Mount Morrison South Ridge Trail

HARD 383 reviews
#2 of 9 trails in

Mount Morrison South Ridge Trail is a 3.2 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Morrison, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
3.2 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
1,856 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

birding

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

snowshoeing

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

bugs

muddy

rocky

scramble

no shade

Mount Morrison is one of the most prominent peaks of Denver's Front Range and the metro area. It is located right behind Red Rocks Amphitheater. The route is very simple just follow the path up to the left after the closed gate. however don't let the low elevation and simple access fool you this is not an easy hike. The 1st mile of the hike follow a power line up the ridge you will switch back a minor amount but for the most part you go straight up. The trail is very loose soil and will be slick. When wet this section of the trail turns into a mud slide (could be fun and painful at the same time). After the initial up section you will get a break followed by another short climb up more loose soil. The next half mile is easy walking with great views, this would be a good time to check the weather and make sure you have time for another hour of hiking. Once you get to the final ridge the hike turns into a class 2 maybe low class 3 scramble. You will need to use your hands to pull yourself up. You will soon be at the summit with great views of Denver and the Divide to the west.

Warning: Part of the powerline that follows the trail unhooked and fell crossing the trail. I didn't see any exposed wires, but I wasn't keen to find out if it was active or not. Easy enough to step over.

hiking
5 days ago

Don’t be deceived by the tourist hot spot nearby, this is a real hike. My watch clocked 2 miles to the top and an elevation gain of 2,000 feet. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen. The hike itself is rewarding with great view at the top. Wear sturdy soles shoes, the terrain is craggy. Definitely worth doing.

hiking
7 days ago

Short but challenging and beautiful hike. This is great 14er practice without committing a full day or travelling far from Denver.

trail running
7 days ago

Very challenging trail and it is great for exercise of a class 2 hiking trail. Few areas are just plain steep dirt with little loose rocks here and there and I would imagine it will be very slippery and muddy during wet season. About 3/4 to the top is a little scrambling. Short and intense.

hiking
19 days ago

This was a beautiful and challenging hike with great views of Red Rocks and downtown Denver. We did the complete out-and-back and it ended up being 3.8 miles with nearly a 2,000 ft. elevation gain. It’s definitely a steep climb to the top, but the views are worth it. The path is also lined with beautiful wildflowers! Be aware of loose rocks and pack lots of water!

hiking
21 days ago

Definitely difficult but doable if you’re in decent condition. Great views of Denver on one side and the mountains on the other. I missed the entrance the first time around so keep your eyes peeled.

28 days ago

Good for a quick hike and a little sweat!! Would be hard if not in physical hiking condition.

hiking
29 days ago

Holy wow am I sore. Such a great hike, though. The continuous incline may prove pretty difficult, but the trek down far surpasses the hike up; it's actually pretty scary in some spots, so wear good hiking shoes/boots to save yourself from sliding on the loose rock and sand, particularly at the top where one fall could break some serious bones or worse. Take it slow, bring plenty of water, and be ready to sweat--a lot. Zero tree coverage, as well, so some may need sunscreen. It really is worth the effort as the veiws at the top are some of the best I have seen in the area. No rattlesnakes this time around but others seem to bump into them quite a bit. Be wary of that, too. The summit rests all the way at the tippy-top of the foothill, so just when you think you're done, keep going. Aim for the communcations tower and you'll be climbing (literally) hand and foot up to a great accomplishment near the end. Get out and do it!

29 days ago

I like this trail. It is a great workout. Hikers beware though, there was a HUGE rattlesnake on the trail 6/22 about 1/4 of the way up and he was coiled and rattling right on the trail. I am pretty sure I scared him as much as he startled me. Just be aware that there are rattlesnakes on/near this trail and watch/listen for them. Stay safe!

hiking
1 month ago

Don’t underestimate this hike. Bring good non-slick hiking shoes, and don’t go if the ground is wet. The trail is all loose rocks and dirt so coming down, I had to crab walk at times because I didn’t have hiking poles. The views are worth it though.

1 month ago

Decent trail with great views. This was the second time I did the trail and decided to do it in the evening. Views are great at the top and along the way. We started heading down just before sunset and met two mountain lions standing on the trail about 1/3 of the way down. We were able to keep our distance and go around them safely.

1 month ago

Great challenging hike without having to travel I70. Steep and rewarding. Careful coming down especially the bottom section as trail is loose and slick. Terrific views from the top.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike! It is definitely steep, loose and difficult but the 360 views are stunning and the rock scramble at the top is really fun. We completed the hike with our kids, 9, 7 and 3 year old girls.

hiking
1 month ago

Its definitely a challenge! Beautiful views. Hardly anyone on the trail. Great buns workout. Its close to home so it's super convenient too.

hiking
1 month ago

Challenging and beautiful! I love it !

hiking
1 month ago

Great workout! While the trek up is a challenge, coming down was more difficult...lots of scree and steep, slippery terrain. Wear good shoes! As others mentioned, there is basically no shade. Gate 4 at Red Rocks was closed when I arrived, but I parked outside without issue.

