Explore the most popular forest 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.

hiking
4 hours ago

Beautiful glacier-carved valley. Too bad that there is no marker pointing toward the trail to Tabor Lake. It takes off from the main trail, to the west, about 2.3 miles in (may read 5.1 of the out and back total). Elevation on the app is 11,657, 11,630 on phone. You have to be looking for flattened grass just to the left of a small pointed group of rocks. The vague trail disappeared into nothing, but if you continue, bearing slightly left you soon come to an obvious, well-traveled trail that leads steeply to Tabor Lake at 12,320 ft.

Truthfully, this hike isn’t that special and the experience is dulled by all the folks near the lake this time of year. Look for other hiking opportunities from the trailhead: I.e Bear Lake.

Took a few friends here who have never been backpacking at it was great. Easy in and out and they loved it. The lake was great. I wouldnt really recommend trying to hike Mt. Yale from this location. It was all bouldering and sheer cliffs with no trail. That's not to say it wasnt do-able. We made it to the top in about 3.5 hours, and had to scramble down bc of an incoming thunderstorm. Overall, it was a great introductory trip and we were able to get some adventure in trying to conquere Yale.

hiking
2 days ago

We never saw any signs for this on the road until the actual trail head. Really enjoyed it though. Hit the trail about 1pm and saw pretty heavy traffic early on, but thinned out later, everyone was super nice. Had 4 or 5 creek crossing and several river/creek access points prior to lake access which our dog enjoyed. Road in and out made me a little nervous but was totally doable.

hiking
5 days ago

A challenging but truly epic hike & summit. The dirt road up to the trailhead was barely passable at 5-7 mph in a Honda Civic – by comparison, it was much better than the Grays/Torreys road from hell – but you’d be tempting fate in anything less than a high-clearance 4WD. Parking spots were still available at the trailhead (North Cottonwood Creek) at 7 AM on a Monday in August. Only encountered four or five other hikers all day.

This trail has basically four parts: in the forest, in the valley, ascending to the shoulder, and the final ascent to the summit. Each section is shorter but steeper and more challenging than the last; the last two sections have probably 2000-2500 feet of elevation gain across <2 miles. Beware of the two unmarked forks along this trail – at the first, it’s left to Harvard and right to Columbia, and at the second, keep right for the Harvard trail and go left for Bear Lake. Lots of marmots and pikas towards the end, and we saw some mountain goats from the summit. Goats aside, the summit views were absolutely spectacular – with minimal wind and clear skies, we spent 40 minutes up there.

Bottom line: definitely harder than some other 14ers but, with proper planning and expectations, totally worth it.

My tenth 14er and goes down as my favorite because the scenery is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a little deceiving because you’re surrounded by a forest and creek for about half the climb and you can’t see the exposed tree line area at all, but it’s nice this trail spoils you a little bit before the hard work starts. The trail was nice until the very top of the summit where there were big boulders. We had a Boston Terrier who struggled on this part a bit, definitely more class 3 terrain at the top. We only saw 4 other people and had the summit to ourselves, a first for me! The descent was nice and easy since it’s not too steep and you also end in a beautiful forest to reward yourself from the tough climb! Highly recommend.

backpacking
6 days ago

I just got back from a backpack trip to Kroenke Lake August 12th. kroenke is no longer the pristine alpine lake it once was. it is over used and trampled with little fire wood. People are camping and building fire rings within a few feet of the lake. What is more distressing is that there is used toilet paper everywhere in the forested areas along the east and south sides of the Lake. When did the hiking/backpacking community decide its ok to just leave their toilet paper behind? Come On People! Its easy to pack out your toilet paper with your other trash, or burn it in your fire pit. If you love the outdoors enough to drive to a trailhead and hike somewhere, you should care enough not to degrade the environment and diminish the experience of others.

1. This is longer than 8.3. More like 9.5. Consider that for time. We started at 5.20 am and we were in the car at 1pm. We hike a pretty average pace, but most people we going significantly slower.

2. DON'T MISS THE TRAIL TURNOFF! If you're walking in the dirt road for more than 10 minutes, you may have missed it. It's easy to do in the dark, even with headlamps, and one guy we met missed it by 40 mins. It's about 5 mins down the trail on the left.

Beautiful half day trail. The end is worth the effort.

