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Directions to Old Man Mountain

photo of Old Man Mountain

(See our other information on Old Man Mountain.)

The following directions take you around Estes Park's busy downtown area.

Coming into Estes on Highway 7 (from Nederland, Allenspark):

Highway 7 will merge into Highway 36 a short distance before the main intersection in town. Turn left onto Highway 36 at the first stoplight, and go straight through the second stoplight. . . .

Coming into Estes on Highway 36 (from Lyons, Boulder, Longmont):

At the second stoplight (the main busy intersection) go straight through. . . .

Coming into Estes on Highway 34 (from Loveland):

Turn right at the first stoplight (the main busy intersection). . . .

. . . from any of the above ways into town, you should now be on Wonderview. From the main intersection it's a mile before you'll turn left on James, after going up a hill and around past a large white hotel. The street sign at James is often obscured by a tree branch. The streets on the left go Far View, Marigold, then James. (If you miss it and come to the place where a road from the left merges into Wonderview, take a sharp left there onto Elkhorn, and backtrack to Old Ranger Drive on your right.)

Turn left on James and go down the hill. Take a right at the bottom onto Elkhorn, and then soon a left onto Old Ranger Drive. . . .

Coming into Estes over Trail Ridge Road:

You'll turn left inside Rocky Mountain National Park at Deer Ridge junction, and follow the road on out of the Park's Fall River Entrance. Drive for several miles past many lodges. At a fork in the road, you'll take a right onto Elkhorn. Not far from there, you'll go right on Old Ranger Drive. . . .

. . . from any of the above ways in to Old Ranger Drive, go to the end of Old Ranger Drive, turn around in the parking space there marked "no parking" and park along the right side of the road pointing down the hill.

Please (!) leave any cell phones turned off in your car, at Old Man Mountain's request. People coming to experience the mountain want to be able to feel the subtle energies of the mountain itself, not the energies from your cell phone. And Old Man wants to commune with your beautiful, unique energy—not your phone's non-relating blast. If your phone is on, it's broadcasting, even if you're not talking on it. Likewise, if your camera is wireless and you can't turn off that function, please don't bring it. GPS is another wireless menace. Please don't hurt the mountain you came to honor. (See the bottom of our page on access.)

If you're sharing a vehicle with non-pilgrims (e.g. your family on vacation), take heart. Old Mountain is within relatively easy walking distance of downtown Estes Park. There is a (long) trail to Old Man from accessible from Deer Ridge junction in the Rocky Mountain National Park. Also, a shuttle bus runs in the summer from several parking lots in the Park to downtown Estes, and you can walk from there.

Especially in summer, downtown Estes Park is a zoo, so here's how to find a parking lot close to both downtown for your family or friends, and Old Man for you. If you've come from Trail Ridge, don't turn off on Old Ranger Drive—just keeping going towards downtown on West Elkhorn. If you've come in any other way, the directions I've given you take you around the mess downtown on Wonderview and down James St. to the intersection with Elkhorn. Instead of jogging right and then left onto Old Ranger Drive, you'll go left on Elkhorn. (Old Man towers slightly off to your right). Within a couple blocks there is a strip mall on the left where you can park. If it's full, continue to the next left, Spruce St., and try the city parking lots there. If they're full, take the next right, Cleave St., for a block and there's a parking lot on the left. If it's full, take a right on Big Horn Dr., left on Elkhorn for a block and a half, and left into the public library's huge parking lot. Whew.

Once at Old Man Mountain, the whole area feels powerful, so going to the top isn't necessary. If you wish to go to the top, there are several ways up, and you can explore for yourself or follow these suggestions. You'll want to wear boots or shoes with good tread, as you'll be scaling fairly steep boulders.

Looking up from the road, you'll probably be able to see an unmarked trail heading straight up from a green stake at the curb. People with short legs may wish to follow the second, easier route as follows. Walk past the gate on the road, and swing right up the rutted old dirt road there. Past the three buildings on your right, you'll see boards in the hillside indicating steps up to an eroded rocky path up. Both of these routes will meet together at a level place, where you look up and see a slanted huge rock sheet. Climb this. Some like to follow the crack in the rock. You'll come to another level place off to your right, looking out over the town. From there turn and face the mountain, go right around the mountain a short distance, and then up more boulders. There's not a clear path. If you ascend without stopping, it takes someone in average shape about forty-five minutes up and twenty minutes down.

It's also fun to just walk in past the cabins and follow the old rutted road up to the right to a high shoulder, and explore the rocks there. Offerings were left in several places by ancient vision questers, including the shoulder up to the right from the top of the dirt road between Old Man and a small promontory.

Old Man Mountain was a gateway to the high peaks for migrating tribes who wintered on the plains and summered near Grand Lake. It is part of the Old Ute Trail. Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park also follows part of the Old Ute Trail, along the high tundra plateau. You can connect to the Park's part of the trail off the high saddle to the southwest of the mountain, heading west toward Deer Ridge.

If anyone from the cabins belonging to the University of Northern Colorado approaches you, know that legal access to the public was assured in a lawsuit almost two decades ago. Essentially, the judge determined that the trail through was a pre-existing thoroughfare that could not be blocked any more than someone could build a cabin on an interstate highway. Use the opportunity to tell them how sacred and special this mountain is.

Likewise, a sign has recently appeared at the base, saying that you have to request authorization to be there. Again, you have the legal right to be there, without requesting permission. See our page on access to the mountain for details.

photo of Old Man Mountain

My motivation for giving these directions:

Yes, I agree, it's nuts to give directions to one of your favorite power spots, especially when it has very limited parking and you love to be alone there. Basically, I'm madly in love with Old Man Mountain, and he's in love with me, and he wants to be in love with you too, and I want to make him happy. I also feel highly evolved beings like Old Man in partnership with certain humans keep the human experiment from flying into total bedlam (which is no small feat these days). If he's calling you to visit, I certainly want you to be able to find him. This whole area is a hot spot for human and nature communication and communion. For more on that, please see our channelings about the mountain, and other channelings, both written and video. Subscribe to our e-list. And request a shamanism tutorial.

Old Man is an unusual place. Visible from downtown, with houses built up the side, it looks like a huge pile of boulders. You can sometimes see local teens heading up with beer bottles, and technical climbers climbing, who have no idea they are on, in my humble opinion, at least the equivalent of Stonehenge in power. I have taken friends to sit on boulders there just twenty feet off the road who wept within a few minutes, melting into the mountain's embrace.

Please remember to turn off any cell phones or other wireless devices. These wreak havoc on the natural energies of the mountain that reach out to hug you.

Wishing both you and Old Man Mountain great blessings in your visit.

— Cathee Courter with Peter MacGill


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©Cathee Courter and Peter MacGill, photos and text.

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