Hiking is one of the best summer activities in Colorado. We are so fortunate in Colorado to have beautiful hiking trails ranging from a leisurely walk in the woods to tackling a 14’er. We have included some of our favorites here.

 

Hiking in the Buena Vista Area

 

Midland/ Barbara Whipple Trail

The trailhead is located in the Buena Vista River Park in Downtown Buena Vista. The Barbara Whipple Trail (aka “The Whipple Trail”) offers a variety of hikes, from the nice and easy to those that are a bit more challenging.  This trail system offers grand views of the Collegiate Peaks to the west and interpretive information of the railroad along many of its trails.  This trail system in many ways provides the full “Colorado experience.”

Denny Creek Trailhead

Take CR 306 west for about 12 miles, the Denny Creek Trailhead on the right-hand side of the road.  This trail also leads up to Mt. Yale, one of Colorado’s beautiful 14ers.

 

Ptarmigan Lake Trail #1441

This trail is a popular destination for hikers; the total length of the trail is 3 miles and gently winds east and south to the timberline ending at an 11 acre lake.  This lake often provides excellent fishing for native cutthroat trout. Overnight camping is suggested at a lower elevation below the tree line, but is not permitted at the trailhead. This is about a 1-1 ½ hour hike to the lake, if you want, you can climb to Jones Mountain which is one of the higher 13er’s in Colorado.

 

Grizzly Lake/ Grizzly Gulch Trailhead

Take 285 south for about 5 miles from Johnson village, turn right onto CR 162.  From the town of Nathrop (south of Buena Vista and north of Salida on Hwy 285) take County Road 162 West into the Chalk Creek valley.  The intersection of County Road 162 and Hwy 285 is directly across the road from Chalk Lake Campground.  Follow CR 162 for 16 miles, the Grizzly Gulch Trailhead is on the left side of the road; located before St. Elmo.   It’s about a 3 mile hike to the lake.

 

Browns Creek Trail

The Browns Creek Trail offers beautiful scenery with changing vistas and vegetation. The trail follows the creek and many small waterfalls may be found along the way. This trail is great for hikers and horseback riders.  There is a vault toilet located at the trailhead.  The Browns Creek Trail is a 3.5 mile loop, but there is also an 8 mile and an 11 mile loop.
 

14er’s in the Buena Vista Area

 

Mt. Princeton

Take 285 south for about 5 miles from Johnson village, turn right onto CR 162.  From the town of Nathrop (south of Buena Vista and north of Salida on Hwy 285) take County Road 162 West into the Chalk Creek valley.  The intersection of County Road 162 and Hwy 285 is directly across the road from Chalk Lake Campground.  Drive about 4 miles on CR 162, then turn right onto CR 321.  Follow CR 321 for approximately 1 mile and then turn left onto CR 322.  Stay to the right to reach the Mt. Princeton Trailhead.  This is a gorgeous 14er to climb with a summit of 14,197 feet!

 

Mt. Yale

Drive for 12 miles on CR 306 to Denny Creek Trailhead.  Follow the signs on the trail that lead to Mt. Yale summit which is 14,196 feet!

 

Mt. Elbert

Colorado’s Highest 14er with the summit at 14, 433 feet!  From U.S. 24 just south of Leadville, turn onto Colorado 300 and cross the railroad tracks. Drive 0.7 mile and turn left onto County Road 11 toward Halfmoon Creek.  Follow CR 11 for 1.2 miles, turn right onto the dirt road to Halfmoon Creek; drive on the “good” dirt road (except for the usual washboard and potholes) for 5 miles.  The trailhead to Mt. Elbert trailhead will be on the left. The trailhead has a large parking area with restrooms.

 

Campgrounds in the Buena Vista area

 

Chalk Creek Campground & RV Park

719.395.8301

www.chalkcreek-campground.com

 

Arrowhead Campground

719.395.2323

www.arrowheadpointresort.com

 

Our campground offers private and semi-private tent sites.  Our private tent sites are truly “in the trees” and overlook the beautiful 14,000 foot Collegiate Peaks.  Each site has a picnic table and fire pit, with restroom and shower facilities nearby.  All tenting areas overlook the beautiful 14,000 foot Collegiate Peaks.  All our private tent sites are conveniently located away from the RV sites to allow for a more rustic and private camping experience to enjoy your family!  Our newly remodeled bathhouse, private individual family style bathrooms, laundry facilities and a recreation room is available for your convenience.

