Mount Sherman (14,036ft.) is a 14er mountain located in Colorado’s Mosquito Range, within the Pike National Forest (though the mountain itself is on a private mining claim, hiking is permitted). Split between Park and Lake counties, Mount Sherman can be easily accessed via the towns of Fairplay or Leadville.
The standard Mount Sherman approach via the Southwest Ridge is accessed from Fairplay and begins at the Fourmile Creek Trailhead gate on County Road 18. From this starting point, a roundtrip hike of Mount Sherman is a mild 4.8 miles and a relatively mellow 1,800+ feet of elevation gain. The Southwest Ridge route is mostly Class 1 with the exception of some Class 2 scrambling to reach the summit. Considered one of the easier 14er mountains in Colorado, Mount Sherman serves as a great introduction into high altitude Colorado hiking.
Hike Review Series: Mount Sherman
Mount Sherman, located in Colorado’s exquisite Mosquito Range, is named in honor of William Tecumseh Sherman, the famous general who commanded the Union Army during the American Civil War. Adjacent to Mount Sherman is Mount Sheridan, a 13,oooft. mountain named after another famous Union Army general, Philip Sheridan.
The area around Mount Sherman has a rich mineral mining history, with many remnants present along the ascent. Indeed, in the 1800s, residents of the town of Leavick worked in the area’s mines. The town mill, remnants of which are passed along Fourmile Creek Road, processed the ore. Though in the 1920s, the town had been mostly abandoned once the area mines had closed. Today, the mountain is still located on a mining claim operated by the Day Mining Company, though hiking is presently permitted.
As with nearly every Colorado 14er mountain, Mount Sherman is extremely popular especially because of its relatively mild ascent. Plan to hike on a weekday or arrive very early in the morning for less trail traffic.
The Class 2 Southwest Ridge route to Mount Sherman begins at about 12,000ft. at the Fourmile Creek Trailhead parking area/gate on County Road 18. The trail follows the road past the gate and passes the remnants of Dauntless Mine, which mined for silver, on the west side of the trail. The route quickly reaches a junction; head right on the trail in an easterly direction into flats toward a few switchbacks and eventual ascent along the road/trail. Badger Boy Shaft and Rob Roy Shaft, both primarily uranium mining operations, are passed along the ascent.
This part of the ascent offers great views into the valley and leads to remnants of the Hilltop Mine (which mined lead, zinc, and silver), a little over a mile into the route. Here the trail will start to steepen as it heads into loose talus toward the saddle between Mount Sheridan and Mount Sherman. Cairns will help guide the way along Mount Sherman’s southwest ridge. Reach a considerably exposed portion of the ridge near 13,600ft. and proceed with care on the loose rock. The remainder of the ascent is mellow toward the flat summit of Mount Sherman at 14,036ft. Be rewarded with excellent views of Mount Sheridan (13,748ft.) to the south and Gemini Peak (13,951ft.) and Dyer Mountain (13,862ft.) to the north. Double back for the descent and reach the Fourmile Creek Trailhead gate to complete the route.
Recommended Hiking Apparel and Gear
We recommend bringing along a topographical map of the area, such as the “Leadville, Fairplay: National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map.” A good topographical map is always nice to have in addition to a GPS device, if you’re using one. In addition, we included a couple of our favorite field guides for plant and bird identification to aid in the enjoyment of your outdoor adventure. Lastly, we included Gerry Roach’s “Colorado’s Fourteeners: From Hikes to Climbs” guidebook, which is the best print guide available for hiking Colorado’s 14ers. It provides an amazing amount of information on Mount Sherman and other 14er hikes in Colorado that may be of interest.
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