A climb to the summit of the most visibly-impressive 14er in Chaffee County.


Analysing terrain data

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The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.

Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.

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

High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.


More than any other 14er in Chaffee County, Mount Princeton boasts an impressive monolithic stature.

While the other nearby mountains blend into the range, Princeton sits by itself, separated on both sides by deep valleys.

From the towering Chalk Cliffs at its base to the impressive alpine summit, Princeton is visually impressive and inspiring. That inspiring visage doesn't necessarily translate fully to the hike itself.

If you park at the primary Frontier Ranch parking lot, most of the climb takes place on a dirt 4x4 road before turning to singletrack for the last few miles.

Of course, if you have a high clearance 4x4 vehicle, you can attempt to drive to the upper parking lot...

but the narrow road grade, extreme exposure, traffic from other users, and limited parking at the upper trailhead mean its almost easier to just walk. The singletrack begins near treeline, with the trail switchbacking up the mountainside and into the alpine tundra.

The trail traverses across the side of the ridge into the bowl below the summit, then climbs steeply up the scree field to gain a saddle in the ridge.

Recent trail work has dramatically improved this section of trail and the climb to the saddle, according to 14ers.com. Once at the saddle, the route follows the ridgeline straight to the 14,197-foot summit.

The rocks are more solid at this point, providing much better footing for the final push. Sources: https://www.14ers.com/php14ers/tripreport.php?trip=18611