North Ridge, Mount Ida - Rocky Mountain National Park
The Adventure Guide to the Mount Ida Trail and North Ridge Route of Mount Ida includes a trail description, photographs of the trails, comments from our hikes, mileage data, custom Mount Ida topo map, and route GPS tracklogs. The guide will familiarize you with the mountain and help you on your climb.
Photos from July 2012
Range: Rocky Mountain National Park
Latitude: 40.42025, Longitude: -105.81070 trailhead at Milner Pass - Poudre Lake
Route: North Ridge Of Mount Ida
One-Way Mileage: 4.75 to summit
For Map, Trail Mileage, GPS, and Trail Notes go to Page 2
Mount Ida sits at 12,889' on the Continental Divide. We first hiked the Peak a few years back as an acclimating hike. The slope is of a relatively moderate grade, but the route is above treeline for almost 4 miles - each way. It is important to start early and keep a watchful eye to the sky.
Directions: Milner Pass is on the west side of the park. From the east, cross the Park on Trail Ridge Road (from Estes Park). It's about 24.5 miles from Beaver Meadows Entrance Booths or 4.5 miles from the Alpine Visitors Center. From the west, Milner Pass is about 16 miles from Grand Lake Entrance Booths.
Milner Pass is located on the Continental Divide at 10,759 feet. Privies are available at the parking area.
From the trailhead, walk around Poudre Lake and into the lower leg of a switchback. The upper leg of the switchback gives good views of the lake. Cross under crumbly rock towers along the trail and enter the woods.
At .45 mile cross a plank over a drainage, then continue climbing.
At .60 mile reach a junction. The Mount Ida Trail goes south or right. The sign warns of the dangers of cross country travel. The trail is not maintained, the terrain is rough, the trail crosses an exposed ridgeline, weather moves in quickly, and there are few obvious points of reference. Beware! Heed the warning.
From the junction, the trail follows a section of the Old Fall River Road a short distance before the trail leaves up a steeper slope to the left. At 1.15 miles the trail leaves treeline. The rest of the route is exposed to the weather.
Climbing steadily the trail crosses the open slopes below Peak 11,881. Mount Ida is seen in the distance.
At 1.40 miles a rock outcrop is to the right of the trail. The trail and game paths can be seen on Peak 12,150.
Looking back at the rock outcrop from across the drainage and the Never Summer Mountains are in the background.
The path as it leads toward Peak 12,150. Mount Ida is just visible behind 12,150.
Arriving at the saddle between Peak 12,150 and Mount Ida, it is 3.40 miles from Milner Pass. The actual summit of Ida is hidden, and is still 1.35 miles away.
The view from the saddle looking north across Forest Canyon to Trail Ridge Road and the Mummy Range in the background.
Leaving the saddle, the climb grows steeper. The trail has ended, but the general direction is up. Choose and follow a set of cairns (rock towers). No one way seems to be better than any other. The real object is to follow the slope to the top, which is the summit of Mount Ida.
Higher up the slope, the summit of Mount Ida is more obvious, though still a climb.
From the summit of Mount Ida, 12,880, a view of Longs Peak (zoomed).
It is 4.75 miles to Mount Ida from Milner Pass. Mileages may vary as the passage to Mount Ida is a route not a defined trail.