The Summit Adventure Trail is part of the Round Mountain National Recreational Trail (4.5 miles one way), which also includes the Foothills Nature Trail.
The Summit Adventure Trail is a 4.5 mile Moderate hike to the summit of Sheep Mountain. A full day should be allowed for this hike, which will take approximately 6-8 hours to complete at a normal hiking pace (9.1 miles round trip). Please plan your hike to conclude before dark.
The only sanitation facilities are near the trailhead, so please remember to utilize them before beginning your hike. Please see the rules for human waste under "Rules & Regulations" below.
To take this trail, begin where there is a split in the main trail shortly after leaving the parking lot (about a 1/4 mile in) which allows you to continue on the Foothills Nature Trail (which is an Easy 1 mile hike, or instead go on to the summit of Sheep Mountain on the Round Mountain National Recreational Trail - Summit Adventure Trail portion of the trail. There are directional signs on the trail to assist with your choice.
For more information about the Foothills Nature Trail, please see the Foothills Nature Trail page HERE.
The trailhead parking area is located in the Big Thompson Canyon, approximately 4 miles west of The Dam Store on Colorado State Highway 34 (approximately 12 miles west of Loveland). The trailhead is located just southwest on Highway 34 (across from the entrance of the Viestenz-Smith Mountain Park).
Summit Adventure Trail Overview:
Most of The Summit Adventure Trail was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the 1930's. Portions have been rebuilt by the Loveland Ranger Force, a group of teenagers from Loveland.
The Summit Adventure Trail portion of the Round Mountain National Recreational Trail is primarily maintained by hikers and the National Forest Service, due to the fact that it leaves the City of Loveland's property, and enters the Roosevelt National Forest.
Many people utilize this public trail each year, and others help to maintain it! Along with the City workers who maintain the lower portion of the trail known as the Foothills Nature Trail, there are also volunteers who help to patrol the upper portion of the trail known as the Round Mountain - Summit Adventure Trail through a program with the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers. The trail's beauty depends on you as well as nature. Please pack out any trash you see along the trail.
Here is a graph depicting the elevations along the trail route:
Elevations Graph (PDF)
Beginning Elevation at the Round Mountain National Recreational Trail begins at 5,743'. The Summit Adventure Trail portion begins at 5,890'. Peak Elevation for the summit of Sheep Mountain at 8,450' on the Summit Adventure portion of the trail. This is a 2,707' elevation gain. Much of this trail is south facing, and is generally clear of snow year round.
Here is a topographical map of the trail depicting the topographical elevations and the route:
Topographical Map (PDF)
Be prepared for all types of weather!
Please stay away from exposed areas and ridges during lightning storms. It is recommended that you have the following gear with you for this hike:
- Sturdy Footgear
- Drinking Water (for humans and pets)
- Windproof and Warm Clothing / Rain Gear
- Energy Snacks
- Photographic Equipment
Rules & Regulations:
To Help Preserve the Foothills Nature Trail and Summit Adventure Trail, please obey the following rules and regulations.
1. Do not remove, destroy, or injure any natural or manmade trail features or facilities.
2. Please leave all wildflowers for the next person to enjoy.
3. No Overnight Camping along the City owned portions of the trail. Please refer to the National Forest Service for guidelines in their portions of the trail. Please refer to the US Forest Service to inquire abut the Campground Guide. See the Arapaho/Roosevelt/Pawnee web page here.
4. No use of firearms, fireworks or explosives are permitted along the City owned portions of the trail. All other portions follow the National Forest Service Rules & Regulations.
Please refer to the National Forest Service Target Shooting Guidelines. See their Arapaho/Roosevelt/Pawnee Target Shooting web page here.
5. Pets must be kept on a leash, and under human control at all times.
6. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited.
7. Please do not litter. Pack out what you pack in, along with anyone else's trash you might find along the way!
8. Please leave all motorized vehicles at the trailhead.
9. Please stay on the established trails; they are designed to minimize your impact on the environment. Shortcuts cause erosion!
10. Human Waste in areas where restrooms are not provided must stay at least 150 feet from any water supply, camping zone, or trail. To promote decomposition and sanitary conditions, dig a small hole approximately 8 inches deep and cover it after use with loose soil and leaf litter.
11. For nature's sake, please DO NOT BUILD FIRES.
Please respect the "Leave No Trace" approach to our recreational trails areas. You may visit the official Leave No Trace website for more info HERE.