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This short trail north of Steamboat Springs, near Steamboat Lake, climbs to the top of Sand Mountain. It offers spectacular 360 degree views.

Note: For vehicles not equipped with 4 WD and high clearance, or in the event of wet road conditions, it is advisable to park the vehicle at the intersection of Forest Roads 42 and 480. Be careful not to block the roadways.

Attractions and Considerations:
Upon arriving at the summit of Sand Mountain you are treated to a spectacular 360 degree view of the Yampa Valley and neighboring mountain ranges. On clear days it is possible to see as far as Utah and Wyoming. Avoid the peak at all costs if any storms threaten, since lightning is always a serious and deadly threat atop the high peaks. If you park on Forest Road 42 and hike up Road 480 and 480.A, the total mileage to the summit is about 3 miles, with the lower part of the hike being a relatively gentle incline up to the trailhead.

This trail is a relatively short steep hike which takes the hiker
through a mature spruce/fir forest. It is worth the effort for the breathtaking views that are afforded from the summit. Because it takes awhile to drive to the trailhead, be sure to get an early start and bring plenty of food and water. Be sure to bring a camera!


As humans, we must minimize our impacts to help preserve this resource for present and future generations.

Directions: From Steamboat Springs, Go west on US Hwy 40 to County Road 129, Elk River Road. Travel north for approximately 26 miles. Just past the Steamboat Lake Headquarters turn left on County Road 62. Drive just over 3 miles to the junction of Forest Road 42, continue on this road for 5 miles. Turn left onto Forest Road 480, then fork onto Forest Road 480.A, continuing about 0.5 miles to the Sand Mountain Trailhead. The hiking trail switchbacks to the very top of Sand Mountain, about 1 mile.

Elevation: 9,840 feet

Ending Elevation: 10,847 feet

Elevation Gain: 1,000 feet

Distance: 3 miles

Difficulty: Moderate

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Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests, Wyoming

Visitor Information

The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.