Journey to Ruby Lake via the Vagabond Ranch. This Ruby Lake is an
alpine pool in Grand County behind Bowen Mountain. Click on photo
for maps and to continue. With an early morning start, one can reach
Ruby Lake from several directions; each approach is very different.
Ruby Lake is deep in the Never Summer Mountains Wilderness. It can be
hot and dazzling, or it can be cold and snowy; schedule your trip according
to the long range weather forecast (for Steamboat Springs!). There is no cell
phone coverage; rescue airplanes will not notice you in the immense wilderness.
One way to Ruby Lake is via the (now retired) Rand Yacht Club (that is for sale).
A totally different way would be to be thread your way up Bowen Gulch from
Rocky Mountain National Park near the ghost town of Gaskil. The journey
presented here starts from a jewel of a ranch set around Arapaho National Forest.
The hike from the ranch to Ruby Lake is four to five hours by foot (depending on
rest stops). It's a majestic climb that takes you up and north of Cascade Mountain.
The initial drive to the ranch from Grand Lake and Lake Granby is up County Road 4.
You turn west where Road 4 makes a T at Highway 34, near Dillie Docks and the
Highway 34 storage center. Road 4 is the main National Forest route to the snowmobiling
and 4-wheeling mecca west of Grand Lake. After 2 miles, the pavement ends and one
enters the National Forest on what the Forest Service calls Road 123. It takes you up
and over Stillwater Pass, then down past the Vagabond Rand and on to Highway 125
from which one can loop back to Granby or head north towards Park View Mountain,
Rand, Walden, Wyoming and also to Cameron Pass to Fort Collins. Photo at top is an
early morning view from Stillwater Pass towards the Continental Divide to the east.
Click here for an alternate route to Ruby Lake that starts from Road 4. Because of its
remoteness, Ruby Lake receives very few visitors. Its most enjoyable and shortest
approach is from the Vagabond Ranch, and that is what we are going to give you here.
Please respect the property rights of present and future owners of the ranch.
Qualified buyers can be guided through the ranch and its surroundings. To schedule
a visit, call Donna (toll-free 1-866-296-1949).
Click here (or on the photo at top) for maps to continue on the trail.
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