Park County, Colorado
Pike National Forest
South Platte Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Road: 565
Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Grant, Montezuma
Nearby Trails: Radical Hill, Webster Pass, Hall Valley
Trail Length: 6.2 miles
Elevation: 9,879 to 12,745 feet
Named Obstacles: Big Rocks
Recommended by Andrew S.
Recommended by Frank E.
Recommended by Hoa
Recommended by Jason
Recommended by Mike C.
Recommended by Mike C.
Recommended by Nate S.
Recommended by Perry
Recommended by Walt
If you have a 4x4 vehicle with a decent amount of clearance you can do this trail. The issue is that it can be mentally challenging to do the trail because of the long, steep descent down from Red Cone. There are lots of rocks and a good, optional obstacle on the way up, but it's the last part of the trail that people remember. It's VERY steep and often filled with loose rock. If you slip sideways you could have a difficult time recovering. If you slip off of the trail going down the Mountain you will most likely die -- the trail is about the width of two or three cars and about 1,000 feet down to the next flat spot.
That danger is why this trail is not to be taken lightly!
Go slowly, and if your vehicle starts to slide sideways use more gas -- it will straighten your vehicle out. You can't go wrong if you hurry, only if you slow down or stop.
Note that the red dirt covered section of the first hill down Red Cone was made much safer and easier in 2004. The loose rock was largely moved out of the way and the moguls were almost flattened. You can safely stop on this hill now though you should keep moving so you don't slide.
Red Cone is a detour off of Webster Pass, with both ends on that trail. You must start from Highway 285 so the trip over Red Cone is a descent. Do not attempt to climb the steep side of Red Cone as you would be in trouble if someone comes over the top in the other direction. This is a one-way trail.
The beginnings of Red Cone are rocky and fun. In some places you can choose more difficult lines while remaining on the trail but it is impossible to avoid some fairly large rocks. As you climb through Sawmill Gulch on your way up to Red Cone the rocks will seem to end and then you come to the only true obstacle on the trail. It is easy to avoid as the trail is very wide here but if you choose to tackle these big rocks you may not be able to get over them. They are very big and often loose, making it a difficult section to climb. It is this obstacle that gives the trail its high rating. If you avoid it you can assume the lower rating through the whole trail.
There are also lots of tight switchbacks in the trees before you climb above timberline. This section may be tight for longer wheelbases.
You'll leave the trees behind as you climb up to Red Cone. You can see the trail for a long distance in front of you. The views here and for the rest of the trail are amazing.
There are a total of three big hills down from the top. The first one is probably the steepest and scariest one, coming down 250 feet from the top of Red Cone. It is steep but sometimes it has some ruts in it which makes it get steeper every once in awhile.
Once you get to the bottom of that hill the second hill follows right away. It is very much like the first hill, though not as long. You will descend 200 feet on this hill.
The third hill is not nearly as steep or narrow though it is a descent of loose rocks down 250 feet. Once you get to the bottom of this hill you will be at a large parking area and back on Webster Pass. Take the trail to the right to continue out Webster Pass to Montezuma or to take Radical Hill. If you go left you will go back to the start of Webster Pass and back to the entrance to Red Cone.
Information last updated on August 8th, 2011.
- August 6th, 2011: ran by Austin, Chris, Chuck, Hoa, Jeffrey, Jim, Julie, Marcus, Mark F., Mark U., Mike C. and Monica
- July 29th, 2006: ran by Bill S., Bob R., Bruce, Dave B., Gary, Ladd and Walt
- August 20th, 2005: ran by Bob R., Cheryl, Eric B., Gary, Kendall, Mark F., Mike V., Monica, Perry, Rob C. and Walt
- October 4th, 2003: ran by Monica and Nate S.
- July 19th, 2003: ran by Bob S., Dan, Jane, Jenn, Mike S., Monica, Perry and Tom
- September 14th, 2002: ran by Kendall, Mike S. and Monica
Take Highway 285 from Denver past Grant, then turn right on County Road 60. You will see signs to both Webster Pass and Red Cone at just over 5 miles. Turn right here and follow forest service road 565 to the top.
Meet in Conifer on Highway 285 at the Bradley gas station.