This was a fantastic hike! We did this as a day hike and had lunch at the lake. Magnificent views. From the time you cross the stream and enter the Horn Fork basin until slightly before the turn off for the lake, the rate of climb is very manageable. The last bit before the turn off was steeper, but not all that long. I’m not sure that I would agree with the review below about most low clearance cars being able to make it to the trailhead, at least based on the condition of the road when we were there in July this year. We did make it using a garden variety small SUV, but I would have felt a lot better in something with more clearance and a stick, particularly coming down. That being said, there were a couple of low clearance passenger cars at the trailhead and one apparently disabled SUV being hauled off on a flatbed tow truck...

camping
9 days ago

Great climb. Camped in the basin. Summited the next morning with my 12 and 9 year old.

*closure!* came across road closure signs a few miles before the TH, however they were only blocking one lane so we continued on. Got to the TH at 930 and were told by road construction that the road/hike is not open to the public, only certain resorts. However they did end up letting us in.
The trail was well-maintained and easy to follow, other than the last mile which was a scramble over rocks. Lots of wildflowers and great views the entire way up! Had the mountain to ourselves the whole time. Clocked 9mi total.

I haven't climbed Mt. Yale yet. I just wanted to thank Shubham for his review. That's one of the best trip reports I've seen in a long time.

A couple of marathons, numerous obstacle races, and raising 4 teenage girls. But nothing could prepare me for this beast. Only had 2 days to acclimate from sea level, and this mountain kicked our butts. It throws everything at you so it’s not at all boring. But prepare your mind for a test.

A beautiful 14er, but not the greatest trail. The first couple of miles through the trees is great, but be prepared for very steep, eroded, gravel-y trail after the ridge/buttress. A few other notes: limited parking at the trailhead and no restroom. It looks like there are some places to park, however, further down the 4WD road a quarter mile past the trailhead. It's certainly a beautiful, worthwhile trail, just know that you'll earn it!

backpacking
20 days ago

Nice a steady climb to the lake. It was little hard for me coming straight from Illinois to the mountains. But i would say this is a good one for Plenty of campsites along the lake. We camped on a Sunday night in July and there were 3 other campsites along the lake. Even with the other campers it was very quiet, and scenery was beautiful Seemed like there was good fishing too. I don't fish often, but I caught a couple. It got pretty chilly at night and in the morning, so bring some layers if staying overnight.

Total asskicker hike . Clipped them all for number 31. Heads up on this route listed in AllTrails. The route that is listed is a class 3/4 scramble on some of the worst rock I’ve seen . I scooted our 1/2 way but be aware it’s not a preferred route . Head down elk further and clip up the MO trail.

Started at 6 am finished by 3, trail ran most of it but the mileage is also off . Easy 16.5 with the full loop, my garmin died but I think it was closer to 18. Nothing hard about the climb, slight class 2 move right before summit of MO, go right and hug rock for the two, or straight over for a 3 . Again rock is pretty lose here . Nothing else technical but with the miles and altitude gain this was one of the hardest runs I’ve done !

Beautiful day and the views are totally worth it , start early and bring min 4 liter of water and some calories !

Nice hike with good fishing at the end. Went mid-July, so there were plenty of other campers around the lake, but my campsite was definitely peaceful and solitary. You can bank on having afternoon storms and rain, so bring an extra tarp to sit under and plenty of warm clothes.

Great! Steep but after every corner new views! We made it until 12,000 feet in 3 hours. We needed 2 hours to go down. We love the variety in the landscape!

backpacking
28 days ago

Harvard was a great hike. We hiked up to near the tree line the day before and enjoyed great temperatures in the trees. The elevation change is mild up until the last 2.5 miles. After this it was challenging and quite steep. The only problem we had was that the trail was a little confusing at points. Look for the rock piles to guide you. The last 300 yards require you to scramble and the most obvious route is not the best and if you go
A little to the right it is easier. The way down does not require trekking poles but they do help. Great views of many small lakes and a picturesque stream. Great hike with a small overnighter

Incredibly strenuous hike. The loop accesses three 14ers in the San Isabel National Forest. Mt. Missouri (14,067), Mt. Oxford (14,153) and Mt. Belford (14,197).

Word of caution: this is closer to a 17 mile loop, NOT 12. I don't know where All Trails sees a path on the eastern slope of Missouri, but it is non-existent. Instead, you have to take a mile longer (but probably safer and less severe) route and come from the west. From there, the mileage is still off.

