Badger Mountain – Site Guide

North America – USA – Colorado

Badger Mountain is a prominent peak in the Puma Hills, just north of Wilkerson Pass in Colorado. It is a challenging and windy site for hang gliding, with stunning views of South Park and the Tarryall Mountains. This site guide will provide you with some basic information about the site, its flying conditions and restrictions, the best times to fly and visit, and some more resources for further information.

Site Information

  • Location: Tarryall, Colorado
  • Latitude: 39.061155
  • Longitude: -105.528219
  • Elevation: 3268 meters
  • Launch direction: North
  • Landing direction: South
  • Launch type: Foot launch
  • Landing type: Field landing
  • Site rating: H3/P3 or higher
  • Site owner: Private landowner (permission required)

Launch Sites and Landing Areas

There are two primary routes to access the summit of Badger Mountain, where the launch site is located:

  • Direct from Hwy 24: From near the Wilkerson Pass visitors center, some opt for a very steep, timbered bushwhack/game-trail route up the southwest slopes of the peak. This route is about 2.5 miles long and gains about 1500 feet of elevation. It is not recommended for carrying a hang glider.
  • From Hartzel Road: From Hartzel, take County Road 15 north for about 9 miles until you reach a gate on the left marked with a sign that says “Badger Mountain Ranch”. This is private property and you need permission from the landowner to access it. Follow the dirt road for about 3 miles until you reach a parking area near the summit. From there, you can carry your hang glider to the launch site, which is about 0.2 miles away.

Launch Site

The launch site is on the north side of the summit, facing South Park. It is a small clearing among dense trees and stumps. It can be very difficult to launch from here, especially in strong winds. You need to have good control of your wing and be ready to abort if necessary. The launch site has an elevation of about 3268 meters and a slope angle of about 30 degrees.

Landing Area

The landing area is on the south side of Hwy 24, near the Wilkerson Pass visitors center. It is a large open field with some power lines on the east side. The landing area has an elevation of about 2850 meters and a slope angle of about 5 degrees. You need to cross the highway to reach the landing area, so be careful of traffic and wind direction. The landing area is also private property and you need permission from the landowner to use it.

Flying Conditions and Restrictions

Badger Mountain is a very windy site, with strong and gusty winds coming from different directions. It can be very soarable, but also very turbulent and unpredictable. You need to have good skills and experience to fly here safely. The site is also prone to thunderstorms and high-altitude weather changes, so you need to check the forecast carefully before flying.

Some restrictions and recommendations for flying at Badger Mountain are:

  • You need to have a USHPA H3/P3 or higher rating to fly here.
  • You need to have permission from the landowners to access the launch site and the landing area.
  • You need to have a radio and a GPS device with you when flying.
  • You need to respect the airspace rules and avoid flying near the communications towers on the summit.
  • You need to avoid flying over wildlife areas and respect the natural environment.
  • You need to follow the site etiquette and be courteous to other pilots and visitors.

Best Times to Fly and Visit

The best time to fly at Badger Mountain is in the spring and summer months, when the days are longer and warmer, and the thermals are more active. However, this also means that the winds are stronger and more variable, so you need to be prepared for challenging conditions. The fall and winter months are colder and calmer, but also less soarable.

The best time to visit Badger Mountain is anytime you want to enjoy its scenic beauty and wilderness. The mountain offers hiking trails, camping spots, wildlife viewing opportunities, and spectacular views of South Park and the surrounding peaks. You can also explore other attractions nearby, such as Eleven Mile State Park, Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Pike National Forest, Cripple Creek, and Colorado Springs.

More Information

For more information about Badger Mountain, you can check out these resources:

  • The 10 Best Places to Go Hang Gliding in the U.S.3: An article by TripSavvy, with recommendations for hang gliding destinations across the country, including Badger Mountain.
  • USHPA4: The United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association, the national governing body for the sport of hang gliding and paragliding in the U.S. You can find information about ratings, regulations, insurance, events, and more.

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