Overview.On the 1st of October my brother-in-law, Aarin, and I headed out to tackle a summit. Aarin was in town visiting from Las Vegas and he asked for a strenuous hike and something to showcase what Colorado has to offer. Cameron Cone met both those criteria. This peak is overshadowed by Pikes Peak just to the west but it does not disappoint in either stunning beauty or challenging ascent. Cameron Cone is often overlooked by hikers and we only saw one hiker on our trek (not counting our time spent on Barr Trail). The sole hiker was a local who lives up in the mountains taking her dog for a walk so I am not sure if that counts. At 10,707 feet (3,264 meters) Cameron cone is average amongst the Front Range, but the approximate 4,000 feet elevation gain we traveled meant we had to earn this summit.
|Pikes Peak view from Cameron Cone. Photo by Aarin Murphy.|
Getting There.We relied heavily on a post made on Summit Post(dot)org to plan our route. I highly recommend this page if you plan on hiking this trail. We hit the road at 05:30 and parked at the Barr Trail parking lot and paid our $10/day fee. We did not get on our way until almost 06:30 due to a mis-informed Manitou Springs employee who told us on the phone the day before we could ride the free shuttle from town to the TH. They neglected to inform us however the shuttle ended on 30 September. So after waiting in an empty parking lot for fifteen minutes we drove to the Barr lot and grabbed one of the last few parking spots.
You only need to hike the Barr Trail for about a half mile then take the social trail at the switch back that proceeds down to the creek. When you hit the fence, follow it upstream for about eighty meters until there is a rockfall providing a crossing. Then head up the hill perpendicular to the tracks until you come across the trail running along contour. There are two routes here. One trail is more established (better option) and the other is less traveled but easy enough to follow. The lesser trail merges with the main trail so both options get you to the top.
Then it is up, up, up. There are several sets of switchbacks as you head up the slope to reach the first milestone of Magog Rock. Things flatten out between here and Gog Rock...somewhat. Then we followed the 4x4 trail south then east for about half a mile. There is a USGS marker on the right of the trail that marks your spot to turn and head up the slope towards the summit. After you clear the steep slope of loose gravel there are really three options to get on top. Two routes are covered in the Summits Post information and a third, well, it's not clearly marked but we used it to come straight down off the east side of the summit in an expeditious manner. We made it back to the parking lot at 14:45. Not bad considering we took a decent break on the way back at Magog Rock.
|Taking a break along the ridge between Magog and Gog Rocks.|
|Aarin on a perch overlooking Colorado Springs.|
|Working CW, Colorado Springs in the background.|
|Pikes Peak Cog trudging uphill|
|Gog Rock and Cameron Cone|
|Following the 4x4 trail SE and E to Cameron Cone|