Mount Lady Washington, Longs Peak Trailhead, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado
Mount Lady Washington - 11.8 miles
Longs Peak Trailhead
|Round-Trip Length:||11.8 miles (distance may vary by route)|
|Start-End Elevation:||9,405' - 13,281' (13,281' max elevation)|
|Elevation Change:||+3,876' net elevation gain (+3,950' total roundtrip elevation gain)|
Mount Lady Washington - 11.8 Miles Round-Trip
Mount Lady Washington (13,281') is located next to Longs Peak (14,259'), and is one of three peaks that form the Chasm Lake cirque (Mt Meeker, Longs Peak and MLW). No trail leads to the summit, however it’s a relatively short, moderate excursion off the Longs Peak Trail to the top.
The route shares the first 3.25 miles with Chasm Lake to the East Longs Peak Trail, which makes a counter-clockwise arc around the base of Mount Lady Washington to Granite Pass and the Boulderfield. You’ll leave the main trail just before reaching the Boulderfield for a .45 mile, 700’ scramble to the summit:
Alpine Brook, largely concealed by timber, is the only notable feature until crossing the top of a long cascade at treeline (1.85 miles : 10,615'), where the forest quickly shrinks to bands of krummholz.
It clears treeline to the Battle Mountain Backcountry Campsite spur (2.45 miles : 10,956'), and up to the Chasm Lake - East Longs Peak Trail split (3.25 miles : 11,518').
The East Longs Peak Trail splits NW and moderates along the base of Mount Lady Washington to Granite Pass and the North Longs Peak Trail split (4.3 miles : 12,098’). It’s possible to peel off along this stretch and aim for the summit, however there’s easier access ahead.
Granite Pass spans a divisive ridge between the Boulder Brook and Alpine Brook drainages, with exceptional views over each. Views are arguably more interesting to the north and west, which include long sections of the Continental Divide, Mummy and Never Summer ranges.
The East Longs Peak Trail turns sharply SW from Granite Pass around the north side of Mount Lady Washington and switchbacks moderately into the high tundra.
Travel gradually levels and straightens out with an up-close look at Longs Peak and Storm Peak (13,326’), a prominent summit located just across the tundra flats (4.8 miles : 12,305’).
Mount Lady Washington is now tempting, but best to wait for a large cairn at 5.45 miles (12,625’), located a few hundred yards shy of the Boulderfield. Breaking off too early will lead you through challenging (and unnecessary) talus.
Leave the trail at 5.45 miles and make a straight line across soft tundra turf to the rocky base of MLW. There’s a very faint boot track here that twists steeply to a small notch on the summit, somehow avoiding the worst of the sharp and unstable talus.
Scramble left from the saddle / notch to reach Mount Lady Washington and the summit log (5.9 miles : 13,281’), and right for even better views of Longs Peak.
- N40 16.330 W105 33.409 — 0.0 miles : Longs Peak Trailhead
- N40 16.495 W105 33.852 — .5 miles : Estes Cone Trail split
- N40 16.385 W105 34.228 — 1.1 miles : Goblins Forest Backcountry Campsite spur
- N40 16.489 W105 34.662 — 1.5 miles : Cross footbridge, resume steady climb
- N40 16.390 W105 34.805 — 1.9 miles : Cross waterfall on bridge
- N40 16.251 W105 35.056 — 2.45 miles : Battle Mtn Backcountry Campsite spur
- N40 15.934 W105 35.561 — 3.25 miles : Chasm Lake - East Longs Peak Trail split
- N40 16.113 W105 36.016 — 3.75 miles : Fast, moderate travel at the Base of MLW
- N40 16.445 W105 36.325 — 4.3 miles : Granite Pass - North Longs Peak Trail split
- N40 16.334 W105 36.572 — 4.8 miles : Moderate switchbacks level out in tundra flats
- N40 16.026 W105 36.720 — 5.45 miles : Leave trail and aim for summit
- N40 15.937 W105 36.620 — 5.6 miles: Transition from tundra turf to steep talus
- N40 15.889 W105 36.553 — 5.75 miles : Steep, twisting route to summit
- N40 15.807 W105 36.444 — 5.9 miles : Mount Lady Washington
- Mount Lady Washington's name origin is the subject of speculation. It's been thought that Anna Dickinson, the first woman to summit Longs Peak, named the mountain after Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The 'Lady' was applied later in deference to Dickinson.
- About 68% of the trail runs above treeline. Get an early start to avoid afternoon storms, and allow extra time for the rocky descent off the summit.
Rules and Regulations
- There's a $20 entrance fee to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Directions to Trailhead
Mount Lady Washington is accessed from the Longs Peak Trailhead in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Longs Peak Trailhead is located 10 miles south of Estes Park off of Highway 7, between Estes Park and Allenspark.
From Estes Park, travel 9.1 miles south on Highway 7 to the Longs Peak Trailhead turnoff on the west side of the road. Follow the road .9 miles to the ranger station and trailhead. Parking is very limited, and the lot fills up early on weekends. Additional roadside parking is available. Campground parking for non-registered users is prohibited.
Rocky Mountain National Park