NOTE:  Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day holidays require a 3 night minimum stay for private tent sites.

 

Buena Vista KOA

719-395-8313

http://koa.com/campgrounds/buena-vista/

The view from your campsite at this KOA is buena indeed – a panorama of five 14,000-foot-plus peaks frames this mountain valley. Tucked among rocks and shaded by pinon pines, the campground is a few miles southeast of the small resort town of Buena Vista and a mile from the Arkansas River. Hike or bike on public land adjacent on three sides of the KOA. Your hosts can arrange for a wide variety of other pursuits – such as rafting, fishing, ATVing, jeeping and soaking in hot springs – or direct you to hiking trails, ghost towns and rock hounding sites. At KOA, play sand volleyball, basketball and horseshoes. Breakfast is served summer mornings in the Cook Shack. Enjoy this quiet and tranquil setting. Groups are welcome.

 

Continental Divide Trails

Hancock Lake

3.5 mile out and back hike. The trip will follow the CDT toward Hancock and over Chalk Creek Pass and will highlight new trail constructed by CDTA.  Elevation: trip ranges from 11,600 feet to 12,000 feet. Be prepared for inclement weather!

Old Monarch Pass Trail

Old Monarch Pass is popular trip with good views at the top of the Continental Divide. This 1.3 mile road to the top is the 1919 pathway taken over the Divide and is today known as Old Monarch Pass. It is a pleasant gravel road in the summer and a favorite cross-country ski route in the winter.

 

Boss Lake

4.5 mile long out and back trip. The hike will follow the CDT around Boss Lake and toward the Continental Divide, ending at Hunt Lake.  Elevation: trip ranges from 10,400 feet to 11,520 feet. Be prepared for inclement weather!

 

Hope Pass

This is a moderate to difficult 8 mile hike out and back.  The trip begins at the Willis Gulch Trailhead, which is off of CO 82 and follows the CDT/Colorado Trail to Hope pass.  The first part of the trail is very steep.  Elevation: trip ranges from 9,300 feet to 12,500 feet. Be prepared for inclement weather!

 

Breckenridge Area

Hiking in Breck offers scenic beauty that can be enjoyed by almost everyone, from gentle paved paths that wind along the scenic Blue River to challenging summits of the highest mountains in the area at more than 14,000 feet above sea level. Breck is famed for its interconnected trail system, offering a wide variety of options for all types of users. These trails are a rare resource, maintained for your enjoyment at great effort. Please – enjoy them as we do, but before you do, take a minute to consider your obligation as both a participant and guardian of this amazing experience.

 

Easy Hikes

Note: The following hiking directions begin from the corner of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue.

 

Sapphire Point

At a distance of about a mile and a half, Sapphire Point is an easy, fun and short hiking trail that offers unparalleled views of Summit County and Lake Dillon. It’s an excellent trail for families with small children or older relatives.
Distance: 1.6 miles round trip
Directions: From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive north on Highway 9 approximately 5 miles to Swan Mountain Road. Turn right on Swan Mountain Road and drive for about 3 miles until you reach the top of the road. The trailhead is on the left side of the parking lot.

 

Indiana Creek

An easy hike following an old stage route featuring the Warrior’s Mark Mine and two ghost town sites.
Distance: 3.3 miles one way
Elevation Gain: 541 feet
Directions: Two cars are required for this hike. Leave one car at the trail’s end. From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive south on Highway 9 approximately 1.3 miles to the Wagon Road (No. 11). Turn Left and proceed 2.7 miles, veering left twice. Park just beyond the skeet shooting range. Drive the second car to the trailhead. From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue, drive south on Highway 9 approximately .6 miles to Boreas Pass Road (the last stoplight in town). Turn left and follow the road for 9.6 miles to the top of Boreas Pass. Park in the parking lot on the left. The trailhead is in the parking lot.

