Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

This was my third 14er and by far the best 360 degree views. You NEED a 4WD vehicle to get to the upper trailhead; if you have to park at the lower trailhead plan to add about 4 miles round trip to your hike.

I’m in good shape and it took me about 5 active hours round trip to complete.

Beautiful hike today! We parked at the lower trail head which made the hike about 11 miles round trip. The aspen trees are at peak right now, great views and not too crowded for a weekend!

hiking
8 days ago

This is a great combo of two 14ers to hit. You can make it a really nice overnight trip by hiking in to one of the campsite areas just before the split off. The second of the two is nicest and is located right next to a stream for easy access to water.

The leg to get from the summit of Belford to Oxford takes 45-60 minutes each way.

This was my first 14er. It took me 5.5 hours of active time, not including the half hour I spent at the top. The peak had a nice little pile of rocks that creates some coverage from the wind. AMAZING 360 degree views. Every angle was breathtaking. Would definitely do again. And the cute little pikas everywhere were probably my favorite. I have no idea how but I saw some insane person mountain biking too.

When reading 14er reviews, I always find it helpful to know a persons skill level. That being said, I’m a regular hiker and this was my second 14er. I can easily say this was the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. Don’t let the “lower” summit height fool you. This thing is steep! You climb roughly 1000 ft per mile for the full 3.5 mile ascend. Once you’re past the tree line (and the wonderful, but short, flat reprieve), this is where the true challenge begins. But what a view! I can see why a lot of the reviews say this is the most beautiful 14er. It was stunning!

Not hard but pretty steep! Parking lot at the top (that requires 4wd) fills up quick. There were 6 or 8 cars parked there Friday night for the next morning.

Important: the trailhead is up the road a short distance, maybe 1/3 to 1/2 mi on the LEFT next to the green gate (right past it). There are small cairns but easy to miss- look for a sign that says “Attention...” This hike seemed much longer than 8-9 mi, I was with a group of 3 and we all had ~13 mi on our devices. There’s a large boulder field and good deal of scree, which makes the last 2-3 mi pretty grueling. There are also a couple of false summits, so watch for the trail continuing on. I’ve done Huron, Belford, Oxford, and Missouri and this one was the hardest for me. I call this one the beast- such a beautiful beast, though!

One of the best 14ers and trails that I’ve done. Beautiful start through the aspens - the leaves are just starting to change color. There’s a lot of hiking above tree line but you’re on the proper side of the ridge to avoid a lot of the wind until near the summit. A couple of false summits may trick you but the second is almost level with the final summit. A tiny bit of scrambling may be required but the views are well worth it.

3:30AM start on Saturday. Chilly with some frozen precipitation. Summit at 7:20. Warmed up a bit on the way down. No flashlight needed above treeline with a 2/3 moon overhead.

Did this hike a few weeks ago. The road leading up to this trailhead is about 6 miles of 4x4 road. We had a 4x4 vehicle but eventually had to park it about a mile from the trailhead because it got way too rough for us as we were in a rental. But can I just say how absolutely incredible it is to get out there. I adored every minute of it. We didn’t see many people after passing the campgrounds, or on the trail. I enjoyed adding an additional mile to my hike as we passed this awesome 120yr old cabin, and got great views of the basin. The trail itself is easy but I’ve been hiking in high elevations for quite some time now. I would write more details but I don’t want to ruin anything. Let’s just say, you get more views and features out of this hike than just these alpine lakes. Totally worth the slightly rough road out there! And ALWAYS be watchful of weather my friends. ✌

One of the easier class 2s in the Collegiate Peaks, just like most there is a good amount of scree to hike on toward the summit. Made it fun to trail run down after summiting at 8:30Am Aug.31.18, outstanding views of the many surrounding lakes and tallest 14ers in CO. (Massive, Harvard, Elbert) this was my 46th 14er summit as well, thought I should add that as I’ve seen in the past comments it was the hardest one they’ve done..as far as class 2s go I would rank as Moderate. Basically no exposure, and no intense boulder fields just scree piles. Similar climb as compared to Mt. Massive, personally I think Harvard and Columbia are a little more difficult due to the length of the trip. Bring wind gear!

Easy hike from a popular trailhead. Would be interested in backpacking here on a weekday in shoulder season (since it was pretty busy) to camp/fish.

Road wasn’t too bad to the trailhead. A fair amount of options for dispersed camping along the way. The first ~3.5 miles are very gentle and easy to cruise through. Great views from the top, and the last 40 feet of scrambling is a lot of fun!

the absolute hardest hike I have ever done. wanted to do a 14er with an incredible view and 14ers.com reiterated the amazing view from La Plata Peak. the hike itself is intense! once you pass the tree line you are basically hiking very steeply on loose dirt and jumping rock to rock. the wind the day we went was about 50-60 mph too (definitely had some thoughts about turning around but we were so close to the top). we started the hike late, around 945 AM and got back to the car around 4 PM so all in all it was 4 hours up and 2 hours down. this hike is not for the faint of heart, it was a mental and physical battle the entire way but the moment you step foot on the summit is one of the most satisfying and breathtaking moments.