1 month ago

Steep right from the start. For a 2-3 hour hike it’s the perfect challenge and so close to Denver. The views over red rocks and the mountains and valleys to the other side are great. Scramble at the end is fun, rattlesnakes everywhere though so use caution. Personally I would not bring my dog.

hiking
1 month ago

I did this before sunset with a Meetup group. This was one of my favorite hikes and is nice and close to the Denver Metro area. The hike is challenging offering various levels of rock scrambling. Spring wildflowers painted the landscape. There happened to be a concert at Red Rocks which we could hear very well for most of the hike. The sunset views at the top were spectacular. A few warnings: 1) word is that there are lots of rattlesnakes in this area 2) this is a slippery, sandy trail with lots of loose rocks making the descent a different kind of challenge 3) there is very little shade so wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water.

hiking
2 months ago

Don't take this hike lightly. It's fairly steep and there's very little level terrain all the way to the top. The most difficult portion of the hike wasn't the brief scramble just before the summit, it was the descent back to the trailhead. Going up you won't notice the loose rocks and slick, sandy soil as much as you will coming down. Bring good shoes/boots with plenty of traction, and consider using trekking poles. Rattlesnakes are present in this area so be aware of them. There's almost no shade along the trail so plan accordingly if attempting this hike during the dead of summer. Wish I had something to say about the views, but it was foggy when we went so there wasn't much to see.

hiking
2 months ago

Fun hike with good rock scrambling! On the way up you can see the other mountains you’ll eventually cross to which is always a treat and at several points you’ll see the actual Red Rock Amphitheater. Near the very end there’s a nice bit of rock scrambling that you can, if you are so inclined, make even better by straying a bit off the clearly defined trail and making your way up.
The way down is easy peasy and if you lose the way you can always see where you’re going and can simply cut right across the mountains to make your way down.
Parking: the gate next to the trail was closed, but if you go into the park from another entrance there’s a parking lot not too far up the other side of it. Free, of course.
A nice way to spend two or three hours that you could extend by doing some of the minor trails in Red Rock Park. Will probably go do it again. Morrison is on the upper end limits of what I’d take an adventurous visiting friend on with prior experience due to mountain sickness.

2 months ago

steep, difficult, and rock climbing at the top great views fun challenging trail

hiking
2 months ago

This is an excellent, short hike especially if you are conditioning for more challenging hikes. Great work out! Short and sweet!

2 months ago

Great hike, but a couple things: 1) the trailhead is closest to entrance 4 of the park, go through the gate then the trailhead is to your left (sign showing no bikes or horses) 2) there is maybe 4 shaded spots under trees on the whole trail, keep that in mind as we go into summer 3) I brought my trekking poles and was glad I did 4) BOLO rattlesnakes! 5) really don’t underestimate this hike!

hiking
2 months ago

Day was perfect with clouds and no mud. Always a great hike when you need some quick elevation in a short time. Met a weiner dog named Stephan (who had no reason to be on the trail) and watched him tumble his hot dog body down a 4 ft tiny slope. Once I realize the weiner was not injured, I enjoyed a laugh, patted him on his dusty head and continued down. Remember to bring poles if you are like me and have the balance of a giraffe on ice skates.

hiking
2 months ago

Very steep, slippery, and rocky hike. Pretty great views but not really much better than what you’d see from other hikes in the area. Took a lot longer than expected, but I’m not very sure-footed. A few spots that require scrambling a bit. Poles are very helpful!!

hiking
2 months ago

Great short hike, nice and challenging. I hustled but was able to make it up in an hour and back down in 25 with a short stop at the top. The scrambles are fairly short but fun.

trail running
2 months ago

Steep, and involved.

3 months ago

I loved this hike because it was a great workout with quick elevation gain. I also loved the scramble at the top. It’s not a heavy traffic trail which is always a bonus. Gorgeous views all the way up. I agree with other reviews about not doing this trail when there is moisture due to steep incline with a lot of loose rock and it can be slippery. The trail is closest to entrance 4 of red rocks and not clearly marked but I finally found it :) will be doing this one often.

3 months ago

Such a workout !!! If doing in summer bring a hat, there is limited shade here. Steep and slippery incline at the beginning of the trail with about 2 false views. Once past that then it’s moderate hiking until you reach the scramble. Get on all fours and finish to the top ! Be careful going down..... that was the worst part for all of us.

3 months ago

Trekking Poles , next time for sure !

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