Explore collegiate peaks wilderness - 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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hiking
4 days ago

Short day hike with incredible views! We saw three other people our entire time hiking, so if you're looking to get away from the crowds you'll definitely enjoy this hike!
The road to the trailhead may be inaccessible due to snow, so that's something to consider if you are planning on hiking this during the winter. If the road is inaccessible due to snow, it may tack on an extra 3-4 miles one way.
When we went, the road had a good bit of snow on it, but nothing a Subaru couldn't handle. The snow made the hike a lot harder than it normally is. We did the hike without YakTrax/Micro Spikes or Snow Shoes, but I'd definitely recommend them due to sections of steep rocky terrain that we found difficult to grip in snowy/icy conditions.

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.

Wonderful hike! Took my 60 year old parents on this and they loved it. It is very steep for the last half mile, but otherwise a very gradual income. Being a jacket for the lake, the wind has quite the chill. Perfect amount of sun and forested shade on the way up.

hiking
13 days ago

Short but sweet! A real gem!

hiking
13 days ago

Beautiful hike. The hike is pretty steep from the very beginning and doesn't let up much. There is some snow from about 12,000 ft onward, but you can still find the trail as of this posting. The saddle between Belford and Oxford was crazy windy today! We spent a lot of energy leaning into in hopes of staying on the mountain (not that we really would have been blown off).

The three seniors in my group, 79, 83, 83, found this trail very difficult. I used the elevation readings from my iPhone to calculate an elevation gain of 1,080 feet.

49th 14er, easy class 1 with amazing views of collegiate peaks. No scrambling towards the summit. Very good maintained trail. Start early to beat the crowds! Took me 5 hours round trip, started at 6am back to the vehicle at 11am. Spent only 10-15 mins at the summit.

Pretty easy hike for a 14er until you get to the saddle, then it gets a little technical. We went really slow with this one for a total of 10 hours. Started at 630 and was off the mountain still in plenty of time. If you get a nice weather day in the fall I would highly recommend, the Aspen trees were some of the most beautiful I've seen. Of the 12 14ers I have hiked, this was one is up there as far as a good hike and beautiful views. Enjoy!

enjoyed this hike however, be aware the trail around the lake can be difficult to keep track of.

Great hike for beginner backpackers staying the night. Great spots on the entire south side of the lake. Found a spot that was fenced in by trees to camp with a nice fire ring. Great for teaching a pup off leash. Weather was incredible

The views made it all worth it! A steady climb from the beginning to a rocky last 45 minutes of the hike.

A nice start in the woods. Trail was clearly marked. Beautiful vistas!

beautiful late Sept hike

Great day. Almost no other people. Did 5.3 mile up and back.

21 days ago

This is a steep hike, but definitely worth it. Stunning at the top, but really gorgeous the entire way up to the top.

21 days ago

One of my favorites. The views are amazing. The aspens are beautiful. While the hike just goes up and up, there’s enough variety in the terrain that it doesn’t feel grueling.

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!

Rocky covered with scree a d talus. Trailhead at about 12000, well above treeline. Easily accessible from hwy 285 just south of Fairplay north on County Road 18. Travel on this dirt road until a closed gate parking along the road in front of the gate where ever available. Parking is suitable for a weekend crowd. The dirt road is flanked by a healthy forest of limber and bristle cone pines. There is a short trail called Limber Pine Trail along the way that flanks a creek filled with willows. Great for possible moose sightings. The hike from the closed gate to the summit of Mt. Sherman is about 2.5 miles and about 2100 feet elevation gain. There is a very short area of exposure along the ridge near the top as well as strong winds.There are two false summits as well. Like any alpine peak, the view from the summit dismisses all experiences of wind rocks and fatigue. Great hike for a first 14er. It was considerably easier than most of the other alpine hikes I did this past summer. Sadly, I missed the wildflowers on this peak due to the lateness of the season.

We only did about half of this trail due to time constraints. We actually went down to the water and walked along there for a bit before getting back on the trail. It is a very easy trail but was heavily trafficked even for a Tuesday. Beautiful views though!