We arrived at the parking lot at 4:50am on a Saturday and it was already full. We camped nearby, and there are plenty of spaces. Most of the hikers head to Belford, but for this loop you want to take Missouri first. You'll do this by following the path towards Fikhead Pass. As noted above, you'll come up the western side of Missouri. You have to come back down this way and up the pass to access Belford/Oxford.

We were going to hit all three but storms came in at noon and we had to hike out, only hit Missouri and Belford. Normally, you'll want to be off the mountain by 2. Our storms hit at noon.

You can view the hike we made here: https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/2869855938

I’m going tun

We hiked to both lakes a few days ago and this hike was one of the best hikes we've ever been on. We were there on a weekday and saw only one group of people the entire day. We fished at both lakes, but didn't catch anything - there's definitely fish in there but they're very smart. The hike starts at 11,200 and the second lake is at 12,300 so be prepared to be short of breath. We live at less than 700 ft so we were sucking wind the entire time. The hike from Anderson to Petroleum lakes is more strenuous than the first section of the hike. But it's all very worth it!
The first part of the drive from the main road can be done without 4x4, but the last 3.5 miles from the campground to the trailhead pretty much requires 4x4 and decent clearance. That being said, it's an easy 4x4 trail, not too difficult for inexperienced offroaders.
Between the two lakes is a small meadow full of beautiful wildflowers. The lakes, flowers, and views were all so gorgeous. Would definitely recommend this hike.
P.S. - there's two ponds in between the lakes. Don't stop there, but continue up to the left to reach Petroleum lake.

hiking
1 month ago

The moderate trail rating is very accurate. The majority of the trail is hiked in the woods. The trail opens up to bogs and meadows as you get close to the lake. We hiked in late July and the wildflowers were in full bloom. The lake is small but very scenic. Later in the day, on our way down, there were a good number of backpackers setting up camp around the lake. We hiked an additional 35 or 40 minutes past the lake towards Browns Pass. This portion of the trail was strenuous but afforded some really great views of the lake and meadows. The additional effort was worth the views.

Great fun

This hike is amazing! Very strenuous and long, we started at the trailhead at 5 am and finished around 2:30 pm. The elevation change is very difficult; we did the hike without trekking poles but I definitely recommend them. There are some spots where they would've been very helpful. Make sure to bring alot of water and take some breaks, 16.5 miles is no walk in the park.

hiking
1 month ago

Amazing hike. Did this in two days, second 14er. First one was La Plata, which I thought was harder. But then again I learned my lesson and took ibuprofen and tylenol every 6 hours to prevent the pounding headache that I had with La Plata.

This was part of a bachelor party! We arrived Friday at trailhead at 11AM, hiked up the trail to the second campsite about 3.7 miles in (much better than first), and arrived around 2PM. First campsite super crowded, had about 7 groups. We had the second one to ourselves pretty much. Set alarm for 1:30AM to go outside and find a sky lit up with stars and a great view of the milky way and some sweet shooting stars.

Woke up next day, lazying around and left at 9:30AM. Summited with day packs around 2PM because we are out of shape. Tough hike with the elevation, with a small 5-10 minute technical climb at the end but definitely doable. Views on top are of course, unbelievable. Shared some celebratory scotch at the top.

Things to keep in mind:

- You need a 4x4 to get to the trailhead, Definitely. A miniSUV might make it, maybe.
- Plenty of water along the trail. Bring iodine pills, a pump, or what have you. No need to carry tons of water.
- Campfires are usually allowed, except when it's super dry in the summer and there's a fire ban in place

We did not do Columbia too, but ran into some people who summited Columbia, and hiked across the ridge to Harvard. They had said Columbia is the toughest they've ever done after 12x 14ers. Take care with attempting to bag 2 peaks in a day.

10/10 would do again

Hiked to both lakes today. Beautiful hike with abundant wildflowers. Also several small waterfalls along the way. A moderate hike and definitely a favorite. An hour and a half drive from Aspen to the trailhead. So worth it. Highly recommend

hiking
1 month ago

My wife and I headed to Buena Vista to hike Ptarmigan Lake Trail, only to see construction had closed the road. So we pulled out the AllTrails app, and found this nearby. What a great find! Water running by the trail, or you can hear it if you don't see it. It rained hard for awhile, so we found shelter in the trees. Rained off and on coming back, but a great hike! Walking thru all the trees was amazing! Yes, the smell of a dead animal is still present, but just a short area of the trail.

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