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With eight "fourteeners" (peaks exceeding 14,000 feet in elevation), Collegiate Peaks Wilderness probably possesses the highest average elevation of any Wilderness in the Lower 48. You can climb Mounts Yale, Oxford, Columbia, and Harvard (the state's third highest point), as well as Huron Peak, Missouri Mountain, Mount Belford, and La Plata Peak (the state's fifth highest point).Climbing these peaks is a very popular activity, making opportunities for solitude very elusive. Expect to be inundated by people and their dogs on any "fourteener" trail. As you travel through the area, you might notice unusual and deep indentations in the boundary line. These are a legacy of man's hunt for gold and other valuable metals that are still sought just outside. More than a dozen trailheads create a situation in which no one ever stands more than five miles from a road. About 40 miles of the serpentine Continental Divide snake across the area, and this expansive Wilderness lies in parts of three national forests. The beauty of this place and its ease of access ensure torrents of visitors, especially on weekends. Please help keep Wilderness wild by following Leave No Trace practices. In particular, please refrain from having camp fires near treeline. The dwarfed Krummholtz trees that grow there are taking a beating from insensitive campers.

Excellent. This was my first 14er, and took me about 8 hours to do. Things I should've done: start earlier (plan to be on the trail 15-30 min before sunrise), and spend an extra day acclimating.

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
9 days ago

Fantastic, definitely need an AWD vehicle. Only saw one person on the trail all day.

hiking
10 days ago

Excellent hike on a great trail! Several stream crossings on logs...hiking poles come in very handy. A few muddy/boggy areas but passable. It seemed much longer than the listed mileage. Ptarmigan Lake is an easier hike for sure!

Great hike yesterday. Dry conditions. Trail is easy to follow until you get to the last 1500 feet then you need to look for the best route between rock cairns.

hiking
13 days ago

This was a great 14ier! The trail is well marked till you get to the rock pile. Then you scramble through the rocks. Beautiful scenery through the trees

hiking
14 days ago

My first 14er. A good all day hike with steep climbs, especially at the end. Don't let the relatively short distance fool you, this is a strenuous hike with a big climb in altitude. Not technical, but not easy. A lot of "mountain goat" scrambling across rocks to get to the top. Great views, quiet, not too many people (on a Tuesday morning), nice wildflowers. The trail is well marked for the most part, but easy to lose in a few places.

hiking
18 days ago

Attempted to summit Yale yesterday. Started in the rain at about 6:30 and ended in the rain at 11:30 The trail is well maintained, and the views were stunning with the fog hanging at tree line among the peaks-a rare view for an early morning hike in Colorado. We made it to about 13,000 ft then turned back because the cold rain had soaked and exhausted us all. The trail was busy, even for a rainy day. Will be back for this one on a bluebird day in the future!

hiking
20 days ago

Wow. So much fabulousness.

This hike immediately starts with a wet stream crossing of Lincoln Creek. It was up to my knees so there was no keeping the shoes dry. If you're planning ahead, you could change into river sandals but there was a lot of water further up too so not sure it would be worth it. After the creek crossing, the trail is moderately steep with loose rocks and pebbles. After crossing the aqueduct road (wouldn't it be nice if the trailhead were up there?), the trail crosses into the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness and continues to ascend through a pine forest.

The trail then opens into a long valley with fabulous wildflower meadows. The valley is marshy (not the trail tho), which means there's a fair amount of bugs. Bug spray to the rescue!

Right before I reached a set of wildly picturesque unnamed alpine lakes, the trail basically petered away totally. Since I knew my destination was the pass and since I had my app, I was able to continue on easily. Once I achieved the pass, I had a view of another couple unnamed alpine lakes on the other side and was able to suss out where Anderson and Petroleum Lakes were hidden from view one valley further.

I saw no one else all day. Wilderness indeed.