Summit Adventure Trail

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The Upper Part of the Round Mountain National Recreation Trail

2.16.19 - Round Mountain Trailhead Temporarily Re-Open to the Public

This temporary opening enables visitors to hike the trail for a few weeks - until the trail is closed again for another project from spring to summer. Closure dates coming soon. The trail head will be subject to additional closure pending the start of a pipeline reclamation project to remove the former hydropower plant supply line. Thank you.

Information from Big Thompson Watershed Coalition

In just five weeks, the Round Mountain Forest Health Demonstration Project restored about 12 acres of ponderosa pine forest to historical stand conditions. By removing dense thickets of young trees, low hanging branches, and other ladder fuels, our teams created healthier conditions for the forest. 

This restoration will aid the section of forest in withstanding and bouncing back from stressors such as wildfire, pests, and disease. The gaps created between trees reduce the likelihood of low and medium intensity fires climbing into tree canopies and fueling more intense forest fires that can threaten our forests and infrastructure. Come check out the project while the trail is open and watch it transform from spring to late summer (when walking tours will be held for the public). 

This influential project, managed by the Big Thompson Watershed Coalition, City of Loveland, and Coalition for the Poudre River Watershed, demonstrates a crucial step towards large-scale forest health and wildfire risk reduction for the Big Thompson canyon. 

Summit Adventure Trail

The Summit Adventure Trail is part of the Round Mountain National Recreational Trail (4.5 miles one way), which also includes the Foothills Nature Trail

The Summit Adventure Trail is a 4.5 mile moderate hike to the summit of Sheep Mountain. A full day should be allowed for this hike, which will take approximately 6-8 hours to complete at a normal hiking pace (9.1 miles round trip). Please plan your hike to conclude before dark.

The only sanitation facilities are near the trailhead, so please remember to utilize them before beginning your hike. Please see the rules for human waste under "Rules & Regulations" below.

To take this trail, begin where there is a split in the main trail shortly after leaving the parking lot (about a 1/4 mile in) which allows you to continue on the Foothills Nature Trail (which is an Easy 1 mile hike, or instead go on to the summit of Sheep Mountain on the Round Mountain National Recreational Trail - Summit Adventure Trail portion of the trail. There are directional signs on the trail to assist with your choice.

The trailhead parking area is located in the Big Thompson Canyon, approximately four miles west of The Dam Store on Colorado State Highway 34 (approximately 12 miles west of Loveland). The trailhead is located just southwest on Highway 34 (across from the entrance of Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park).

Summit Adventure Trail Overview 

Most of The Summit Adventure Trail was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930s. Portions have been rebuilt by the Loveland Ranger Force, a group of teenagers from Loveland.

The Summit Adventure Trail portion of the Round Mountain National Recreational Trail is primarily maintained by hikers and the National Forest Service, due to the fact that it leaves the City of Loveland's property and enters the Roosevelt National Forest. 

Many people utilize this public trail each year, and others help to maintain it! Along with the City workers who maintain the lower portion of the trail known as the Foothills Nature Trail, there are also volunteers who help to patrol the upper portion of the trail known as the Round Mountain - Summit Adventure Trail through a program with the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers. The trail's beauty depends on you as well as nature. Please pack out any trash you see along the trail.

Round Mountain Elevation Gain

Here is a graph depicting the elevations along the trail route: 
Elevations Graph (PDF)

Beginning Elevation at the Round Mountain National Recreational Trail begins at 5,743'. The Summit Adventure Trail portion begins at 5,890'. Peak Elevation for the summit of Sheep Mountain at 8,450' on the Summit Adventure portion of the trail. This is a 2,707' elevation gain. Much of this trail is south facing, and is generally clear of snow year round.

Summit Adventure Trail Topographical Map

Topographical map (PDF) of the trail depicting the topographical elevations and the route

Be prepared for all types of weather!

Please stay away from exposed areas and ridges during lightning storms. It is recommended that you have the following gear with you for this hike:
  • Sturdyfootwear
  • Drinking water (for humans and pets)
  • Windproof and warm clothing and rain gear
  • Energy snacks
  • Photographic equipment

Trail Rules & Regulations

  1. To help preserve the Foothills Nature Trail and Summit Adventure Trail, please obey the following rules and regulations. 
  2. Do not remove, destroy, or injure any natural or man-made trail features or facilities.
  3. Please leave all wildflowers for the next person to enjoy.
  4. No Overnight Camping along the City owned portions of the trail. Please refer to the National Forest Service for guidelines in their portions of the trail. Please refer to the US Forest Service to inquire abut the Campground Guide. Vist the Arapaho/Roosevelt/Pawnee website. 
  5. No use of firearms, fireworks or explosives are permitted along the City owned portions of the trail. All other portions follow the National Forest Service Rules & Regulations. Please refer to the National Forest Service Target Shooting Guidelines. View the Arapaho/Roosevelt/Pawnee Target Shooting website.
  6. Pets must be kept on a leash, and under human control at all times.
  7. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
  8. Please do not litter. Pack out what you pack in, along with anyone else's trash you might find along the way!
  9. Please leave all motorized vehicles at the trailhead.
  10. Please stay on the established trails; they are designed to minimize your impact on the environment. Shortcuts cause erosion!
  11. Human Waste in areas where restrooms are not provided must stay at least 150 feet from any water supply, camping zone, or trail. To promote decomposition and sanitary conditions, dig a small hole approximately 8 inches deep and cover it after use with loose soil and leaf litter.
  12. For nature's sake, please DO NOT BUILD FIRES
  13. Please respect the "Leave No Trace" approach to our recreational trails areas. Visit the official Leave No Trace website.

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