Distance: Approximate 7.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 10,031' - 10,920'
Difficulty Level: Blue
Usage Rate: Moderate
Bathroom at Trailhead: No
Trailhead: Free, good parking
Trail Open To: Snowshoers, Skiers
Equipment Used: Madshus Eon BC Touring Waxable Skis
Date Skied: 30 Nov 2014
Overview: The gentle rise and wonderful views on this tour make it ideal for skiers. Located out of Montezuma, the Peru Creek Road ascends gradually towards Argentine Pass. The destination is the remains of the Pennsylvania Mine, which is several stories high and in relatively great condition.
The Ski: This fantastic tour marks the official start to my ski season. I do it every Thanksgiving weekend and it's become a wonderful tradition. November in the Front Range is typically still warm and brown. I admit I always have my doubts as there usually is not a drop of snow on the drive up I-70, which makes a pleasant trip over Loveland Pass. Round the corner past Keystone and Lo! It's a Winter Wonderland!
The Peru Creek Road TH is a pullout on the left as you drive towards Montezuma.
There are private residences for the first mile or so. I have never encountered any vehicles, but I do see their tracks.
The first mile is hard packed and icy in spots. This portion is highly used by snowshoers and hearty homeowners.
The first "Mine Sign" is attached to a private residence. What a unique feature to have at your home!
After this the foot traffic drops as snowshoers turn back. The trail begins to climb gradually along the creek.
The climbing is gradual, but makes for a long rockin' return downhill! Eventually you depart from the creek and begin following the powerlines.
The first views of the Pennsylvania Mine!
Very important - I learned this the hard way. While you are skiing you will see the mine ruins on your right. You will want to ski straight to the mine. Don't! You will end up in a creek. Continue skiing straight towards Argentine Pass, and it will feel as though you are passing the mine. You'll find the sign. This proper way leads the skier over a bridge to the mine. It is not intuitive!
Cross the bridge and this is where the trail breaking begins. It's a short segment.
If you look up the mountain you can see the trestles. I'll save exploring that for a summer day!
Taking shelter within the ruins for a snack
Looking up through the roof
A word of caution: I was exploring the mine ruins and all of a sudden my ski pole hit nothing but air. I was standing on the roof of a building that was covered by snow! I recommend not exploring the hillside behind the mine unless you can see the ground.
If you get an opportunity to do this tour, take it! It's a wonderful start to winter.
This trail recap features the Bluebird Soap. An invigorating blue and white swirl invoking the fresh air and epic skyskape -best enjoyed on a weekday after calling in "sick."
And be sure to check out the store here for more commemorative summit soap
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