Tumbledown Mountain and Mt Blue State Park (Weld)

This week my younger son and I camped two nights at Mt Blue State Park and hiked the loop trail at Tumbledown Mountain.

Tumbledown Mountain Loop Trail

Though short, the Tumbledown Mountain Loop Trail is an extremely challenging hike involving a large amount of rock scrambling and a climb through a narrow hole in the rocks using rungs.  The top of Tumbledown provides amazing views of the surrounding mountains, opportunities to swim or wade in the mountaintop lake, and a large flat area to rest and refresh before heading back down.  

We started our hike by parking at the Brook Trail parking lot and walking up the road to the Loop Trail trailhead.  This saved us from having to hike up the road at the end of the hike.  The trail itself starts with a relatively mild elevation gain during the initial portion.  The first half of the hike takes you to an open ridge-line where you can view in the distance the vertical climb you will make shortly thereafter.  After a short walk through woods, the trail starts climbing very steeply.   Much of the trail from this point until the top requires rock scrambling.  Towards the very top of the Loop Trail, there is a narrow passageway within which are mounted climbing rungs.  The passageway, named Fat Man's Misery, had been on my mind since planning the trip since I tend be get claustrophobic in tight spaces.  My son went first, and after clearing the hole, hoisted my backpack using a rope I had tied to it.  This enabled me to get through the hole without having to worry about the pack.

Once at the top the trail runs along the crest of the mountain and then down to a mountaintop lake, where we took a lunch break and relaxed.  We took the Brook Trail down, which was easier than the Loop Trail.

Here is a map of our hike.  Another map is below.

View from the ridge line that precedes the final ascent.  Its nice to see where you are going over the next 1/2 mile.
The open ridge line before the ascent.
The initial part of the trail has some steep sections but nothing compared to the final 1/4 mile to the top.

The final 1/4 mile looks alot like this...
and this...
and this.

Fat Man's Misery.  Note the rungs on the left and right side of the photo. 
After passing through Fat Man's Misery, the trail comes to the top of the mountain and meets up with a trail running across the top.  There is still some climbing and descent but after the Loop Trail it feels easy.

Trail along the top of the mountain.

Descending to the lake.
Approaching the lake.
To the left is the Loop Trail, to the right the Brook Trail. 

Mt Blue State Park Campground

Mt Blue State Park's campground is an excellent place to stay when exploring the mountains in this area.  

Some campsites have electric hookups.  There are pit toilets and sinks in close proximity to most sites, and the bathhouse has flush toilets and free private hot showers.  The bathhouse was relatively clean.

The park itself has a number of hiking trails, the more challenging of which are in a separate section on the other side of the lake. There is a nice shoreline trail near the campground with views across the lake.

There is also a nature center and a beach with a lifeguard, although the roped swimming area is very shallow.

Reservations can be made online.  Firewood and ice are available for purchase at the ranger gatehouse.  We had no cell phone reception anywhere in the area with the exception of the top of Tumbledown Mountain. 

Mosquitoes were plentiful at the campsite so I'd recommend a bug head net and bug spray.  

View across lake
View of lake and beyond from swim area and beach

Morning before sunrise

Campsite with picnic table, fire ring, electric hookup and water


Trail from campsite to beach
Trail along lake


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