Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area

Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area is a dramatic and beautiful 500+acre area surrounded on three sides by public land near Fairplay, Colorado. In 2014, with the generous support of the community, MALT purchased 92 critical acres as part of a multi-phase project. This effort ensures the continuing ongoing scientific research conducted by more than a hundred scientists for over 45 years – one of the longest term alpine research sites in the country.

Pennsylvania Mountain Updates

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2020: Scientific Research

Elsa Godtfredsen and Camille Oster spend the summer doing research on the mountain. Check out their field notes.

2019: Scientific Research

Emelyn Piotter and Maya Rayle spend the summer doing research on the mountain. Check out their field notes.

2019: Sacramento Creek Ranch Acquisition

The acquisition of nearby Sacramento Creek Ranch solidifies MALT’s presence in Park County.

2018: Scientific Research

Ellie Harrison and Austin Lynn spend the summer doing research on the mountain. Check out their field notes.

2018: Pika Trail Kiosk Installed

Trailhead kiosk and interpretive signage was installed near the parking on October 5, 2018.

2017: MALT Receives a Generous Grant

Through generous grant support from The Summit Foundation, MALT will continue its work to make improvements to the Pika Trail, including the construction of a trailhead kiosk and informational signage.

2016: Pika Trail is Expanded

MALT continued to add to the Pika Trail at Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area near Fairplay, CO this summer with a trail building weekend on August 20-21, 2016. Learn more about the Pika Trail.

2015: Pika Trail Construction Begins

MALT partnered with the Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) and other organizations to design and build a trail at the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area. Over a two-day weekend, August 29th and 30th, volunteers worked on constructing a loop trail on MALT’s property. Learn more about the Pika Trail

The Pika Trail

Thanks to generous support from the South Park National Heritage Area (SPNHA), Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC) and The Summit Foundation, MALT designed and built a 1 ½ mile scenic and educational loop trail at the Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area for public hiking and snowshoeing access.

Volunteers logged more than 1,279 hours to build the Pika Trail, working on diverse and rugged geographic terrain at an elevation of 11,500 feet. MALT continues to make improvements on the trail, including construction of a driveway and parking area, safety and directional signage and informational kiosk.

Hike the Pika Trail located at 858 Prunes Place, Fairplay, CO 80440. The Pika Trail is for Hiking Only. No motorized vehicles, hunting or camping is allowed. It is private property owned and managed by the Mountain Area Land Trust.

More About the Pika Trail

High Altitude Scientific Research

“As scientists, without a baseline we cannot measure change. MALT’s purchase of 92 acres on Pennsylvania Mountain has protected a unique alpine ecosystem where we have that historical baseline. It’s made all the difference in our research on bumble bees and will allow scientists in the future to see how the changes we’ve observed continue to unfold.”

– Dr. Candace Galen, Professor of Biological Sciences at University of Missouri

2020 Research

Elsa Godtfredsen and Camille Oster

See Field Notes
2019 Research

Emelyn Piotter and Maya Rayle

See Field Notes
2018 Research

Ellie Harrison and Austin Lynn

See Field Notes
Research Buzz
  • 12 Sep 2018: Research at Pennsylvania Mountain featured in Yale Climate Connections

    Fairplay, CO – Research conducted on MALT’s property at Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area is featured in this article in the Yale Climate Connections. Read the full article....

  • 12 Jun 2017: Research at Pennsylvania Mountain published in Science magazine!

    We are buzzing with excitement here! Research conducted in part at Pennsylvania Mountain Natural Area is now in Science magazine! MALT Ambassador Dr. Candace Galen and her fellow scientists have published their research article “Flight of the bumble bee: Buzzes predict pollination services” on June......

  • 27 Sep 2015: Pennsylvania Mountain Mentioned in Science Magazine!

    Just published research in the September 2015 Science magazine co-authored by MALT Ambassador Dr. Candace Galen and MALT Pennsylvania Mountain Research Intern Elizabeth Hedrick finds that in two alpine bumble bee species, decreases in tongue length have evolved over 40 years. Researchers have concluded that......

More Research Press