Berthoud Pass: Floral Park

Floral Park from the West.  Photo: Rob Writz

Floral Park is the expansive tree glade zone that skiers and snowboarders easily view when driving north on Highway 40 from Empire. As one approaches Berthoud Pass there are several views and indicators of Floral Park. The first is the queue of hitchhiking riders waiting for a ride at the outlet of the Floral Park runs. Further up the highway and before the Pass there are several views into Floral Park.

The runs in Floral Park are easily accessible from the Berthoud Pass summit parking lot. Combine this access with the exit access to Highway 40 it becomes a popular area to ski and then hitchhike back up. As you drive up Highway 40 to the Pass help a hitchhiking brother or sister out with a ride. This is a nearly 100-year tradition at Berthoud Pass.

The terrain ranges from moderately steep tree skiing to avalanche slopes. This is some of the best tree backcountry skiing on Berthoud Pass. Be careful in this area. Do not let the presence of trees bring your snow safety guard down.

+ ROUTES

Berthoud Pass Floral Park

  • Season: Winter
  • Summit Elevation: 11,615’ (Second switchback on CDT East approach)
  • Aspect: West
  • Elevation Range: 10,720’ – 11,615’
  • Vertical: 580‘ - 900’
  • Snowmobile Access: Snowmobiles are not allowed at Berthoud Pass.

Skin Track:

There are several ways to enter the Floral Park zone. To access Hoop Creek, drop into the run directly from the south side of the Berthoud Pass parking lot.

Use the CDT East road to access the other runs in this zone. To get to the Floral Park area follow the CDT East road to the first switchback. Usually there is a skin track entering the forest here and climbing southeast. Alternatively you can stay on the road to the third switchback and traverse from here. Traverse across the open glades to where you want to drop in.

Exit:

All of these runs exit at the Floral Park switchback on Highway 40. [39.7911, -105.7801] If you have traversed to the south to access the far reaches of Floral Park and Fairway you will need to take a north-trending traverse at the bottom of the runs to gain the switchback.

Routes:

19 - Hoop Creek – This is a fun run with a gully and glades that is accessed directly from the southeast corner of the parking lot.

20 - Telegraph – A short walk up the CDT East road leads to an old telephone pole. This run is the double fall line cut following the telephone poles.

21 - Jim’s Glades – This is an expansive tree skiing area. At the first switchback on the CDT East road, head south into the trees and traverse to your chosen line. Many of the lines in Jim's Glades intersect the Telegraph run.

22 - Floral Park - Floral Park is the massive gladed tree terrain of the old ski area. This is the premier run of the Floral Park zone. Do not let the presence of the trees and glades mislead you as to the avalanche hazards on this slope. Floral Park is steep enough to avalanche and receives a lot of sun in the afternoon. At the third switchback on the CDT East road, traverse south for about a tenth of a mile.

23 Floral Meadow – Floral Meadow is an extension of Floral Park, but located further south and lower in elevation. There is an open area in here created by a past slide. Continue past Floral Park to tree line to access this area.

24 - Fairway – The old ski area called this Pauly’s Powder Stash. This is the avalanche chute on the far side of Floral Park. It is not frequently skied due to its distance from the Pass, and it is often windswept and lacking snow.

+ TRAILHEAD

Berthoud Pass Summit (11,300’)

Access Floral Park from the Berthoud Pass parking at the top of the pass. The summit of Berthoud Pass is the epicenter of backcountry skiing on this part of the Front Range. There is a large parking lot and a small building with restrooms and a warm room that you can use to gear up on cold day. The summit is on Highway 40 and 18 miles from Empire (near exit 232 on Interstate 70) and 11.3 miles on Highway 40 from Winter Park. [39.798, -105.7771]

+ MAPS & PICTURES

Below we have included a link to a Google interactive map and a curated list of photos of the mountain.

  Clicking on map above will open interactive Google map website

Clicking on map above will open interactive Google map website