Hiking & Walking: Colorado > White River National Forest > Sopris Ranger District

Quick Facts

Mt. Thomas Trail

Beginning Elevation: 10,300 Feet (3210.7 Meters)
Difficulty: Most Difficult
Elevation Gain: 1,737 Feet (541.5 Meters)
Ending Elevation: 12,037 Feet (3752.2 Meters)
Length: 7.5 Miles (12.5 Kilometers) approximately
Other Maps: Trails Illustrated 126 Holy Cross, Ruedi Reservoir
Trail Number: 1870
Usage: Light
USGS Maps: Crooked Creek Pass and Red Creek

Satellite and Topo Map

General Description

Mt. Thomas trail offers panoramic views to the south of Maroon Bells - Snowmass wilderness and to the North of the Gore range.
Copyright: Tom Kuekes - US Forest Service
Mt. Thomas trail offers panoramic views to the south of Maroon Bells - Snowmass wilderness and to the North of the Gore range.
The views of the Fryingpan and Eagle Valley are fantastic. Water is nonexistent for the entire length of the Red Table. This trail makes an excellent loop trail connecting with Ruedi Trail #1912. It is a very challenging and long trip.

Directions from Highway 82: Travel east on Hwy. 82 to Basalt and turn left at the stoplight. Turn left into downtown Basalt and follow the Fryingpan River Road about 22 miles towards Reudi Reservoir and turn left onto road #400, just past the bridge above Meredith. After a steep climb the road goes through Lime Park. Continue on road #400 to the top of Crooked Creek Pass, turning left onto a 4WD road just before the cattle guard. The road comes out to the power line and on the ridge top the trailhead sign is visible on the west side of the power line.

Seasonal Information:
Normal Summer Season: Memorial Day Weekend through October (NOTE: Road #400 is not maintained during the Winter and Spring months due to snow.) . Normal Winter Season: November through March (NOTE: Snowmobile travel, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing are popular forms of travel on road #400 during the Winter months.) .

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Filed By: Shay Shih (Denver, CO)
Time of Day: All day
Length of Time: 9 hours
Difficulty: Hard
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Neutral
Report: This is not a 'more difficult' trail. It deserves nothing less than a MOST DIFFICULT rating in my opinion. We left sag vehicles at Ruedi Reservoir's boat ramp and biked the Mt. Thomas Trail from Crooked Creek Pass and down the Ruedi Trail to the reservoir. This is indeed one of the most scenic trails around. Great views of Sylvan Lake, the reservoir, and all the surrounding mountain ranges. Unfortunately, there are numerous long stretches of rock fields that'll work you over. The climbs up Mt. Thomas and Ruedi Peak are unrideable. No oxygen, steep terrain, and loose rocks that just slip and slide under your wheels (or feet). Downhills are rideable but still very rocky. Be careful. The top of Ruedi Peak is a great place for lunch with its awesome view of the reservoir 4000 feet below you. Note: Ruedi Trail was the only way down to the reservoir. We went down a jeep trail following Ruedi Creek but were stopped by a dense blowdown of trees which barred all chance of biking any further. Ruedi Trail is NOT well marked so make sure you know where you're going. We left a pile of rocks and logs at the trailhead on the side of the road but can't guarantee if it'll stay there forever. Ruedi Trail itself is a blast of a downhill. Pretty rocky at top but almost all rideable. You'll be DEAD tired by now. Bring tons of water and lots of high energy snacks. I think we clocked over 7000 feet of total downhill and 4000 uphill. This is a once in a lifetime ride. It's hard as hell to do but the views you'll experience will make it a trail you'll NEVER forget. A shuttle arrangement at the reservoir is a must. Do not think of doing this as a loop and riding back up to Crooked Creek Pass.
Conditions: Loads of loose rocks. No snow. No mud. No bugs. Steep climbs. Fallen trees on the jeep trail that runs down from the Mt. Thomas Trail to Ruedi Reservoir along Ruedi Creek. I forget the name of this trail but do NOT take it down. The Mt. Thomas Trail is almost ALL exposed. Be very careful of lightning or any kind of foul weather. If it rains, you're screwed (hypothermia anyone?).
Water Availability: None at all. I sucked my camelbak dry.
Recommended Clothing: Be prepared for everything. Help is many, many hours away at best.
Suggested Accessories: 2 way radios came in very handy in our group. A must if you have lots of folks.

Difficulty: Easy
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: It's ok.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking Mt. Thomas Trail
ICON Cross-country Skiing Mt. Thomas Trail
ICON Hiking & Walking Mt. Thomas Trail
ICON Horseback Riding Mt. Thomas Trail

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