Explore the most popular birding trails in Collegiate Peaks Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

On 5/12/18 backpacked up to the lake. The snow made it pretty miserable for the last 1.5 miles. We were falling in waist deep. There was hardly any areas without snow to camp out at, but found a spot surrounded by trees to help block out some wind. We were the only souls out there that I know of. No one or animal in sight. The next morning walked to the lake to enjoy the gorgeous view. The hike back was not as bad because we already made the footprints to step in and the snow hardened so at times it was ok to walk on top of.

Didn’t make it all the way to the lake because of snow making the trail hard to follow. Beautiful

beautiful hike, about 3 miles up ran into deep snow drifts and turned around. Need to go back in a couple months.

hiking
11 days ago

Wow
Was doing training for COLORADO Trail this summer
Took full 27 pound pack for training
Perfect weather
Really tiring elevation change
Had snow n ice on trail
Got worst as you went higher
Turned around about have away
Did not want to take a chance of slipping n falling with full pack
Great signage

Summited this pretty late in the season. The trail was easy to follow below treeline. Traces of snow but mostly dry and clearly marked. Most everything above treeline was snow-covered to the point that I lost the trail and ended up scrambling to the summit. I had no sense of where the trail was for the last quarter mile. Views from the top were incredible, though! Definitely a difficult hike but well worth it.

Not an easy trail in spring weather, snow was soft and not stable. Still doable for determined people. Had to change between spike to snowshoes to often. Made it to the top an it was all worth it. Views are stunning!

camping
25 days ago

awesome overnighter hike to take it easy. theres sites close to the lake. beautiful crystal clear streams feeding the lake and draining. I made it a 2 nighter and went up to bear lake the next day. camped in the horn fork basin area..breathtaking views of the collegiate peaks when you get up to bear lake. from bear you can summit mt. Harvard. one of my fave hikes in the collegiate peaks. plenty of water sources.

This was my first 14er. Not from altitude, and even with both Tylenol 1g and 400mg ibuprofen I still had a pounding headache above 12.5k. That didn't stop me from loving this hike though.

Really tough. Super short of breath. But the views at the end were absolutely amazing. The hike up varied a lot in terrain, and I loved every section of it. Coming down was hard. Lost my way a few times even with a GPS app since the trail was not well marked.

Would do this again.

This was the most brutal hike I've ever been on. Man it was hard. I was 28 and in solid shape at that time, but everything after 13,500f was a struggle. My dog and I made it to the top, though most people we met who started the trail had to turn around. It's worth it though! On the way down a giant piece of rock went flying between me and my dog - we were lucky not to get hurt. Make sure you get on the trail before 7am.

I reached the summit at 12:00 pm on 3/21/2018 with only micro spikes, snowshoes were not needed. The trail was lost and I followed snowshoe tracks that went directly straight up through the tree line. I was a bit tough to get up but once above tree line it was easy to find the trail. Just be weary, there are a ton of tracks that go to dead ends. Once above the tree line head towards the saddle and you are bound to find the trail. This was my 3rd 14er of 2018 and I found it to be pretty safe, as for avey danger.

cross country skiing
2 months ago

A solid intro to back country skiing. Pretty easy-going. My dad and I did this about a month ago and there was just enough snow to ski, but plenty of snow-shoers and micro-spiked hikers did just fine out there.

As others have stated, the most challenging part of the trail is above the tree line. Challenging but well worth the views at the top!

great views the whole way up
well worth the effort

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike to get the blood flowing. I got a late start Friday the 27th. I was hoping to make it to the lake but with the heavy pack and not being acclimated to this Colorado elevation, it took its toll. Luckily there are multiple camping spots along the way. The last mile and a half seemed to have fewer camping spots though so just a heads up. Plenty of places to get water and the elevation gain is steady. I made it to the lake the next morning. It is already starting to freeze over. Was hoping to fish but it was too windy to cast and it was at least 15 degrees colder than 1 trail mile down. Great looking spot though! My dog lived the hike too!

