Peak(s):  Bull Hill A  -  13,761 feet
Post Date:  05/17/2012
Modified:  08/11/2015
Date Climbed:   05/16/2012
Posted By:  BillMiddlebrook
Additional Members:   USAKeller

 Bull Hill - South Ridge  

Since I didn't see a "summer" report of this route in the trip reports, here's a quick report of 13er Bull Hill via the Echo Canyon trail.

Date: 5/16/2012
Who: BillMiddlebrook and USAKeller
Trailhead: Echo Canyon
Elevation Gain: 3,800'
RT Distance: 7.25 miles

360° Summit Pano (click for larger, interactive version)

The Echo Canyon "trailhead" isn't marked and the unmarked turn-off from CO 82 is very easy to miss. This is the second time I've parked here for a hike and both times I've felt a bit uneasy about leaving my vehicle because it's surrounded by posted, private property. If you have 4WD and don't want to park in the lower area, turn right and continue 150 yards up the old road (trail) where you'll find a pull-off with parking for a couple more vehicles - easy 4WD to that point and it's on public land.

Test of three centered images:

At the unmarked trailhead - trail starts to the right (north)
A right turn turn and stream crossing
The old road is overgrown in most places

We started just after 5am and quickly ran into the only obstacle of the day - the stream crossing 0.3 mile up from the trailhead. After finding a way across, we continued N/NE on the trail leading up Echo Canyon. It's in great shape and stays close to the creek.
A right turn turn and stream crossing

Near 10,600', the trail gets back on the old, overgrown 4WD road that was used to access mines long ago. A defined trail now weaves through the trees on the road.
The old road is overgrown in most places

Above 11,400' the trees thinned out and we passed the mine shack in the Last Change Mine area.
I could live here

The road makes for some easy walking

There's a great view of Casco Peak during much of the climb.
Casco Peak to the northwest

The road ends at the Golden Fleece Mine, just below the south ridge.
Approaching the Golden Fleece Mine (12,600')

At the mine, looking south to La Plata Peak

Just above the mine, we hiked up this slope to reach Bull Hill's south ridge.
The short pitch above the mine is the hardest part of the hike. Class 2

Feels like summer

Finally on the south ridge, the remaining hike was obvious - easy, grass-covered slopes.
On the south ridge, viewing the remaining route

Approaching the summit

Near 13,500', looking south

Almost there

After 3 hours and 20 minutes we were on top. It was an easy hike and we were able to move quickly on the dry road. About 10 years ago I made it to this summit after a traverse from Mt. Elbert. I remember that being a long day and the connecting ridge seeming to go on forever.
Connecting ridge over to Mt. Elbert

Another look at La Plata Peak

The French Group and Mt. Massive (right). Click for larger pic

360° Summit Pano

A quick descent and we were at the trailhead around 11:00. If you're looking for a short summer hike on a Sawatch 13er with great views, Bull Hill won't disappoint.

When I was young, I lived near the base of a Bull Hill (approx. 2,000') and our street went over the top of that hump. I really hated riding my bike up that stupid hill!

My GPS Tracks on Google Maps (made from a .GPX file upload):

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):

  • Comments or Questions

One to keep in the back pocket     05/18/2012 03:39
The trestle heading out over the abyss looks surreal. Some unique views and interesting ruins up there. Looks to offer a great vantage for a sunrise on La Plata. Looks like a super day out. Going to keep this in mind for this summer.


Operation Pano was successful!     05/18/2012 04:23
Agree with kimo; the mines were pretty neat and the vantage points of La Plata - you can stop photographing it.

”When I was young, I lived near the base of a Bull Hill (approx. 2,000') and our street went over the top of that hump. I really hated riding my bike up that stupid hill!”


I can't edit my response     05/18/2012 04:25
But I was going to add that good whether and a short easy hike made for another nice morning out.

I ordered that tarp for the roof, found it on sale.


Views     05/18/2012 12:50
Kimo: I was too lazy to dig out the DSLR when we took the mine shots on the way down. Mine came out ok, but I wish they I had them in RAW from the better camera.

USAKeller: Don't forget the big-screen tv. I can live anywhere but I need my M*A*S*H reruns


Thanks for the TR     05/18/2012 15:11
Dave recommended this one to me when we were hiking Little Horn. Looks like a good easy hike that I could do with my folks later this summer. Awesome views of La Plata.


Nice tracks...     05/18/2012 20:10
...on a fine peak, I mean Hill.
Great report Bill.
Does your family know about the new digs yet?

Steve Knapp

One big hill!     05/18/2012 20:13
Thanks for the report Bill, I haven't seen too many on this one. It's one of the bicentennials I still need. I was wondering how long it took, seems like a nice half day. Pretty dry too after the meager winter we just had and the south aspect.

Looks like you wisely left the skis behind.


The Shack     05/18/2012 21:21
I need the new shack for when the family drives me insane! They won't know the address...


TV     05/19/2012 01:26
Wait, I thought you wanted wi-fi over TV?! What is MASH, btw?


Traverse to Casco?     05/21/2012 18:25
Would traversing over to Casco from Bull Hill be feasible? If so, what kind of class would it be? Looking at a fun 13er trip for this summer along with my usual 14er trips. Thanks!


Sayers     05/21/2012 23:04
Bill I cant make out if X rated is in from a skiers perspective on your 360 pan. certainly looks like the lookers right line is in. What is your opinion or do you have zoomed shot of sayers? thanks!

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