Telescope Peak Trail
The highest summit in the park, Telescope Peak crowns
the range at 11,049 feet. Its windswept slopes are home
to ancient bristlecone pine trees, some as old as 3000
||Mahogany Flat Campground
||7 miles one way
||7 to 9 hours round-trip
||Telescope Peak 7.5 min. quad
or Trails Illustrated map
||Graded gravel to Charcoal Kilns;
final 1.5 miles to Mahogany Flat are rough, gravel
road OK for 2WD high-clearance vehicles; may require
4WD in winter & spring.
||No water available at the campground
or along trail; may be snow covered and icy from
December to May; dogs and horses are not allowed.
From the trailhead at 8,133 feet elevation, the trail
climbs steadily as it winds around the east slope of
Roger's Peak through woodlands of mountain mahogany,
pinyon pine and juniper. At Arcane Meadows the trees
become scattered and the trail levels out as it meanders
across a broad open saddle leading to the final ascent
of Telescope Peak. Gnarled ancient bristlecone pines
are mixed among stands of limber pine where the trail
switchbacks up the east face of the peak. The summit
is reached after a short scramble along a narrow ridge.
Telescope Peak earned its name from the vast area visible
from the summit on a clear day.
Snow and ice usually make this trail too hazardous
for all but well-equipped climbers during winter and
spring. For safety, it may be necessary to avoid the
final switchbacks and stay on the ridge. Winter climbers
should be experienced and equipped with ice axe, crampons,
winter clothing, boots, and ropes. Be prepared for subfreezing
temperatures and sudden weather changes.