Haley P nailed that synopsis below, incredible! Hiked under the full moon and started right outside of Winfield (the lower trailhead; Winfield is super cool, old little mining town you can explore) - tons of dispersed camping along the road to the upper trailhead. Great little dispersed spot right outside of Winfield as well. Definitely a great beginner 14'er! The trail is wonderfully defined the entire route and tough to get off track. #27 & definitely one of my favorites! Views at the summit were all-time. Enjoy!

Incredible! This was my first 14er and I’m hooked - a great first one to try if you haven’t hiked one yet. Some tips for folks to help you gauge time, distance, etc.

Everyone says to “start early” but that doesn’t really explain much. I found that you should be off the peak and below the tree line before noon on account of afternoon lightning storms. We started at 5:30 am (1.5 hours before sunrise) to give us ample time. The trail was super easy to follow, even in the dark. We made it almost half way up (to the plateau) in 1.5 hours. The last half took us another 1.5 hours, so 3 hours total to make it to the peak. We are regular hikers, but were not rushing it. We’re not a fan of blitzing a hike. We spent an hour at the top before descending in about 3 hours. Down by around 1 pm. Tons of people were ascending at that time - not sure if they planned to do the whole thing or not.

We drove in the Friday night before and car camped at the 4x4 trailhead. There were still plenty of places to park and camp, although we got there at 10 pm. You do need a 4x4 car or truck with at least 8-10 inches of clearance. A Toyota suv was hitting bottom in front of us on the way up.

Bring water, snacks, and layers! We saw some people hiking in a long-sleeved shirts and shorts and carrying one water bottle. I can’t advise against that enough. Maybe I’m just paranoid being a WFR, but honestly, I’m the one who will have to help when you get hurt, so please bring some supplies! Better to be prepared at 14,000 ft than to skimp on a little bit of extra weight.

Do it, you’ll love it!! 

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.

lovely and quiet hike. challenging. great drive up...lots to see en route.

Great hike with amazing views from the summit. It is a long hike with false summits. Just keep hiking until you can see 360 deg panorama view (also you can tell it’s the peak). Took 4 hrs up and 2 coming down(had poles which saves an hr coming down!!) poles also save time on climb also!! Once you get out of the forest , the views are great the whole way to the top ! There was snow on top of mt and it was windy and cold so take layers! I was surprised there was not a rock scramble to the peak. There is a good trail from the base to the peak which makes this 14’r easier from technical standpoint than most. It is a long hike but not very difficult . I left at 7 am and didn’t see but 1 person going up. Coming down I saw 20 plus! If you want solitude, go early!!
Fun 14’r- take plenty of water and good shoes as it is a long hike! My gps showed just shy of 10 miles but vertical is just short of 4500’ which is a full day

Roommate and I completed the trail in ~4.5 hrs, which we feel pretty good about considering how out of shape we are. No snow yet, but a lot of the trail is loose gravel/scree, and by the end I was wishing for my knee brace. It was extremely windy up on the ridge but calm at the summit. My little '07 Honda Fit made it all the way up to the trail head just fine -- can't say I'd recommend it, but if your only option is a low-clearance vehicle, it's doable.

hiking
24 days ago

I hit the summit of Columbia first thing this morning. Annihilated me, absolutely annihilated me. Be weary before stepping into this one as the Class II can be a tad misleading. No crazy bouldering but the sheer steepness of the slope after the treeline is insanely intense. There's a solid trail leading up the first saddle but slowly disappears, leaving one lost and bewildered, only option to continue straight up. Number 26 of 2018 and probably the most difficult. I'll take that 17 mile 6600 gain Blanca hike over this one any day. Schooled by Columbia.

Beautiful views, great for hiking in off-season (late fall/winter). Not anything gnarly like other 14ers, but it’s a great first one.

As part of an Outward Bound course, I carried a 65 pound pack over the top of Mt Elbert, as we did not return the route we ascended. That was 38 years ago. I plan to try it again as a day hike at age 65.

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

Absolutely perfect day for the hike. Hiked on 9/23 spots throughout the hike were pretty windy but once you get to the top extremely calm. Make sure you have some layers as the temperature changes throughout and something for your ears.
Views were spectacular!

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