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Colorado Trails

Colorado 14ers: Mount Princeton

Drawn-out switchbacks lead past jumbled boulder gardens and old mining ruins to a sweeping finale above the high tundra. Post-trip bonus: Soak in the steamy baths at Princeton Hot Springs.

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-Mapped by Timm Paxson

©Timm Paxson


Trail Facts

  • Distance: 11.1


4WD road that leads to the trail

Location: 38.7449378967285, -106.204788208008

©Timm Paxson

“Tigger Peak”

Location: 38.7466506958008, -106.211929321289

The unofficial name of the 13,330-foot peak southeast of Princeton. (The Princeton mascot is the tiger.) The road turns south at the bend ahead, and the trail leaves the road in a northerly direction.
©Timm Paxson

Stone steps

Location: 38.7444610595703, -106.215553283691

A cairn and steps mark the trail’s beginning. Note that about 100 feet down the road from this point, people have created a shortcut. Use this path instead.
©Timm Paxson

Alpine tundra

Location: 38.74560546875, -106.218406677246

The trail climbs a ridge of “Tigger Peak” from the south then bends to the west where the summit of Princeton can be seen. Part of the trail can be seen center left of the photo.
©Timm Paxson

Rocky slopes

Location: 38.7446517944336, -106.223930358887

The trail abruptly leaves the tundra zone and the rest of the climb is through rocks.
©Timm Paxson

Trail views

Location: 38.7446517944336, -106.229736328125

The trail continues across the rock to an abandoned mine at 13,100 feet.
©Timm Paxson

The ridge

Location: 38.7437019348144, -106.231262207031

The ridge climb is through rocks interspersed with hints of a trail.
©Timm Paxson

Tigger Peak and the Arkansas River Valley

Location: 38.7434158325195, -106.230499267578

Looking east down the trail from the ridge. “Tigger Peak” is on the right hand side of the photo.
The Arkansas River valley is in the background.
©Timm Paxson

The summit pyramid

Location: 38.748462677002, -106.241737365723

Looking up at the summit.
©Timm Paxson

Looking down from the summit

Location: 38.7482719421387, -106.241645812988

©Timm Paxson

Summit views

Location: 38.7491302490234, -106.242500305176

©Timm Paxson


Location: 38.7385711669922, -106.17911529541

From the parking area, follow 4WD road for 3.2 mi. to upper parking area


Location: 38.7452850341797, -106.200592041016

Road swings to the W; pass 4WD parking


Location: 38.7448234558106, -106.206398010254

Pass second 4WD parking area; continue dirt road ascent, climbing through several switchbacks


Location: 38.7444534301758, -106.215370178223

Turn R and leave the road @ jct. marked with a cairn; climb stone steps


Location: 38.7458114624023, -106.21704864502

Head W across alpine tundra; pass an old mine


Location: 38.7447357177734, -106.223213195801

Head W; traverse the rocky slopes below “Tigger Peak”


Location: 38.7448921203613, -106.230361938477

Bear L @ fork marked with cairns to ascend Princeton’s SE ridge


Location: 38.7437438964844, -106.231063842773

Turn R on ridge connecting Mt. Princeton and “Tigger Peak” (marked with 2 cairns); pass remains of an old mine


Location: 38.7445907592773, -106.234313964844

Pass remnants from another old mine


Location: 38.7453765869141, -106.236198425293

Head NW, passing a stone wall and an old mine


Location: 38.7470092773438, -106.239791870117

Stay straight @ jct. with trail that enters from the R


Location: 38.7483673095703, -106.241645812988

Final summit push on boulder-covered slopes (only 200 ft. left to climb)


Location: 38.7492256164551, -106.242500305176

Mt. Princeton (14,197 ft.): Summit views into San Isabel National Forest to the N and S. Look SE down the ridge to find “Tigger Peak.” Retrace steps to trailhead

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