Autumn Photos

Jones Mountain - Elevation 13,221 Feet

My Climb of a Colorado 13er in Chaffee County Near Ptarmigan Lake - August 9, 2009

Jones Mountain, CO My 2009 climbing adventures have been dedicated to ascending obscure mountains in the Sawatch Range. I am sure you've never heard of South Elbert, Twining Peak, Bald Mountain and Banana Mountain, have you? Well Sunday's hike adds Jones Mountain, a relatively unknown 13er between Cottonwood Pass and South Cottonwood Canyon, to the list!

My ascent of Jones Mountain via Grassy Gulch Road was an enjoyable hike. The view alone of Ptarmigan Lake and Mt. Yale was spectacular at the summit. If you are a photographer, this is a place you really might want to consider visiting.

Now I agree Colorado's 14ers are impressive, but I am quite amazed at how people shun great mountains like Jones Mountain (alt. 13,221 feet), all because it doesn't reach the magic number of 14,000+ feet in elevation. On this outing, I did not see another hiker throughout my climb - quite a contrast to the feeling like you're part of a long parade of humans on an overtraveled trail. I've seen 14er summits packed with large groups of noisy people that felt more like a zoo, with hikers clammoring away on their cell phones with no regard to outdoor etiquette! None of that on Jones Mountain. I had the entire mountain to myself to admire and be in awe. :)

How To Get There: From Buena Vista, travel west on Chaffee County Road 306 (as if you're traveling to Cottonwood Pass). Turn left at County Road 344 and pass Cottonwood Lake. Continue on the dirt road into the canyon, sometimes noted as South Cottonwood Canyon on maps. Not far past Cottonwood Lake, the road becomes increasingly bumpy. An ordinary passenger vehicle like mine can defintitely make it, but you'll want to go slow. Ideally, a 4-wheel drive high clearance vehicle is probably a good idea past Cottonwood Lake. I don't know the exact mileage, but a few miles on the right (north) is Road 349, a road only for 4-wheel drive high clearance vehicles. I parked at the base and began my hike walking up the road toward Jones Mountain. Obviously, your topographical map will help you.

Enjoy the photos below and happy trails to you! :)

All the best,

Twitter: @stevegarufi
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County Road 349 County Road 349
The Ascent

My first photo was taken at the junction of County Road 344 and 349. There's no way my Honda could have made it with some of the huge rocks and dips in this road as seen in the right photo. (My camera never shows just how bumpy and undriveable roads really are for ordinary vehicles!)

Jones Mountain, CO Jones Mountain's summit comes into view as I walked up the road.
Jones Mountain, CO Above timberline. Upward the road continues.
There is a mini-divide of sorts - a divide that seperates watersheds from South Cottonwood Canyon (home of Cottonwood Lake) and "Cottonwood Canyon" (home of Chaffee County Road 306 which leads to Cottonwood Pass). Along the divide is a "V." Walk over the ridge at that point and Ptarmigan Lake is just a short distance away. (See photos at the bottom)
Jones Mountain, CO I followed the old dirt road, which passes a few mining spots and tailings, to the ridge south of Jones Mountain. From here, it is a simple "straight shot" along the ridge to Jones Mountain's summit.
Emma Burr Mountain, CO Look! The views are magnificent up here! Here's the view of Emma Burr Mountain (left) and Mt. Kreutzer (right). I climbed both of those mountains last year ... such a pretty area!
Ptarmigan Lake, CO And the views of Ptarmigan Lake and Mt. Yale just became better and better as I walked up the ridge.
Jones Mountain, CO One last uphill grunt to the summit!

Jones Mounatin - Altitude 13,221 Feet

There it is! Perhaps it's not the most striking or memorable summit, but it was a mountain wonderland nonetheless! :)

Jones Mountain, CO
The view of Ptarmigan Lake and Mt. Yale.

You can see my photos of my hikes of Ptarmigan Lake and Mt. Yale here:

  • Ptarmigan Lake (Hike 2006)
  • 4-Wheel Drive To Ptarmigan Lake (2007)
  • Mt. Yale
  • Ptarmigan Lake, CO
    Looking east toward South Cottonwood Canyon with 14ers Mt. Princeton (left) and Mt. Antero (right). Mt. Princeton, CO
    Facing south toward Morgans Gulch and a slew of peaks comprising of the southern portion of the Sawatch Range. Sawatch Mountains, CO
    Another view of Emma Burr Mountain and Mt. Kreutzer. Emma Burr Mountain, CO
    Looking west, those chalky colored peaks comprise of the Continental Divide.
    More mountain views! TOP: Facing northwest. The closest peak on the right is known as "Jones Mountain North" which reaches ~12,900 feet. Behind Jones Mountain North is Turner Peak and a slew of other mountains. Colorado Rocky Mountains
    Here are all of my pages for this area:
  • South Cottonwood Canyon (Summer)
  • South Cottonwood Canyon (Spring)
  • Autumn Foliage in South Cottonwood Canyon
  • Ptarmigan Lake
  • Hike To Unnamed Point (south of Cottonwood Pass)
  • Cottonwood Pass Road (2009 Opening)
  • Cottonwood Pass (Evening - June 2009)
  • Turner Peak
  • Hartenstein Lake
  • Bike Cottonwood Pass
  • Lost Lake
  • Colorado Rocky Mountains
    Looking way out there to the east, one could see the faint outline of Pikes Peak approximately 90-100 miles away.
    It was so windy up there that it was difficult to capture a decent self-portrait. A shot of legs and shoes is sufficient. :) Jones Mountain, CO

    Ptarmigan Lake, CO
    Ptarmigan Lake

    Coming down Jones Mountain, I walked close to the ridge so I could get a better view of Ptarmigan Lake. Nice photo, don't you think? :)

    Ptarmigan Lake, CO I zoomed-in so you could see the people fishing on the lake's edge.

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    Video - Windy At Jones Mountain, Colorado Summit
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