hiking
6 months ago

Hiked this trail in late October. Had wanted to get to CO to hike a 14'er a month or two ago, but work got in the way. Picked this 14er due to the fact that it has a South approach, and most North approach 14ers have much more snow now. From San Antonio so the elevation was a challenge. Read somewhere about pressure breathing, and it did seem to help. Started at 7:30am, summitted at about 12:30. 5 hours up, 3.5 down. Trail is more like 4.9 miles one way though. Tough trail (for me), but the views are spectacular. Once I got to the saddle, the last ~100-150ft are just sheer boulders. I considered stopping at the saddle because the trail to the top is barely visible. Probably made up my own trail the rest of the way, but decided "I came all this way, why quit now". Totally worth it. Barely any wind. It was probably in the high 30's at the top, but was still stripping off layers due to the strenuous work. Definitely recommend.

backpacking
7 months ago

10/15/17

Challenging hike to the summit, but manageable at this time of year. Shouldn’t be much trouble during the summer. We hiked with our overnight packs to the end of the timberline and set up camp. Then, we finished the hike with a light pack to the top and returned to our camp before sundown. Amazing views. Lots of wildlife. We will definitely be back.

camping
7 months ago

Horn Fork Basin is my favorite place in the state to be.
So much can be done in a 2-3 day stretch.
Harvard is a must as well as Bear Lake nearby.
love love love.

hiking
7 months ago

Decent work to get there and the pay off once there well worth it. Fur kids enjoyed it too!

Hiked this trail on October 2nd. There was a good deal of snow above the tree line. Many drifts were knee high. Would recommend spikes. Very windy as well, still worth the view from the top

Beautiful trail. We had planned on camping at Bear Lake but that high above tree line left a great deal of exposure and no wood for fire, or winbreaks. We camped slightly south of the lake, plenty of good spots.

hiking
8 months ago

This was such a lovely hike. Mostly shaded trail, and lots of water crossings. Steady incline so it was work but you couldn't really tell. Lake at the top was pretty with lots of camping. Way back down isn't too bad on your knees because of the gradual hike. Would do this again for sure!

Hiked this mountain yesterday with my dad. Was my 12th and his 28th fourteener. Definitely a harder climb than any other mountain I've done. Started the trail at 5am with headlamps through the forest. Gets pretty difficult when the trail gets above tree line. Lots of steep switchbacks leading to the saddle and then boulder field beyond. Scrambling was super fun leading up to the summit. Overall, awesome views of the Three Apostles, Mt. Harvard, Mt. Columbia, and Mt. Princeton. Took us a little over 3 hours to summit but worth every second.

backpacking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike.
Most of the trail is tree covered.
Many water crossing, bridged and natural. I think I counted around 7.
Camping spots near the lake, however I believe some are too close.
Firewood is scarce.
If you have any questions I'm on Facebook messenger.

Great hike. It's definitely difficult in terms of steepness-- 4.5 miles and 4,500 feet. The last bit (maybe 500 meters) is a full scramble to the top. Gorgeous though, and it helps that the trailhead is so easily accessible. Perfectly paved roads all the way to the trailhead.

Camped out Sunday night at a pretty good spot a couple miles past the trailhead. Still managed to get a late start in the morning, but it didn't matter because the weather was perfect. Beautiful, but steep hike through the woods with great views of the changing aspens. However, as most have stated, Yale saves the toughest parts for last. The elevation gain is no joke. Well worth it for the views, and my 6th 14er!

Starts with a beautiful hike through the woods, with a soundtrack of running water from the creek right along the trail. Above tree line, gorgeous views. A long and challenging hike that requires some endurance. We accidentally got off trail and did some precarious scrambling over boulders near the top - don't stray too far from the sandy trail. That said - the sandy trail/loose rock does get slippery and makes it tricky to keep your footing on the descent. We started at 9am which is too late for this 14er, especially at our slow pace - we finished at 8pm, just as it got dark! Lesson: start at sunrise.
Overall - this is a GORGEOUS and CHALLENGING hike.

hiking
8 months ago

A great trail with a very pretty lake at the end. The trail is in good shape and a long but steady climb. Not real difficult but not easy either. Good day hike.

Beautiful long and hard trail Bring good shoes and poles lots of rocks and steep going down at the end

My first 14er! Great experience. Loved the green forest area with the running creeks, dirt smells and cooler air. After the tree line I felt very exposed. Quite a steep hike until we reach the rocks. I gotta say I loved scaling the rocks. Takes me back to childhood and growing up around the desert buttes of my he Mohave desert.

I will definitely do it again.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautifully maintained trail, spectacular scenery, perfect level of physical challenge for me. But the last 20 feet of elevation to the summit requires true climbing, so be ready.

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