Owl Mountain

Walden, Colorado (Jackson County)

Last Updated: 11/05/2017
Information
Nearby Trails
Status: Impassable
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 3-3
(EASY)
Length: 5.4 miles
Highest Elevation: 10927 feet
Duration: About 1 hour
Shape of Trail: Out & Back
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Walden
Nearest Town w/ Services: Walden
Official Road Name: 791
Management Agency: Routt National Forest
District: Parks Ranger District
Distance:
Showing 0 trails within 2 miles

Highlights

Highlight: Owl Mountain

Owl Mountain is located to the south of Gould, Colorado, an area of the state famously known for its moose population. While traveling along in the area, keep an eye out for the giant creature as their population is abundant and this easy off-road trek to the top of Owl Mountain will offer the opportunity to see them. The view of the Michigan River Valley from the top is worthy of a photo. Don't forget your camera.

Video

Weather

7 day forecast for Owl Mountain

Route Information

Technical Rating: 3-3
(EASY)

Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.

Read more about our rating system

Description

This is a typical mountain road consisting of dirt and granite rock. There are moderate climbs and narrow spots through the trees. There are no obstacles along this route and a stock 4WD vehicle is well suited. The trail is heavily forested with dead trees and down-fall across the road throughout the year. It is recommended that you have gear with you for tree removal while travelling in the area.

Waypoints

1. Owl Mountain Trailhead

You can miss the trailhead if you are not paying attention as it is a little hidden. The trail heads off to the west from Jackson County Road 21. The road is bumpy from the start.

2. Water Bog (0.3 mi)

The trail makes a sharp left turn and you will find a large water bog that sits on the trail. It looks scary, but it's usually about 8-12 inches deep and has a solid bottom. Drive right down the center of the water to continue the trail.

3. Rocky Switchback (2 mi)

It's not a difficult switchback, but it is an indication that you a gaining in elevation fairly quickly. If you peer through the trees here, you will notice that you are beginning to rise out of the Michigan River valley.

4. Valley View (4.1 mi)

By now you have ascended enough that as the forest opens up, you can begin to view the valley below. As you proceed along the trail from here, you will find significantly more down fall and the evidence of how often downed trees are cut to keep the road open. Cutting trees that have fallen across the road, large or small, is common on this trail and a possibly necessary to complete the trail.

5. USFS 790 and USFS 791 Intersection (5.4 mi)

Continue straight. USFS 790 intersects here from the north. USFS 790 is a connecting road between Owl Mountain and USFS 792. This route is an alternative exit from the mountain after reaching the summit. If you choose to take this way off of the mountain, you will find USFS 790 less rocky than the Owl Mountain Road. The evidence of timber downfall near the top of Owl Mountain continues.

6. Owl Mountain Summit (5.7 mi)

The final 100 yards to the summit is a steep climb on a loose rock surface. Although intimidating, the climb is easily accomplished. There is enough room on the summit for only a vehicle or two to park as the space is limited. Here you have an unobstructed view of the Never Summer Mountains off to the east. This Never Summer Range is part of the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 40.491226, -106.008469

Starting Point: Gould, Colorado

Turn South on Jackson County Road 21 for 2.8 miles. Just past the bridge that crosses the Michigan River, Owl Mountain is on your right and heads to the west.

Camping

Dispersed

The US Forest Service allows dispersed camping throughout this portion of the national forest and several sites are available along the trail until you reach Waypoint 2. From there, the only place suitable for camping is at the summit. Just before you make the final climb to the summit, there is an open, level spot with plenty of room for parking that makes an excellent camping venue for those equipped for a primitive stay. If something more civilized is your style, The forest service operates a designated semi-primitive campground near the trailhead that has outhouse toilets available.

Camping: Owl Mountain

Writer Information

Tim Palmer

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Tim lives and works in Northern Colorado. He has owned and driven 4X4 vehicles his entire adult life including Jeeps, pick ups, ATVs and UTVs. After high school, Tim's first 4X4 was a 47 Willy's CJ-2A with a flat 4 and a 6-volt electrical system. Typically wheeling in Northern Colorado or Southern Wyoming, Tim loves being in the mountains and the back country. Because of a desire to enjoy and promote responsible off-roading and to keep it available for the future, he belongs to a local 4X4 off-road club. Being part of the Trailsoffroad.com community furthers that goal as well. A love for off-road adventures, camping, fishing, and hunting keeps Tim away from pavement and always exploring. While his wife likes the comfort of a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Tim prefers the ruggedness of the Jeep Wrangler. Although most off-road time is spent in Colorado and Wyoming, an occasional trip to the Moab area is common. Tim will spend the summer going topless and enjoying the value of the great outdoors. Amateur Radio Technician license call sign: ke0npg

Community

Questions & Answers (1)

Q: What king of vehicles are aloud or is it open for anything
–michael frerichs (06/21/2018)
A: This trail is open to all types of vehicles, Highway and off-highway alike.
–Tim Palmer (06/21/2018)

Trail Reviews (2)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Although the trail and weather were in great shape, the mosquitoes seemed to be abundant near the top of Owl Mountain. The misery of that wild pest quickly was forgotten about after finding a beautiful pair of moose. The cow remain bedded down proving to be a little camera shy, but the juvenile bull roamed about for quite a while.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Partially Open
Offroaded on:
Over the past few days, Gould, Colorado has received about 12' of snow. The winter season has arrived in the Never Summer Wilderness Area. The trail is impassible for the season due to snow fall. With no cell phone service in this area, travel in this area could result in a rather cold tragedy.