Explore buena vista - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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snowshoeing
9 days ago

Was just up on this trail Saturday 1/12/19 after a recent snowfall - mapped the trailhead location beforehand so was able to find it pretty easily, though the TH sign is fairly hidden. The trail had fresh powder and I was behind a lady that broke trail so there was AMAZING powder for snowshoes the whole way in, and yes, it is a fairly steady incline so be prepared!

hiking
25 days ago

Great winter hike. Snow the entire way but did not need spikes and the snow was only deep near thr lakes. Definitely a steep climb after about 1.5 miles. The snow made it a little tougher. Lake is frozen over and the backdrop is beautiful. Ony saw one other couple on the trail. Note: The All Trails directions take you to the trailhead and the hike is just over 5 miles. There is a way to drive up the "road" to where the Three Elks Traisl starts and would cut the hike by almost two miles. However, even with 4WD and high clearance, there was too much snow to attempt today.

Beautiful hike during mid December. Snow (ice in small areas) covering the trail, but still easy to follow. The hike in is all uphill, with some steep locations, but the solitude and beauty is worth it.

Gorgeous lakes that are currently frozen over. Be warned- getting to the trailhead means going on a rough road that was not a problem for our Jeep, but you’ll definitely need clearance and I would recommend a 4wd vehicle.

The 3 mile hike up to the falls was worth every step up, especially in the fall for this 61 year old’s questionable knee. My 24 year old daughter and I had a perfect day together followed by hours of sitting in nature’s own hot springs a few miles up the road!

trail running
2 months ago

A very enjoyable forested trail. Mt Antero looked great with a touch of snow. The trail was clear and conditions were good. The waterfall isn’t mind blowing but it’s a nice spot to stop for a photo and a snack.

hiking
2 months ago

We did this hike today (Oct 26) starting at 2pm and it was beautiful. There is some snow and ice starting around 10k ft but most of the trail is wooded and wide with great cover and pretty trees. The lakes are really pretty and we met several people who saw moose. Since we started in the afternoon we avoided most of the direct sunlight and the trail wasn’t crowded. I would definitely do this hike again.

Did this hike back in July, so this review might be a little off by now. Overall a Solid hike, with a well maintained trail. 3-4 hour hike depending on your pace and if you break for lunch at the waterfall.

hiking
3 months ago

Lovely hike for a partial day. The steepest part was the first section, then it was easy and beautiful. Very little snow and ice on this sunny October day. You can continue up to the lake for a hike that us twice as long.

Perfect 3 hour hike with the pup.

Did this on 10/14 after a big snow storm. Was a chilly and epic adventure. Post-holing up to the hips for the last mile. Good fun.

hiking
3 months ago

A nice simple and not too hard hike. Absolutly beautiful at the end of the colors. The fog was hanging on the peak of Mt Elbert. Love it. Will hike again.

hiking
3 months ago

Nice hike even though I didn't make it to the top. I started too late in the day and didn't feel comfortable hiking back in the dark. The trailhead is tough to find from the highway. The 2.3 miles from Monarch Lodge is accurate though and there is a sign for Monarch Sled Dog Rides right at the upper end of the parking area. The trail starts at the downhill end of the parking area.
It is a steep trail for a mid-westerner like myself but a good challenge.

We started around 10 am today and it was perfect. The tree colors were amazing and the waterfall was incredible.

Lovely hike but toward the hard end of the moderate range for me
Challenging going up the steep rocky trail And we saw only one other hiker during the entire hike which we did around noon on a Friday
The lake was lovely as were numerous small waterfalls along the way
Would definitely recommend this hike!

This was as mentioned a hard moderate hike. 4 over 50 year old flatlanders in moderate condition 2 hrs to get to the top. The one mile on the road was ok, we saw 3 mule deer, the mile of loose rocks was the hardest part up and down. The mile by the stream and around the lakes was just wonderful. Take the time to circle the lake and enjoy the silence. Listen to the wind through the Aspen and the trout jump. Very peaceful. I took a star off just because a few more switch backs during the descent of the rock portion would have been nice.

