Raspberry Mountain, as seen from U.S. Highway 24 west of Woodland Park, appears as a nondescript hill, overshadowed by Pikes Peak. But its summit offers stunning views of the peak and the Front Range, with a relatively short approach. The trail begins on the road to The Crags – turn left from Colorado Highway 67 a few miles south of Divide – at a bend with a small parking area. Hike up a pretty meadow to the ridgeline. The trail follows the ridge for a time then drops down for the climb to the 10,600-foot summit, for a total hike of three miles each way. Spend some time enjoying the views of the peak and the Crags and climbing around on the many rocks at the top.
It was a pretty summer day when we hiked Raspberry Mountain. I usually like to start early when climbing mountains, but this hike is short and the summit relatively low, so we’d slept in. We reached the summit around 3 p.m., only to see one of the ugliest thunderstorms I’d ever seen looming to the west. We never even noticed it on the way up, busy as we were eyeing Pikes Peak. We quickly hopped off and began to descend, but five minutes later the storm was on us. It thundered so loud you could hear what sounded like the air tearing. The lightning flashed in our faces, and the thunder was instantaneous. After what seemed like an eternity of jogging downhill, we finally were out of the worst of it, shaken but fine. I never stand on a summit at 3 p.m. during the monsoon season anymore, no matter how high or low the mountain.
Recommended season(s): Spring – fall (winter for snowshoeing).
–R. Scott Rappold
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