Guinn Mountain (11238 feet, 3425 meters) and Bryan Mountain (10810 feet, 3295 meters), 06/11/2005
Today we decided to do a couple of Boulder County peaks that we hadn't done before. Guinn Mountain and Bryan Mountain seemed to be mountains that we might be able to reach the top without having to hike through lots of snow this time of year. They are in southern Boulder County near the Boulder/Gilpin County line.
From Boulder we drove up Boulder Canyon (CO 119) to Nederland, then south of town, turned right onto County Road 130 to Eldora, then left to Eldora Ski Resort. We parked near the closed gate just before the ski area, which is the trailhead for the Jenny Creek Trail.
We started hiking at 10:26, up the road to the Eldora ski lifts, turning left at the fork in the road to the southern part of the ski lift area. We headed west up the cleared ski lift paths to point 10530 (see point list below), then continued northwest walking by "The Lookout" which is the high point of the ski lifts, and then northwest and west along an old dirt road to the north side of Bryan Mtn, before clambering up a slope of loose rock to the summit of Bryan Mountain. We reached the summit at 11:39, where there is a USGS marker (no elevation indicated) placed there in 1941. Stefan pointed out a summit register with a rusty lid embedded in the rockpile of the summit, but I forgot to look at it and sign it. From the summit we had nice views of Niwot Ridge, James Peak, and the Tolland Area with Colorado Mtn (10870 ft) behind it.
We soon left the summit of Bryan Mtn, heading west to Guinn Mtn. Just past a flat area between Bryan and Guinn, a few minutes after walking by an old sheet metal building, we came upon a tree that had been hit by lightning apparently in recent weeks because the bare wood looked quite fresh. The tree had apparently exploded when the lightning hit it because pieces of it where scattered around, with the top half of the tree completely detached and lying nearby. What looked very peculiar and showed that the tree had exploded, was that some of the branches had been ejected from the trunk of the tree but large fin shaped chunks of the trunk were still attached to those branches. We took pictures of this, then continued heading west to the Guinn Mtn summit. The snow which had been only minimal until now, began to get very deep and soft, so we were slowed down considerably as we slogged through deep soft snow with only our boots. We eventually reached the Guinn Mtn Ski Trail which we followed for awhile before losing it again under the snow, but we followed the ridge to the summit of Guinn Mtn reaching it at 13:50. The summit was actually covered with a large drift of snow.
On the summit (39.93898 105.64938) the GPS showed an elevation of 11249 feet, with an accuracy of 18 feet. The trip odometer showed 4.93 miles. We rested for a few minutes, sitting on some old steel rails. The sky began to look stormy, so not wanting to go back the way we had come, due to the deep snow, we decided to head down the south side of Guinn Mtn and then pick up the Jenny Creek Trail at the bottom which we would take east back to Eldora. The slope was pretty steep going down but we eventually reached the trail near the creek below. There were also patches of snow on this trail, but not nearly as encumbering as all the snow we had to trudge through on the way up. On the way back we stopped for lunch on a nice bench near an old campsite along Jenny Creek. Finally we followed the Jenny Creek Trail all the way back to the trailhead, returning to the truck at 16:48. The trip odometer showed a total trip distance of 10.3 miles.
Lowest point of hike: 9365 ft (Jenny Creek Trailhead)
Highest point of hike: 11238 ft (Guinn Mtn)
Elevation difference from lowest to highest point: 1873 feet
Total trip distance/time: 10.3 miles, 6 hrs 22 minutes (deep snow made going slow)
Point list for Jenny Creek Trailhead to Guinn Mtn
Jenny Creek Trailhead 39.93801 105.57706, elev 9365 feet, acc 19 feet
Point 10530 39.9381 105.6042
Bryan Mtn 39.9404 105.6173 (10810 feet, 3295 meters)
Guinn Mtn 39.9394 105.6494 (11238 feet, 3425 meters)