Citadel Mountain Hike

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
5.5-7.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
14.3 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
999 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

Hike the Citadel Mountain Trail on your next journey into the Arapaho National Forest. This exciting adventure is reserved for intrepid outdoor enthusiasts who don’t mind off-roading. Hike the primitive trail up to the summit of Citadel Mountain, where dumbfounding vistas of the mountainous landscape await.

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Route Description for Citadel Mountain Hike

The Citadel Mountain Trail is an exciting wilderness excursion up to a quintessential Colorado peak. Hike up the forested gulch to a small alpine lake before summiting Citadel Mountain. Travel through the beautiful aspen woodlands before summiting the tree line and scrambling up the rocky ridges of Citadel Mountain. Reserved for experienced hikers with a keen sense of adventure, this path is stunning. Bring a trail GPS along with you on this journey, as the rearmost section of the hike up to the peak is primitive and difficult to navigate. Furthermore, dress warmly as the exposed summit will likely be windy and cold.

Embark on your journey along the Citadel Hike from the Herman Gulch Trailhead. From the trailhead and parking lot, follow the Herman Gulch Trail northwestward below the tree coverage. Hike up the aspen-lined gulch and enjoy the ambiance of the Herman Gulch Creek running beside you. Hike up the valley, and as you ascend the trail, more and more lodgepole pines will dot the path. As you climb the path, you will encounter an intersection. Stay left on the more primitive Citadel Mountain Trail.

Notice Herman Lake on your left as you diverge away from the marked route. Follow your trail GPS and the cairns from this point forward. Hike up the rocky ridge and over the mountain's saddle. The path will guide you west up to the summit of Citadel Mountain. Bask in the expansive views of the alpine wilderness and notice Pettingell Peak across the ridge in the north. Admire the vistas before beginning your descent. When you are ready, backtrack along the path down to the parking lot.

Getting to the Citadel Mountain Hike Trailhead

The Citadel Mountain Hike begins at the Herman Gulch trailhead off the I-70.

Route Information

  • Backcountry Campground

    Dispersed Backcountry Camping, restrictions apply.

  • When to do

    June-October

  • Pets allowed

    Yes - On Leash

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Poor

  • Crowd Levels

    Low

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Citadel Mountain Hike Elevation Graph

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