Cottonwood Pass, CO

Limestone Ridge - Altitude 10,132 Feet

My Hike Of An Obscure Chaffee County Mountain Ridge Near Buena Vista, Colorado - October 18 and 24, 2009

Chaffee County, CO Mountains

It is safe to say Limestone Ridge is not a high priority on many people's hiking list. This little visited mountain ridge a few miles east of Buena Vista at most, might be recognized by drivers on Highway 285 & 24 between Trout Creek Pass and Johnson Village.

Ah but as a local, I love finding new peaks to climb and documenting them for this web site. And 2009 has been my "year of obscurity" with ascents of 13ers such as Twining Peak and Jones Mountain, 12ers in Banana Mountain and a variety of nearby unnamed points. Even if the hike is not the greatest, at least I have the consolation capturing new scenery photos for this web site ... and just look at that scenic shot on the right taken an overlook on Limestone Ridge!

Now I actually hiked Limestone Ridge twice: Once on late Sunday afternoon (10/18) and again on Saturday morning (10/24). During my first visit, the sun to the west nullified my chances of capturing stunning photos of the Sawatch Mountains. So I returned on a morning when the sun was at my back, to the east. Having said that, I think I came up with adequate photos from each excursion. Enjoy them below!

How To Get There: From Johnson Village, CO, travel east on Highway 24 & 285. (Please review the three large photos directly below.) Make a left on Chaffee County Road 305. This dirt road travels up McGee Gulch with Limestone Ridge on the right. Take the road to the end and make a right on Lenhardy Cutoff Road. Be advised this road is closed from vehicular traffic from December 1 through April 15. I traveled up Lenhardy Cutoff Road in my passenger vehicle and parked at the obvious pass with Limestone Ridge directly to the right (south). As always, I recommend having the National Geographic map (Buena Vista & Collegiate Peaks edition) which covers much of this region: Buena Vista & Collegiate Peaks, Colorado - Trails Illustrated Map #129.

-Steve

Contact:
Twitter: @stevegarufi
Facebook Fan Page: ColoradoGuy.com Fan Page


Photos of Limestone Ridge in Chaffee County Johnson Village, CO
Pulled on the shoulder of Highway 285 & 24 in Johnson Village, CO, above is a photo giving perspective of where exactly Limestone Ridge is. The highest point on the ridge is the far left slope among the four slight slopes of the ridge. Also included are Midland Hill, Point 9,124' and Point 9,390'.
Limestone Ridge, CO
A closer view of Limestone Ridge from Highway 285 & 24. Chaffee County Road 305 and McGee Gulch is probably no more than 0.5 miles from this spot.
Map
I threw in a photo of my map since I'm such a nice guy. As you can see, it is a relatively short walk from the road to the high point of Limestone Ridge. On my second visit, I walked to the third slope, Point 10,032'.

You can buy a copy of this map on Amazon here: Buena Vista & Collegiate Peaks, Colorado - Trails Illustrated Map #129.

McGee Gulch, CO

Colorado Autumn Foliage

Sunday Afternoon - October 18, 2009

Traveling west on Chaffee County Road 305 in McGee Gulch, I spotted trees that had remaining autumn color on them. Not too shabby!

My autumn pages for 2009:

  • Autumn vs. Winter
  • Two Days of Autumn Photography
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Lost Canyon Road
  • Colorado Evening
  • Early September Foliage
  • Lenhardy Cutoff Road

    Lenhardy Cutoff Road

    TOP: The junction of Chaffee County Road 305 and Lenhardy Cutoff Road. Mountain bikers love this area, and many ride from this point all the way to Buena Vista.

    SECOND: Driving up this narrow road. It is passable with a low clearance passenger vehicle like mine, but some kind of truck would be a better option.

    I parked in an open area near the pass - the high point in the road. As I walked up Limestone Ridge, I turned back to capture this photo. That hill is another unnamed ridge/hill that is 10,350 feet at the summit.
    Forest There is no trail. I scrambled up through fairly boring forest like this.
    Limestone, Ridge, CO On the top of the ridge, the view looking north toward Unnamed Point 10,350' (two photos above) and the Buffalo Peaks.
    Limestone Ridge, CO And somewhere in this particular vicinity is the highest point of Limestone Ridge. There was no marker... it wasn't hard to tell... and it was a very underwhelming summit experience.
    Limestone Ridge, CO

    Limestone Ridge, CO

    Mt. Princeton, CO

    The views to the west of Limestone Ridge were glorious though!

    I did my best to photograph decent shots, and the third photo made it on my Mt. Princeton web site, but I knew I needed to return when the sun was at my back ...

    Saturday Morning - October 24, 2009

    We had a few days of snowfall during the week and Lenhardy Cutoff Road had many patches of snow like this. I parked my car and walked a portion of the road to the base of the ridge.

    Lenhardy Cutoff Road, CO
    A view of Limestone Ridge from Lenhardy Cutoff Road. Limestone Ridge, CO
    Two photos of the snow, which wasn't too deep. Snowy Forest

    Snowy Forest

    Ah the views!

    FIRST: Mt. Yale, Mt. Columbia, Mt. Harvard and many other peaks comprising of the Sawatch Range to the northwest.

    SECOND: A close-up photo that includes Midland Hill and those two unnamed points (9,124' and 9,390') I hiked this year. Much of the town of Buena Vista is located behind that small pinion-covered mountain.

    THIRD: This is probably my favorite photo on this page. The grand view that includes Mt. Princeton, Mt. Antero and Mt. Shavano (covered in clouds).

    Limestone Ridge, CO

    Mt. Princeton

    FOURTH: A close-up of Mt. Princeton. I have hiked Mt. Princeton twice (2009 and 2004) and if you love this mountain, I invite you to view 3.5 years of photos of this mountain at: www.MtPrinceton.org. :)

    Mt. Princeton
    I walked to the "third slope" (Point 10,032') and honestly, I was becoming quite bored. Originally I planned to walked to the far end of the ridge to hopefully capture a photo of the highway, but it just didn't seem worth the walk. Snooooze!

    Adjacent: The immediate ridge is known as Triad Ridge, which I suppose might be my next hike one of these weeks or months.

    An example of how seemingly boring it is up there. Limestone Ridge, CO
    I really like the composition of this photo. I walked toward the east side of the ridge which was covered in trees ... Limestone Ridge, CO
    ... and I came across this abandoned cabin. This was probably a dwelling for prospectors and/or miners a long time ago. Old Cabin
    One token photo of myself. I love my tie-dye, but I especially wore it because it's hunting season and I wanted optimal visibility. I did see a few hunters in the area on both of my visits. Steve
    On the way down, a nice photo of Mt. Antero.

    If you enjoy my web site, please join my fan page to receive all updates...

    Mt. Antero