Mount Parnassus 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.
5-7h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
12.2 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.
1,030 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
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Directions to Trailhead

Mount Parnassus Hike is a demanding adventure, but it is well worth the effort. Reserved for experienced hikers, this primitive trail guides outdoor enthusiasts through the lush Colorado woodlands and up rocky ridges to the summit of Mount Parnassus. Featuring expansive mountain views and stunning forested scenery, this trail is a must-add to the Colorado adventure list.

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Route Description for Mount Parnassus Hike

Craving a challenge? Hike the Parnassus Trail up the technical terrain to the summit of a Colorado 13er. The Mount Parnassus Trail is an experienced hiker’s dream. Climb through the forestlands before navigating rocky talus fields to the peak. This primitive trail is not always explicitly marked, so we recommend having the trail GPS handy to help navigate the overgrown terrain. Pack plenty of water and ensure you are acclimated to high altitudes before attempting this hike. Wear layers and check the weather prior to departing on your adventure to avoid inclement weather at the summit. This hike is not for the faint of heart, so make sure you are prepared to do some scrambling and are ok to hike up steep, demanding terrain.

Embark on your adventure up the Mount Parnassus Trail from the Herman Gulch Trailhead. From the trailhead, track along the Herman Gulch Trail until you encounter a junction. At the intersection, stay right and you will be diverted onto the Watrous Gulch Trail. Hike up the forested gulch along the Watrous Creek until you eventually meet a fork in the road. At this point, you can choose the direction by which to complete this loop, but we recommend going counterclockwise. Veer right and take the Bard Creek Trail. You will intersect with the creek several times as you climb the path. Track southwestward along the route and you will confront another intersection. Here, take a left onto the Mount Parnassus Trail.

Scramble up the ridge’s steep rocky scree to Mount Parnassus’ summit. At the peak take a breather and enjoy the expansive vistas of the Front Range. Notice Bard peak over the ridge in the east and Woods Mountain and Mount Machebeuf in the northwest. Revel in the views before descending the rocky scree. Mind your footing as you follow the primitive route down to Watrous Gulch. Use the trail GPS to help navigate the unmarked path. Hook back onto the Watrous Gulch Trail and then at the junction, retrace your steps down gulch to the Herman Gulch Trail and back to the parking lot.

Getting to the Mount Parnassus Hike Trailhead

Find the Mount Parnassus Trail 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

    No

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Poor

  • Crowd Levels

    Low

  • Route Type

    Lollipop

Mount Parnassus Hike Elevation Graph

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Mount Parnassus Hike Reviews

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