Peak(s):  West Buffalo Pk  -  13,326 feet
East Buffalo Pk  -  13,300 feet
Date Posted:  07/24/2014
Date Climbed:   07/23/2014
Author:  scottda
 Buffalo Peaks - Four Mile Creek  

Four Mile Creek Trail
Round trip distance: 15 miles
Start Time: 5:55am
West Buffalo Summit: 9:15 & 11:25
East Buffal Summit: 10:30
Pt. 12917 Summit: 11:45
Finish: 2:25pm

Weather: Clear skies throughout morning. Clouds forming over Sawatch by 10:30. Raining over Sawatch by 11am. Distant rumbles approaching noon. No rain on us during entire hike.

The Buffalo Peaks was a "must do" for us because we can see it clearly from our bedroom window:

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We parked at the start of the jeep road at the end of CR375, 1.5 miles before the TH. However, the jeep road is in very good shape with no ruts and not much in the way of large rocks.

There are nice views of Mt. Princeton and Midland Hill from the TH.

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The Four Mile Creek trail is a mellow hike along the creek for much of the way, with lots of wildflowers. It gains about 1,400 feet during the 3 miles from the TH to the Four Mile pass. There is a re-route that we missed on the way out. We hiked over a beaver pond (as had others, we could tell) and found a trail on the other side that was briefly blocked off with logs. We continued and came across another area where the trail was covered in logs and debris after which we saw a new and very good trail that emerged from the east. (NOTE: the attached GPS log file only has the return route, following the correct trail, so that no one else makes our mistake.)

At the top of the pass there is a sign post, with no sign. We turned right (east) here and followed a clear path through the willows, made our way through the open woods to tree line then up the slope of Pt. 12917. We thought we heard voices in the woods, but saw no one.

Deciding to save the 12er for the return trip we made our way around the south side of the mountain to gain the saddle to West Buffalo. This was a mistake. Nothing dramatic, but we had to cross a large talus field and downclimb a bit to get the saddle. Going over the top of the 12er would be my suggestion for anyone doing this route.

The climb to West Buffalo was straight-forward, with a faint path appearing now and then.

The summit, itself, is typical of the Tenmile Range in that it is large and flat. The views of the Sawatch Range and Arkansas Valley from the summit are awesome.

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The ridge between West and East Buffalo is the real prize of this climb. The rock formations and cliffs are very dramatic. About 1/3 way across the ridge we saw a person on top of West Buffalo, behind us. He was there for quite awhile but never made the trek to East B.

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And the wildflowers are spectacular right now.

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On the return trip, we followed the correct trail re-route and found where we had gone wrong. The re-route crosses the creek about 3/4 of a mile from the TH. We had passed this assuming it was the turn onto the Salt Creek Trail. The old trail continues straight and it was only blocked off by throwing a bunch of rocks on the trail. This being Colorado, we just assumed it was a rocky trail. Before and after this turn the trail is very good and clear of rocks. On the way up, keep an eye out and cross the creek even though there appears to be a trail going straight. When you come to a sign, before the 2nd creek crossing cross the creek and continue on the Four Mile Creek Trail to the pass.

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




Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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 Comments or Questions
mtgirl

Solitude !
07/24/2014 16:55
Nice......I was just there on Sunday, hiking the peaks from the northeast side (off CR 431/Lynch Creek). Such a great hike, didn't see anyone. And I agree, the ridge between the peaks is gorgeous !


Brian Thomas

from the west side
07/24/2014 18:13
I've only done these from the east side in a loop route, you put in some extra work double-topping West Buffalo! Cool TR, thanks for posting.


Dave_W

cool!
07/25/2014 15:43
Thanks for this, I have been wanting to do these peaks for years...now I know how to get there!


SuperPolok

TH Question
07/25/2014 15:50
I too have only done the route from the east side and would love to explore the high country west of the Buffalo Peaks. You said you stopped 1.5 miles short of the TH, approximately what elevation is the TH itself?


scottda

TH Answer
07/25/2014 19:06
The TH is right about 10050. We parked at about 9340.


Brian C

Image 8
07/26/2014 15:29
That is some cool rock! Wow.



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