4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
Fremont Peak rises to a height of 7,233 feet above sea level, towering over Canon City (5,331 feet) below.
While this desert peak is of modest elevation compared to the nearby major mountain ranges, it does form the high point of a jagged ridge rising above the Royal Gorge, known as the Gorge Hills. "A visit to this peak is a pleasantly invigorating desert outing with knock-out views," writes Sarah Simon on [SummitPost.org](https://www.summitpost.org/fremont-peak/612741).
From the top, you'll enjoy stunning views of the rugged Sangre de Cristo Range, Pikes Peak, the Royal Gorge directly below you, and the Royal Gorge Bridge shining in the sunlight. While the easiest way to reach the summit of Fremont Peak is by beginning in the Royal Gorge Park, the route mapped here begins from the outskirts of Canon City at the Tunnel Drive Trailhead.
In total, this challenging hike gains 2,648 feet of vert along its 10.5-mile round-trip distance.
This hike is aerobically challenging but rarely does the technicality pass merely "Difficult" by our FATMAP rating system.
Since Fremont Peak is so low in elevation, this desert peak remains snow-free most of the year, and even when it *does* receive snow, it's rarely enough to stop a determined hiker.
With this much elevation gain and mileage, Fremont Peak is a perfect spot for mid-winter training hikes for climbers prepping for a big 14er climbing season.
While the first couple of miles along Tunnel Drive are very flat, as soon as you turn onto the Royal Cascade trail, the climbing begins in earnest! Prepare to ascend steeply up the rugged face of the Royal Gorge, alternating between somewhat mellow benchcut sections of trail running along the side slope and short, steep pitches—some of which might require the use of a hand but most likely should not.
After about 2.6 miles of steep climbing on the Royal Cascade, you'll top out on a knob with spectacular views all around! But note, this is not yet the top of Fremont Peak—you'll see the peak rising above you.
The route, as mapped, then descends steeply down the Royal Cascade trail, traversing along the side of the ridge before turning sharply left for the final push to the summit of Fremont Peak.
The final push to the summit is much steeper, following a loose, narrow, switchbacked trail to reach the summit.
The final stretch pushes the FATMAP difficulty rating to "Difficult," although it does toe the line with "Severe," but only briefly.
Some maps show another route to reach the summit.
Instead of descending the Royal Cascade Trail, this alternate route simply scrambles up the ridgeline directly to the summit of Fremont Peak.
However, this route may require some route finding and would elevate the technicality level of this hike to at least "Severe," if not "Extreme." **Note:** The Royal Cascade Trail is subject to extensive and somewhat unusual seasonal closures to protect bighorn sheep.
The trail is closed for the entire months of June and July, and in September and October, the trail is only open from 9:00am to 5:00pm.
As long as you plan around these dates and times, you can easily still have a fantastic hike on the Royal Cascade to Fremont Peak! Sources: https://www.summitpost.org/fremont-peak/612741