Mill Castle -> The Castles Overlook on Storm Pass

Crested Butte

Gunnison

Hike to an overlook of The Castles, one of the most beautiful rock formations in Colorado!

Hiking Difficult

Distance
26 km
Ascent
1.3 km
Descent
1.3 km
Duration
6-7 hrs
Low Point
2.7 km
High Point
4 km
Gradient
21˚
VIEW ON MAP
Mill Castle -> The Castles Overlook on Storm Pass  Map

Description

"The hike up the Mill-Castle Trail to Storm Pass is one of the most scenic hikes in Colorado,” writes GoHikeColorado.com. "The landscape is unique, stunning, and sees relatively few visitors.”

While the lower section of this trail is beautiful and is attainable by most hikers, the final push to the top of the ridge and eventually to the summit of Storm Pass is steep and challenging. In fact, to tackle the entire round-trip hike requires a formidable 16.3 miles of hiking and 4,377 feet of climbing (and descending). Completing the entire hike in one shot requires serious fitness and the foresight to leave early in the morning, summit by noon, and get back below treeline before the afternoon storms roll in. Alternatively, some hikers choose to break this route up into an overnight backpack.

Even if you just hike the lower section of the trail, the views of the valley walls on both sides are absolutely stunning! "The walls are ripe with hoodoos, chimneys, shoots, cliffs, pinnacles, and aspen trees as far as the eye can see,” according to GoHikeColorado. "Come here in the fall and you won’t regret it.”

As you break out of the trees, the trail gets progressively steeper, rockier, and more difficult to follow. The trail to the top of Storm Pass isn’t well signed, but if you watch for the cairns marking the turns, the route is still relatively easy to navigate.

Once on top of the ridge, you’ll reap the reward for all of your work: otherworldly views of the Castles! From the top of the pass, soak in the views of the Castles and the Elk Range spreading out all around you. Everyone who’s hiked this trail agrees that this is one of the most beautiful views in the entire state of Colorado!

Sources: https://gunnisoncrestedbutte.com/explore/activities/recreation-sports/hiking-and-backpacking/ http://www.gohikecolorado.com/mill-castle-trail.html

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

July, August, September, October

Features

  • Alpine
  • Picturesque

Guidebooks in this area