Hahns Peak  
USGS 7.5' Map: Hahns Peak
Difficulty: Number: Miles: Altitude: Obstacles: Time:
Easy 4 FR 490, FR418 7.16 8,800 to 9,800 ft. Ledge Road 2-3 hours
County: Routt
Adopted by:      
Managed by: Routt National Forest,
Hahns Peak / Bears Ears Ranger District
925 Weiss Drive
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487-9315
Summary: Hahns Peak is a shelf road that mostly circumvents Hahns Peak. There are a few mines on Hahns Peak with views toward Big Red Park and Steamboat Lake.
Attractions: Mining History. Scenic Views. Trailhead.
Natural - by snow pack
Best Time: June - North side may still be drifted
July - Best
August - Start of fall colors, best
September - Best fall colors
Hiking -
Hahns Peak - FT1158
Hahns Peak - FR490
Equestrian -
Mountain Bike -
Hahns Peak - FT1158
Hahns Peak - FR490
Hahns Peak - FR490
Motorcycle -
Hahns Peak - FT1158
Camping: There are a few dispersed sites on the south side of Hahns Peak.
Base Camp: This would be a good area to base camp. Other 4WD roads in the area include Farwell Mountain (FR409), Ellis Jeep Trail (FR499), Iron Mountain (FR488), Twin Mountain (FR413) and South Cross (FR417).
Fall Colors: Good - mostly on the lower southern slopes of Hahns Peak.
Snowshoeing -
Cross Country Skiing-
Snowmobile -
Navigation: From Steamboat Springs, CO head southwest on 6th Street toward Lincoln Ave. Take the first right onto Lincoln Ave and go 1.8 miles. Turn right onto County Rd 129/Elk River Road and continue to follow County Rd 129 for 29.1 miles. Turn right onto County Rd R1/Forest Service Rd 490. This road will go through a residential area before climbing to the loop road that circles Hahns Peak.
History: Joseph Hahn and his two companions, all from Germany, are credited with the discovery of gold in the northwest part of Colorado in 1862. They had prospected Middle Park and North Park without finding gold. After crossing the divide and panning near a large conical gray volcanic mountain they found traces of gold. With winter approaching they headed back to Clear Creek.

Hahn's first two companions moved on so Hahn's confided in William A. Doyle of Black Hawk and Captain George Way from Empire. They made plans to revisit the site but were interrupted by the Civil War. Doyle enlisted in the Third Colorado Calvary and fought for the Union. In the fall of 1865 the three men with others made the trip back to the site and recovered enough gold to think they had made a significant discovery. During this trip Doyle and Way climbed to the peak of the gray mountain and placed a note in an empty screw topped can that related the details of the trip and included the following, "This is named Hahn's Peak by his friend and comrade, William A. Doyle, August, 27, 1865."

After returning to Clear Creek the three split up, Doyle and Way returning to their homes and Hahn went to Kansas. A new expedition was organized for the following year with about 50 men participating. In July of 1866 they headed out, but not far from Empire they had to start shoveling to get over Berthoud Pass. The group camped at Hot Sulphur Springs, crossed the headwaters of Muddy Creek and then made it to the present site of Steamboat Springs by a pass north of Rabbit Ears that Hahn's had discovered.

In late August of 1866 the party established a camp south of Hahns Peak naming it Poverty Bar. No one struck it rich, but Doyle was able to get $5 to $10 per pan at on location. The group decided to form a mining district and set up rules based on those used in Central City. As winter approached everyone headed back to civilization except for Hahn, Way and Doyle who elected to spend the winter at the camp. On October 2, 1866 Way was sent to get supplies. He took the gold dust to purchase the needed supplies and said he would be back on the 14th. Hahn and Doyle continued building a cabin near Way Gulch for the winter. Way never returned. He left his companions and went to Mexico to live out his life.

