Mount Parnassus via Watrous Gulch is a 6.7 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Bakerville, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from July until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
6.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,280 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

scramble

off trail

Mount Parnassus is one of four 13ers in the immediate vicinity of Watrous Gulch. It is connected via saddles to Wood Mountain and Bard Mountain. This route follows Watrous Gulch trail for 2 miles from the Herman Gulch trailhead. You move through very pretty scenery in the gulch before jumping off trail and taking a straight shot up the side of the mountain. The slopes are carpeted with wildflowers in July.

2 months ago

DO NOT DO THIS HIKE! The directions to the 13er are not clear at all. We thought it would be obvious or there would be a sign. But you’re apparently supposed to know which mountain it is and scramble off trail. That is very unsafe! We realized we passed it up but thought we could do a full circle and got terribly lost. We ended up hiking all the way to Georgetown (18 mile trip total) and calling a taxi to get to our car. What a cluster. I’ve never had a hiking experience like this but the directions are NOT clear on this app nor was it in my book. I would recommend hiking until your pedometer hits 3.5 miles then turn back.

hiking
2 months ago

went this morning and arrived in the parking lot of the URAD valley mining area at about 9:30. Had no clue what was a trail so I had just hiked up behind the gate that said you could hike, but also said danger avalanche area. I went solo and it took me about an hour to 1.5 to reach the base of Mt. Parnassus. I had hiked straight up the side and reached the top at about 11. not a soul was on the small 4x4 road I walked up nor in the parking lot. descended but lost the road I was on and ended up steeply hiking down a gulley trying to follow the creek until I found it again after about 1.5 miles of alpining down. got down in 30 mins. either way this is recommended.

4 months ago

The views live up to the hype on this one. The last mile to 1.5 miles up is difficult to follow so you’re mainly hiking straight up the mountain. Poles are a must-have. Pretty lightly trafficked early morning, and plenty of parking when I arrived at 730am.

hiking
4 months ago

A delightful quick hike. Got off work, bolted up and hit Herman’s Gulch with already 4-5 cars there but they went up the gulch and not the Bard trail. Had it to my lonesome so my body would of taken a few days to find if I became mountain lion dessert. But alas I did not and eventually made it up to Mt Wood. As everyone says the trail is tough to follow, few cairns, but mostly just hiking straight up. Glad I had my poles. Wind sent my pee all over my shoes and ankles but other than that, it was a blast! Took 3 hours round trip (longer than my last tinder date). Next time I will choose the right trail and head up to Mt Parnassus. Like choose your own adventures books but without dying of dysentery or getting stuck in a sewer line while hiding from the jewel thief.

4 months ago

Amazing. So I went left towards wood mountain and traversed the whole gulch and then went up parnassus. Mentally exhausting. Ran out of water and I brought 3L. If you’re gonna do like me and add 3 miles to bag two peaks then
Bring more than that. 3500 elevation gain with 500 flights of stairs according to Fitbit. Clocked in at 10.5 miles! 13ers are so much better than 14ers

hiking
4 months ago

Did this route on Saturday July 21. Beautiful. Wildflowers are crazy right now.
Arrived at parking lot at 630am. Maybe 15 cars. As mentioned in other comments, most of the people are going up Herman’s. Summited Parnassus about 2 hrs 45 min later. Went slow and took lots of pics. 1 hr 30 min to get down. I cant add anything else that others haven’t said. I watched some people prematurely go straight up Parnassus where the trail disappears.. Highly recommend staying to the left of the slope, in line with saddle. Inclination is a little less steep. But still steep. Enjoy!

hiking
5 months ago

This hike offers just about everything! except a lake. We hiked Monday - about 6 cars at the parking lot at 7:45 am. Plenty of wilderness, few people.

The wildflowers threw a party, a big one! But the finale is near the end - near and above the treeline.

The first mile of the trail is nothing special and you'll hear I70, but it becomes white noise and eventually disappears. The beauty comes after, including a stream, meadows, trees and mountain views.

We tracked the trail to the saddle at about 3.2 miles one way. At about the 2.1 mile mark (11,400 ft), the trail splits. The more obvious trail is to the left (we didn't see one to the right). We went left. At about 2.5 miles (11,700), the trail peters out. We hiked to the right and picked up a trail and continued on to about 12,300. At that point, the trail ends and you hike to the saddle.

We continued on to Parnassus via the saddle. You can cut over sooner, but it's even steeper and an experienced hiker told us that route is sketchy in a few spots. Your knees will thank you if you use poles coming down.

The summit offers a spectacular view! - Grays, Torreys, Grizzly Peak, Sniktau, Herman Gulch and so much more. With the exception of Grays, you'll see the other 3 peaks on much of the hike.

RT about 8 miles

hiking
5 months ago

Completed this hike June 16th. This was my second attempt after a storm pushed me off earlier this year. Summit views were spectacular, the climb is difficult with the very steep incline towards summit where you need to just pick your own trail, straight up or switch back up, either way is challenging but worth it. The parking lot may be full but this trail is empty, very few people take this route. It is beautiful and rewarding!

hiking
5 months ago

Don’t get scared off by the huge number of cars at the Herman Gulch trailhead. Very few people are there to hike this trail. We saw about 6 other groups on the trail throughout the entire day, which was a nice change. Incredible views and beautiful wildflowers all along the trail. This definitely deserves a ‘difficult’ rating. Once you get up to the saddle, the trail disappears and you pick your own route. We chose to go straight up without any switchbacks and the steepness was unrelenting. Coming down was hard on the knees. It took us 3 hrs up, 1.5 down.

5 months ago

Nice hike with great views on top! Consider following the trail all the way toward the saddle until it peters out - then head right to the summit. The route provided has you going off trail a bit earlier and is quite steep in places. This could be problematic for some.

6 months ago

Very peaceful trail compared to many of the the others in the area. You hike through woods to and open valley and up between a saddle and beer right. Once at the saddle the trail to summit isn’t really defined, so I made my own line. You have the option of summoning woods and Bard peak as well as on me other. It’s fairly steep but a great hike close to Denver.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Tough, but worth it for the views.

The trail up wasn't well-defined after you branch off to head up to the summit. It wasn't crowded, but busier than you might expect given the reviews.

I'd love to do this one again as a peak to peak with Woods and Bard!

hiking
Friday, August 25, 2017

Amazing hike. Didn't see a single person until we were almost back at the car. Scenery is beautiful and apart from the elevation gain the hike is relatively easy. Once you're hiking out of the gulch there's no official trail but there are many ways to get to the summit. The second half of the hike is above tree line so watch the weather.

hiking
Monday, July 10, 2017

Tough hike, but worth it. Only saw 2 other people on the mountain, maybe 20 on the whole trail, and just me and the marmots at the top.

hiking
Friday, July 07, 2017

7/3/17

https://youtu.be/wFXyUnhEkJk

Wildflowers everywhere and the gulch is endless eye candy in all directions. Climb up Parnassus is challenging, but the loose gravel and steep angle really makes the descent the tougher part of the hike. Sore legs for days, but worth it for the views.

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