Amazing views! Moderate is a great description of this hike. First mile or so is the hardest, then it gets better. Coming down is breathtaking from the fall colors and views. Not a lot of traffic early morning. We started seeing more people around 10-12.

The lakes at the top were crystal clear and really neat to look at.

I use to live in this town and worked with a lady who along with her whole family got crushed by a rock slide here. Not worth it still very risky and there are many trails that are prettier.

hiking
4 months ago

If you are going during leaf season, this is an excellent trail because it has great aspens all the way and there is a stunning little pond at the top. The guy who said it is a jeep road took the wrong trail. Yes there is a jeep road that leads there, too, but there is also a single track trail & you don't even see that there is a jeep trail that goes there too until you get to the top.

We enjoyed the hike very much. Beautiful scenery and spectacular falls.

Was absolutely beautiful today as the aspen are perfect

My husband and children, 21 & 19 and I hiked this last month with our 11 year old Cairn terrier. The initial ascent was hot on the exposed trail but the waterfall was worth any effort.
Yes, there is horse poop but we didn't care... we have and love horses.
I would definitely hike this again.

4 months ago

Great hike, easy to follow trail with lots of beautiful scenery. The waterfall is amazing and a nice place to cool off before heading back down. I started at 8 a.m. and saw almost no one, but lots of groups going up on my way down. There is some horse poop along trail, but wasn't too bad in my opinion. I went on 9/12 and leaves are starting to turn for fall.

hiking
4 months ago

First hike since my wife’s emergency hip replacement 75 days ago. A very easy and pleasant hike along the lake. Out and back there were a few slight undulations keeping it interesting.

hiking
4 months ago

There's a trailhead sign, but it's difficult to see from the HWY as it's behind some trees/branches. The easiest way to find the trailhead is just to look at where the lake's outlet stream crosses the HWY on a map (let google maps guide you, but best to download an offline map before hand). Plenty of parking across the street in dirt turn offs.

The way up isn't bad, the steeper parts are often followed by moderate sections and I didn't have to stop too many times to catch my breath. The trail is fairly rocky, so you'll have to keep your eyes on the road. Nice tree cover the whole way. Made it the upper lake in about 70 minutes and back down in about 45 minutes.

The trail to the upper lake isn't obvious; I just headed to the opposite side of the first lake and hiked straight up the hill behind the dispersed site on the other side. Once you get to the top of that hill you have to cross a boulder field. You can avoid jumping boulders by finding your way a bit the left of where you came up the hill and then follow the faint path across the field where you don't have to do any "jumping".

The shores of the upper lake are pretty rocky and tree covered, so don't expect a nice beach up there. However the views are stunning, especially with the fall colors in full swing right now.

I'm giving 4 stars because the way to the upper lake isn't obvious and also I saw so many people up there. I prefer something a bit more secluded.

hiking
4 months ago

I hiked this trail this morning and it is NOT closed. There are signs at the trailhead warning that a recent flash flood/rock slide has made the trail hazardous.
Conditions of trail were loose rock, gravel, and sand. Nothing a pair of hiking boots can’t tackle. As you get closer to the top, there is another sign indicating that you assume risk beyond that point. If you continue on, expect some scrambling. If you take your time and pay attention to where others have gone, you will find a route. Use common sense.

I only gave four stars due to the difficulty finding the trailhead and the trail to the second lake. ***Another reviewer posted directions which were very helpful. The trailhead is directly across from the lower parking area. (I’m posting a pic with an arrow.) Highway 50 is very busy, so be sure to have a good hold on your pups/kids and look both ways before crossing!
Otherwise — wow! What a beautiful trail. It is very rocky and steep, but my three 12-year-old pups did fine. If you have knee issues I definitely suggest trekking poles. There are several stream crossings where they can get water, and of course the lake where they can swim. We encountered no mosquitos at the first lake, but didn’t get to the second due to a storm coming in. We went on Sunday and only saw three other groups/individuals.

hiking
4 months ago

Great easy hike. Finished 3 hours. Beautiful waterfall

Beautiful waterfall. Easy hike. Not many great views on the actual hike.

great quick beautiful rewarding hike.

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