The snow began to fall and Hahns and Doyle realized Way was not returning and their survival depended on themselves. The wild game began to disappear and it snowed from November 24 through December 31 every day. Finally starvation drove the two from the cabin and on April 22, 1867 they headed back to civilization on snowshoes. On April 29th they reached the Muddy River in Middle Park and rested. Hahn was now to weak to continue and Doyle set out in the morning to find help. After wandering all day he finally made his way back to Hahn who had died. The next morning Dyle set out once again to find human population.

At the same time John Sumner and Ashely Franklin were living in Hot Sulphur Springs and had gone out to find some missing cattle when they spotted Doyle floundering in the snow. They took Doyle back to a cabin and nursed him back to health. They also searched in vain to find Hahn's body based on Doyle's directions. Later, in November, William Newton Byers and John Sumner went out to find the body of Hahn and give him a proper burial. Some fishermen had seen the body and guided the two to the site. The grave was marked by a pile of rocks with a snowshoe as the head stone.

Over the years other prospectors came into the area and mined for gold until a large mining company arrived and started consolidating the mines. It also brough in hydraulic mining to the area. In 1877 a post office was opened under the name Hahns Peak to serve the town south of the mountain. In 1879 the Routt county seat was moved from Hayden to International Camp, and then a year later to Hahns Peak where it remained until 1912 when Steamboat Springs out voted Hahns Peak. By late 1912 Hahns Peak was on its decline. Today it supports tourism around Steamboat Lake.

Just below timberline on Hahns Peak is the site of Royal Flush which developed around the Royal Flush mine in 1897. This was a lode mine and required capital investment to reach the gold veins. About three miles of tunnels were driven into Hahns Peak before the Royal Flush was abandoned. Today it is on private property.

Northwest of Hahns Peak is the town of Columbine which got its start in 1881 when gold ore was discovered on the slopes of Hahns Peak. Columbine was officially laid out in 1897 by James Caron and became a stage stop for the stage run between Steamboat Springs and Laramie. Today Columbine supports the surrounding private homes and guest cabins.

Kenneth Jessen, Ghost Towns Colorado Style, Volume One - Northern Region, J.V. Publications LLC, 1998.
Hahns Peak

photo by:

Hahns Peak 4WD road is accessed from the small town of Columbine, CO. Take FR490 southeast out of town through a short residential area. You will begin to climb up into the forest as you enter public lands. Stay with FR490 past the intersection with FR410. You will come to another intersection to the right, FR490, heading around the south side of Hahns Peak. Instead of taking this intersection, continue up hill to a large open area with a blocked and gated road. This is FR490.1A as shown on the Forest Service Motor Vehicle Use Map. It goes to the top of Hahns Peak, but is blocked by private property on both ends.

Take a sharp left and climb some switchbacks. You will connect with FR418 and FR418.1A (Hahns Peak West), which both tie back together. Stay with FR418. You will come to a trail head for FT1158 which climbs to the top of Hahns Peak. At the top of Hahn's Peak is the Hahn's Peak Fire Lookout which was built between 1908 and 1912. It has a 360 degree view from it's 10,759 foot perch. Past the trail head FR418 and FR418.1A will reconnect.

Paula K


photo by:
Adam M

Past this Y FR418 will intersect with FR414 (Twin Saddle). Turn right and go about 1/2 of a mile to another intersection. Take the right turn onto FR490. This will take you back to the first interscetion below the private property.

Hahns Peak FR490

photo by:
Rachel K

This part of FR490 crosses the southern face of Hahns Peak passing three other interscetions with forest roads that head down to the town of Hahns Peak. Staying on FR490 you will run along a ledge road that gives you views of Steamboat Lake and the valley below.

Steamboat Lake

photo by:
Paula K

You will also pass old spur roads that go to old prospects from the past mining on Hahns Peak. Toward the end of this loop you will drive through some open meadows with a few dispersed campsites. Once you tie back in with the original road, take a left to head back to Columbine.
Data updated - August 7, 2015      4WD Road driven - July 23, 2009      Copyright 4X4Explore.com - 2000-2015