Elevation: 9,643 ft
Climbing and access information for this peak is on Page 131 of the book. This peak has been under assault by miners since the mid-1800s. There is currently significant mining going on on the peak’s South Face nearly up to its summit. Further mining has taken place on its East Side where you will find old cabins and other mining debris. Ray Brooks reports “Mining began on Estes Mountain, which is up Yankee Fork, in 1875, when Curtis Estes discovered rich ore near the top of the 9,643’ peak Mining has continued at least to 2018, when I hiked up an ok road, a few scenic miles, & about 2,000 vertical feet, to near the top of the mountain. A few hundred feet below the summit, was a locked gate & both No Trespassing & No Hunting signs, which I respected.“ Updated November 2020
Estes Mountain is a striking summit which can easily be reached from the road described below. Please be aware that much of the peak’s South Slopes are part of a patented mining claim and thus private property. As a result, it is best to climb the peak via its North Ridge which is accessed as described below. USGS Custer
The following access information expands on the access information in the book. Start on Loon Creek Summit Road [(F)(3.2) on Page 141] which begins just north of the Yankee Fork Dredge. From this road, you can access the ridge line south of Estes Peak via a road that, as far as I know, does not have a Forest Service number designation. I will designate it as FS-3.2.2/Estes Mining Road. This road leaves Loon Creek Summit Road 5.1 miles north of the beginning of that road.
The Forest Service map and the USGS quad show this road as a jeep trail but it is a well-maintained (albeit steep) road that leads up and over the ridge to the east. Turn right onto this road and drive 2.4 miles to the ridge top, where you will find parking and a spot to make a pleasant, dry car camp. From this point, continue on the road as it swings around the peak’s East Side. You pass old cabins and at least one inhabited cabin on the East Side. Follow the road off private property (not marked) until you can access the peak’s North Ridge.