 

Moderate Hikes

Note: The following hiking directions begin from the corner of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue

Blue Lakes-Monte Cristo Gulch

A short, relatively easy hike to an historic area full of mine relics and high alpine lakes. The trail is completely above tree line, starting at 11,748 feet elevation.
Distance: 2.5 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 752 feet
Directions: From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive south on Highway 9 approximately 8 miles to Blue Lakes Road (No. 850). Turn right. At the fork, go straight and follow the road 2.2 miles. Park just below the dam. The trailhead is just above the dam at its north end.

McCullough Gulch

A beautiful, high alpine hike that wanders through rich evergreen forests with granite outcroppings, waterfalls, green meadows and fragile wildflowers.
Distance: 2.6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 800 feet
Directions: From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive south on Highway 9 approximately 8 miles to Blue Lakes Road (No. 850). Turn right and then turn right onto County road 851. Drive on County Road 851 for 2 miles and park near the water diversion structures. The trailhead, a 15-minute walk, is just left of a sign marked, “Private Road, No Admittance.”

Mohawk Lakes

This hike offers stunning scenery, gorgeous mountain lakes and historic mine ruins. A good hike for kids and visiting relatives.
Distance: 5.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,700 feet
Directions: From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive south on Highway 9 approximately 2.5 miles to Spruce Creek Road (No. 800). Turn right and bear left after .1 miles. Proceed 1.2 miles to the trailhead.

Black Powder Pass

With a high point of 12,159 feet, this hike ends on the saddle between Boreas Mountain and Baldy Mountain, offering amazing views of Summit and Park counties.
Distance: 3.4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 671 feet
Directions: From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue, drive south on Highway 9 approximately .6 miles to Boreas Pass Road (the last stoplight in town). Turn left and follow the road for 9.6 miles to the top of Boreas Pass. Park in the parking lot on the left. The trailhead is northeast of the Section House (the big building at the top). Follow the dirt track labeled, “Boreas Ditch No. 2.”

 

Difficult Hikes

Note: The following hiking directions begin from the corner of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue.Quandary Peak

Simply the best view in Summit County. One of Colorado’s 53 “Fourteeners” (peaks with an elevation above 14,000 feet), Quandary Peak is the crown jewel of hiking around Breckenridge.
Distance: 6 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 3,305 feet
Directions: From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive south on Highway 9 approximately 8 miles to Blue Lakes Road (No. 850). Turn right and then turn right onto County road 851. Drive on County road 851 for .1 miles to the marked trailhead.

Wheeler National Recreation Trail

A long and difficult trail with great rewards. Crossing the Ten Mile Range at nearly 12,500 feet, this trail offers scenery and history.
Distance: 10 miles one way
Elevation Gain: 2,250 feet
Directions: Two cars are required for this hike. Leave one car at the trail’s end. From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue, drive south on Highway 9 approximately 9 miles to Interstate 70 and take the westbound exit. Follow I-70 for 7 miles to Copper Mountain, exit 195. Cross the bridge over the highway and immediately turn left into the Vail Pass/Ten Mile Canyon bikeway parking area. Drive the second car to the trailhead. From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive south on Highway 9 approximately 8 miles to Blue Lakes Road (No. 850). Turn right and then turn right onto County road 851. Drive on County Road 851 for 2 miles. The trail intersects the road just right of a sharp left turn in the road.

Crystal Lakes

A short steep climb to two alpine lakes above timberline.
Distance: 4 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 1,000 Feet
Directions: From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive south on Highway 9 approximately 2.5 miles to Spruce Creek Road (No. 800). Turn right and bear left after .1 miles. Proceed 1.2 miles to the trailhead.

Peaks Trail

A great trail for a hot day! Walk this shaded trail through pine forests all the way from Breckenridge to Frisco. Take advantage of the Summit Stage Transit to loop back to Breckenridge or leave a second car at the end of the trail in Frisco.
Distance: 8.5 miles one way
Elevation Gain: 450 feet; 850 foot loss.
Directions: Two cars are required for this hike. Leave one car at the trail’s end. From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive south on Highway 9 approximately 8 miles to County Road 1004 at the traffic light. Turn right and go .1 miles, then turn right on Miners Creek Road. Immediately go left and continue .15 miles to the trailhead parking. Drive the second car to the trailhead. From the intersection of Main Street and Ski Hill Road/Lincoln Avenue drive west on Ski Hill Road for 2.3 miles to the signed trailhead on the left.

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