Rotary Peak (not Sniktau)

Distance3.04 mi
Elevation Gain673 feet
My Time1 hr 24 min
DifficultyModerate
Closest TownSilverthorne
Food NearbyMurphy’s

I have been trying to do Mount Sniktau for a couple of weeks now and have always been turned away because of weather. Well today the weather was nice and I finally did it….except I’m not too bright and I climbed the wrong hill at ended up at Rotary Peak instead. I did try Sniktau after that but that is for another blog.

The Start

There is a small parking area on the top of Loveland pass near the Continental Divide sign. On the side of the road that you park there is a trail head for Mount Sniktau. If you cross the road to get a picture of the Continental Divide sign you end up with a nice picture and right are at the start of the trailhead for Rotary Peak. Early in the morning it would be easy to then just take that trail and think you were on the other trail and get confused when you get to the top and it says Rotary Peak. Now the Rotary trail has some amazing views and it is worth it so no need to be embarrassed by going up the wrong trail…right?

The view from the top of Loveland Peak and the sign for the continental divide in the foreground.

The Trail to Rotary Peak

The trail begins right next to the Divide sign and wraps its way around a small hill. It then goes up a second hill on the first of the two toughest inclines of the hike. The trail during the beginning incline and the incline near the end is very rocky, with both large and small rocks, and the footing can be a little iffy so you may want to slow down a bit.

After the first incline you walk down a small valley and then do another incline that is longer but a little less steep than the initial one and that will reveal an amazing view to take advantage of before the trail splits off to the right.

The view from the second hill on the trail to Rotary Peak.  Snow capped mountains in the background with a large valley in the foreground.

The trail to the right starts with a small elevation gain and then down again into a small valley. In the valley the wind is blocked and it is relatively flat and an easy walk. The trail on most of the ridgeline is no more than 18 inches wide but it is very well defined and easy to follow until you get to the final ascent.

The last ascent is again steep and rocky. The trail kind of disappears in the rocks and becomes a little more difficult to follow until you get to the top where it becomes defined again. You are pretty much at the top now and it is just a few more feet until you see a rock chair that has been built up and is a perfect place to get a picture of Mount Sniktau and Cupid and the rest of the range. The top is also very windy again.

The view from the constructed rock chair that looks back across the pass to Mount Sniktau and Cupid.

This is about the time that I realized that I didn’t actually walk up Sniktau and that I was looking at it. A few feet behind the chair I noticed the marker for Rotary Peak and then it really sunk in that I did the wrong trail. The nice part was that I was pretty much the only one that did this side and it was much easier than Sniktau. It also has some amazing views. Here are some stats for the hike.

Distance and Elevation

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 3.04 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 673 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 12,479 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hours and 24 minutes.

Effort

This was a new experience for me starting out close to 12,000 feet and going up from there. My watch didn’t record my data but it was around 9,000 steps for this hike.

Terrain

The beginning and the end of this hike are fairly rocky but a majority of the time it is a dirt path walking across a ridgeline. The wind can be pretty fierce so keep an eye out for that as well. Because of the rocky footing during the steeper parts I would suggest good hiking shoes and poles.

Access

There is a small parking area at the top of Loveland pass near the I-70 side. (If you haven’t been on Loveland pass and have any fear of heights it can be a little interesting) The parking area that maybe holds 15 cars fills up quick because it is near signs for the Continental Divide. There are no bathroom facilities.

Wrap up

Despite the disappointment of taking the wrong trail this really was a remarkable hike. I haven’t spent too much time at this elevation with the wind conditions and it was a good test. If you are a moderate hiker or don’t have much time but want to get some incredible views of the Rocky Mountains this might be a good hike to try.

The lack of shade and high winds do make this a bit more challenging and I needed a stocking cap even at the end of July. The two major inclines are difficult especially at the higher altitude with the wind making it tough to catch your breath but it is definitely a lot easier than the Snitkau track. I am going to rate it as moderate due to the environmental factors alone.

If you have suggestions or comments feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com or you can follow me the social media platforms below. I have posted this hike and all the hikes I have done on my interactive map that you can find here. Happy Hiking!

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