How to Run Gray’s Peak
Some vehicles may not be able to negotiate the forest service road, and should park in the lot just off the service road on the south side of the exit. Parking can become extremely congested on the weekends as the upper road is narrow, the summer lot is small, and hundreds of cars can line the sides. It is recommended you park at the Bakerville exit lot if you can spare the few extra miles.
The summer trailhead starts a couple of miles up the National Forest service road. Data for this route is based on the summer trailhead. Cross the bridge and begin climbing a defined and maintained trail. You’ll pass through shoulder height willow plants and parallel a river in the first mile. There is a very rocky section of the trail near mile 1.6. If you need to filter water, this is a reliable area for flowing water for early/mid season climbs. At about mile 1.8, you’ll reach a not-so-obvious intersection with the Kelso Ridge turnout. Keep left, on the main, most defined trail. A turn to the right (you might not even notice it) will take you up Kelso Ridge, a class 3 off-trail route with loose rocks and falling danger.
At 2.75 miles, split right for Torrey’s Peak, or Left for Gray’s Peak. The trail is a loop in either direction and never goes above an easy Class 2 difficulty.
The north slopes of Gray’s Peak were extensively maintained in 2020, and CFI added a trail with raised rock borders to it for ease of navigation.
Weather on this peak can be extremely variable, even in summer months. Go prepared.
Torrey’s Peak has straightforward switchbacks up its south slopes.
Return back the way you came.
Climbing your first mountain or 14er is an exciting and rewarding experience! You’ll get the achievement of seeing the world from above and the feel-goods of the endorphins from the exercise. However, the mountains aren’t a walk in the park, and getting down is mandatory. Some situations require extra caution and a little know how. With a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to get to the summit and back safely.
Whether you are training for a race or simply indulging in all the wilderness has to offer, there are a variety of factors, some constant, and some changing, that are likely to have an impact on your journey. Knowing these factors can help ensure your safety and get you back to the trailhead safely.