With a summit only three feet lower than its close neighbor Grays Peak and less than a mile away, Torreys Peak - featured on 14ers Maps 1 of 16 - is almost always climbed with Grays Peak. Summer crowds are large, but the views from the top are magnificent and the opportunity to bag two 14ers in a single day for hikers is often too good to pass up with an easy day trip from the front range cities.
As with Grays Peak, the first recorded Torreys Peak summit was made by Charles Parry in 1861, and he named it after one of his mentors John Torrey. Many of the peaks in Colorado were likely first climbed by Native Americans before Europeans ever arrived in the area, and it is also likely that prospectors summited these peaks looking for minerals with no records of these climbs being made. Not long after Parry's climb, the Stevens Mine (on McClellan Mountain on the east side of Stevens Gulch) and the Baker Mine (on Kelso Mountain on the west side of the gulch) began to produce precious metals - among other claims and small mines the area. The Baker Mine is shown below with ore conveyor coming down from high up on Kelso Mountain.
An 1898 photo of Grays and Torreys Peaks from McClellan Mountain to the east is shown here - the miners were still active, but the tourists weren't yet there.
Many of the same routes to Grays Peak can also be used to access Torreys Peak, since the summit is less than a 3/4 mile hike from the Summit of Grays, which many hikers choose to do. Coming up the Grays Peak Trail (Continental Divide Trail), there is a cutoff trail 2.7 miles from the trailhead (just below the main switchbacks to the Grays summit) that turn west towards Grays and meets with the trail that connects the two summits. From there it is another 0.4 miles to the summit of Torreys. See Grays Peak blog entry for description of additional routes from the South which can be used to access Torreys.
Another trail less taken is the Kelso Ridge Route, which leaves the main Grays Peak Trail 1.8 miles from the upper Grays Peak Trailhead and travels 1.1 miles up and along the Kelso Ridge between Kelso Mountain and Torreys Peak. This Class 3 (scrambling) route is more advanced than the easy Class 1 walk up Grays, and has some exciting portions for the more adventurous climbers.
Some winter climbs up Torreys Peak are also accessed via Grizzly Gulch Road, which splits off to the right/west from Stevens Gulch Road 1.1 miles from the I-70 Bakerville Exit. This road is very rough (most choose to park at the junction off Steven Gulch Road) and for high-clearance 4x4 vehicles, but it provides access to some couloirs and more remote routes on the north side of the mountain that some advanced backcountry skiers and climbers enjoy.
As with all visits to the high country of Colorado: be prepared, know your limitations, watch the weather, drink plenty of water, and as always don't forget your 14ers Maps. Torreys Peak is one of four fourteeners featured on Outdoor Trail Maps Colorado 14ers Series Map 1 of 16.
Directions to Trailheads:
The most popular trailhead is from the north off the I-70 Bakerville (exit 221). Take Steven Gulch Road (left after exit) as far as your vehicle's abilities (park at the beginning of road for low clearance or drive 3 miles to the main trailhead for high clearance vehicle).
From the south, take Montezuma Rd (County Road 5) off of US Hwy 6 (Loveland Pass Road) at Keystone Ski Resort for about 4.5 miles to a bridge over the Snake River in a bend in the road. Take the left turn on unpaved County Road 260 on your left 2.2 miles to a trailhead on the right side of the road for the Chihuahua Gulch route (or if you have a 4x4, you can turn left onto the road FS 263.1 there and drive 2 miles to the Chihuahua Lake 4x4 trailhead). Once there, on the other side (east side) of the creek is an old road blocked to vehicles that will lead you to the mining runs after 1.5 miles of hiking before taking the primitive route up to Grays Peak.
Instead of taking the Chihuahua Gulch route, you can drive another 2.4 miles past the Chihuahua Gulch 2x4 trailhead to the Argentine Pass CDT trailhead just before the gate in the Peru Creek Road. Walk 0.4 miles up the road past the trailhead and find the trail on the right side of the road.