Friday, May 15, 2015

Hike Planning for Mueller State Park

Pikes Peak from Mueller State Park
Mueller State Park sits just west of Pikes Peak and south of Divide.  Most of the park is at 9600 feet above sea level and the park encompasses 5121 acres situated in trees.  In the past the area was just passed through by native Americans and trappers.  In the 1860's there were about 50,000 people living in the area, many searching for riches at Cripple Creek.
Geologically, the Precambrian Pikes Peak granite lies underneath the park with a couple old fault lines running through the area.  Nearby are Florissant Fossil beds, Molly Kathleen Gold Mine and the Gold Belt Scenic Byway Tour, so there is much to see and do in the region.
Entrance fees are $7 a day, with camping for tents-only $16 and $20 for RV's with electric.
19 miles of trails are set aside for mountain biking, and 55 miles of trails are open for hiking.  There are also horses available for riding the 27 miles of horse trails.  All of these trails are considered "moderate" or "steep".   There are no backcountry campsites (or backpacking), all camping, cabins and yurts are within the front area of the park.  For hiking, a trail map is available HERE.  Most trails are multi-use.
Mueller camp sites
We camped here with friends years ago and had a great time with the kids.  The campsites are treed, with pines and some aspen, and ours was open to a meadow.  There are 132 camping sites, most with electric outlets.  Coin showers are available.  Do get a camping reservation because these sites fill fast.
There is a fine welcome center at Big View Overlook and several family-friendly and more difficult trails start there.  Pick up a trail map before heading out.
Wildlife viewing is good with opportunities to see mule deer, black bear, elk, mountain lions and hawks.  Photography is great here.
Winter is also an excellent time to tour the park by cross-country ski or snowshoes.  We hiked for miles in the backcountry in snowshoes and had the place to ourselves.

Pikes Peak granite

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