down and get ready for the trail. The trail is clearly marked and easy to follow.
Meet in Conifer on Highway 285 at the Loaf N'Jug Conoco gas station.