This was a second attempt. The first was due to getting lost under treeline and realizing too much time had been wasted. This is a LONG attempt, and requires perfect weather. Wet rocks alone pose a respectful hazard. The plan was to camp at treeline, among the tree patches and get a reasonable start start; 6 AM. At a modest pace, 7 hours for the full ridge. Water consumption was something that needed to be rationed - bring a filter for your descent. As dark clouds rolled in mid day - forecast 0%, we turned back at halfway. Views were priceless and the route has few other travelers. Absolutely loved it!!! Looked upon La Plata and easily saw a crowd of two dozen. We had the company of two other awesome hikers for the entire day...,

hiking
23 days ago

On my way up Mount Belford I was not convinced I would take the second leg of this hike onto Mt Oxford for my 2nd 14er of the day! From the summit of Mount Belford, though, the beautiful saddle leading to Mt Oxford was too inviting to pass up! Not only that, at age 58 I was fairly certain I would not make it back up Mt Belford anytime soon and wanted to take advantage of being 1 hour more from the Oxford summit.

The views from the saddle were gorgeous-making the steep descent more than worth it. Although the opposite side of the saddle was not as steep, with aching legs from the ascent of Mount Belford-I was weary and could feel the fatigue setting in. It took me a little more than one hour to get to the Summit but it was a great feeling to arrive. After quick picture of the geological plate and a bite to eat, I headed back. Gratefully, the accent up the saddle toward the Belford summit was short but was the most brutal part of my all-day hike-with a narrow path, steep incline, and at places, sketchy footholds. With patience and great care-no problem, though.

As I returned via the Missouri Gulch trail, I was grateful not to descend the way I came up on the Mt Belford front. Altogether, 11.2 miles and nearly 10 hours to accent and return to the trailhead. The Missouri Gulch trail brought many varied views not seen on the way up Guilford. It was a delightful return with mountain foliage, a spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. The winding Clear Creek in the valley was beautiful as was the view of Mount Guilford and Oxford behind! A great day hiking in the Rocky Mountains!

Great hike but very challenging for someone in moderate shape. Not my first 14er, but arguably the hardest one I've done to date. difficult switch backs at the beginning, moderate uphill in the middle, followed by more difficult switchbacks at the top. opted for the longer but more forgiving Missouri Gulch route on the way down. Started at 7 a.m. and summited at 11:30. wanted to continue on to Oxford what was completely gassed at the top of Belford.

Standard Class 2 14er. Though, the elevation gain makes it seem more difficult than average (starting from the Winfield TH). There are some steep parts with a lot of scree that you will need to navigate carefully. Beware of the false summits (yes, there's more than 1). There is plenty of scrambling required once you hit ~13k ft.

hiking
24 days ago

This was a spectacular day to climb my second 14er! The weather was partly cloudy with mild temperatures. Since it was a Saturday, there were a fair number of people gathering at the trail head and lots of cars filling the parking lot and lining the road. For the most part, this hike was all about the ascent-from beginning to end there were many steep grades and innumerable switchbacks all the way up. It was definitely more challenging then Pikes Peak via the Barr Trail. On the decent back to Missouri Gulch Trail Head, It was a longer return for a more varied terrain with beautiful valley views and less steep grades. The ascent took about 3 1/2 hours. Afterword, my legs were seriously spent with aching in my knees from the nearly 4 miles to the trailhead.

Awesome hike! Get there early to beat the rush. very busy on a Saturday as we are descending. This is a great 14’er for beginners because it’s not technical at all, but it gets pretty steep over the second half of the hike from about mile 1.8 and on. Definitely allow yourself 3-4 hours if you’re a slower hiker. Also, the google maps link in AllTrails stops in the middle of the forest and says you’ve “arrived.” You haven’t. Keep driving until the 4WD road dead-ends at the trailhead in a big valley out of the trees. 4WD or AWD are necessary because of the rocks and ruts and make sure the vehicle clearance is high. It’s not that sketchy of a road otherwise though. Great hike!! We made it up in 1 hour and 51 minutes. DO IT!

Very nice trail, with excellent views, especially of the three Apostles.Pretty easy for most of the part, but more challenging on the ridge. Very well maintained trail. Recommended 4wd for reach the top trailhead. We start from the lower trailhead because our rented car has a very worn tires.Nice wilderness area to see walking.

The most difficult I ever done. Started with my wife at 5.50 AM . After a pleasant way in the forest, the trail steep immediately. The real challenge is the last 1.5 mile, with talus scrambling and continues loosing the trail. Same thing going down. The view from the top was excellent. We stay about 30' on the top. The descent took more then the climb, because slippery small rocks. We reached the car at 15.00 PM. Very hard and challenging hike, but it worth. Not recommended for beginners and need some training before to go. Me too recommend to pay attention at the location of the start of the trail, especially in the dark. I think a little more info should be posted at this place.

You have to really work for this one. Seventeenth fourteener of the summer and by far the most difficult one I’ve done. Several sections were very steep and me and my friend got off trail near the beginning which put us back about an hour. Some sections of the trail are not marked that well, especially once you enter the boulder field. On my way down, we lost our trail and ended up going down a lot of loose and sketchy scree for a bit before we found the trail again. Views were spectacular but I will never do this one again.

hiking
1 month 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.

Stunning hike!! This first couple of miles are switchbacks up the side of the mountain. The views are beautiful the whole way. You’ll go through an alpine meadow right before the final climb to the summit. We had to turn back about 3/4 of a mile from the top due to a big storm coming in, but it was still a worthwhile hike! As other reviews have mentioned, 4wd is a must to get to the trailhead.

on Mount Belford

1 month ago

Challenging hike, but so worth it! Three of us from Kansas City were able to make it to the top- it did, however, take us all day. Beautiful views the whole way. We hiked up the Belford standard route and came down through Elk Head Pass. Added about a mile, but saved our knees from the switchbacks.

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
1 month 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
1 month 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.

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