Bison Peak Summit Trail

HARD 66 reviews
#19 of 171 trails in

Bison Peak Summit Trail is a 12 mile out and back trail located near Lake George, Colorado that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from June until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

DISTANCE
12.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,982 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

views

hiking
14 days ago

I did this hike almost a year ago and went back yesterday with my boyfriend and our dogs. We camped about 3.2 miles up the trail, then did the rest and the decent on 7/31. There are a couple great camp sites at around 10500 ft, 0.8 miles from the fork onto the McCurdy Trail. Saw 3 people up there. Definitely less daunting of a distance and elevation gain when done in 2 days. I'm still shocked more people don't know about this place! Weather was perfect: got down to around 45 at night and 60 on the peak. It probably got to around 80 if you stayed in the sun on the way down when it starts to flatten out again, but otherwise wasn't hot.

hiking
14 days ago

Much more difficult than anticipated, but amazing summit. Those rock formations and views are top notch. 10/10 will be back. Limited parking but when I arrived at 7:30 am, there were still spots.

1 month ago

Amazing views and cool rock formations at the top. It is an intense climb up with steady and sometimes steep parts, but worth it when you get to the top. We did it in 5.5 hours. Didn’t see too many people on the trail

hiking
1 month ago

I did this hike last year and again last week. It is definitely a tough one! It is incline pretty much the whole way with switch backs as soon as you get closer to the top. We were able to go a steady pace and not take as many breaks.Make sure you veer right when you hit a fork in the trail. I recommend packing a lot of water/food and start early, it gets pretty hot. The drive to the trailhead was nicely paved. It was nice not running into a person every 10 minutes, The trail isn't too busy.

1 month ago

Great Trail!!! definately not a walk in a park!! make sure to bring hiking poles.. you will need them

hiking
2 months ago

Amazing trail. Loved the change in terrain from Ute Creek and wispy grasses to the aspen trees and meadows and eventually tundra at the alpine summit. While we could see Bison Peak easily at the end, the trail to the summit was not marked. Cairns marked the intersection with McCurdy but it appeared to indicate its path rather than Bison. Used Gaia app to ascend. Highly recommended. Would do again. Wonderful panoramic views of many notable peaks.

backpacking
2 months ago

The trail was very well marked. This was a pretty hard hike. Initially, I started off at 0645. I was at the summit approx. 1130. There were two false summits. Keep to the left of them and it’s not all that bad. I do believe the trail is to the right, however it’s not difficult to find your own way. The mountain top was incredibly beautiful. The entire trail was dry, no snow at the top.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked it on May 28, 2018.

What made it tough was I got here from Kansas yesterday evening and hiked it this morning. Not enough time to even quasi-adapt to altitude. All the same---a very good and do-able hike.

VERY IMPORTANT: Follow the AllTrails map closely. There are two places---especially one of the top where things flatten out---where the cairns are misleading and they took me astray adding some distance.

ALSO: There are at least two False Summits. So keep on going.

2 months ago

hiked this on 5/25. excellent conditions, pretty hard incline to the top. the top was amazing one of the coolest places I've been. definitely recommend this. took my friend and I 8 hours she is from sea level so we breaker a lot on the way up.

hiking
2 months ago

Hiked on 5/16/18- No snow anywhere on the trail. This hike was incredible, and difficult. This was a butt kicker but so worth it at the top. The first 2 miles are definitely deceiving in that they are easy. After that it is up hill all the way with only one tiny break section when you come to the trail intersection (McCurdy Trail). Be prepared to be tired. I didn't make it all the way to the peak as the trail sort of ends in an alpine meadow after what feels like the summit. I didn't really feel like getting lost, and I was exhausted by that point so I wandered around the rock formations up there for a bit and headed back down. Views were still amazing and it definitely felt like I still accomplished a lot. Prepare for a full day with this hike I arrived at 8:30 and didn't get back to the trailhead until 3.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike! Loved it. 12 miles RT. No snow, nice and dry. Beautiful weather for it today. It took our group of 4 about 7 hours, including two breaks and spending a good amount of time climbing on the rocks near the top. We went on 5-25-18,cool geocache box at the summit too so bring something small to leave if you wish!

hiking
2 months ago

My cousin and I tackled this bad boy last Monday (5/21) around 8 am. It took us about 6 hours to complete this out-and-back hike, which let me tell you, is no walk in the park.

There wasn't a single car in the parking lot when we started and there were only three additional cars in the small lot when we returned. We only saw one fellow hiker and his pups on the trail, as well, which added to the tranquility of our journey.

The first 1.5 to 2 miles of this trail are relatively easy (and misleading), but it is a very gradual climb for the next 3 miles until you reach the ridge line at about 12,000 ft. Around 10,000 ft. we started to see some snow on the trail, and that continued to get deeper all the way up to Bison Peak's summit.

The trail became quite difficult to follow at the ridge line, as there were no visible footprints or trails to the summit, and we ended up misreading the All Trails map and summiting a neighboring peak instead. We eventually figured out that we were well off our course and found our way back to the trail.

We made our own way to the summit by postholing and scrambling over some boulders to reach the top. The views from the peak were absolutely magnificent! I will most definitely be returning to conquer this peak in the summer when the trail is dry and a bit easier to follow.

This is NOT a hike for the faint of heart, as the almost 4,000 ft. of elevation gain is a real butt-kicker! We ran half way down on our descent though, and that almost halved our return in the process. The weather was beautiful the entire time with the exception of a few raindrops on the way down.

A must for anyone who's in shape and looking for a challenge!

3 months ago

The trail is a steady incline to the top. The views at the top are worth every step with great views of many 14ers! Our pup did it with us and loved every minute!

hiking
4 months ago

This hike reminds me of bald hikes in NC/TN/VA. You're not climbing the highest mountain, but certainly are getting the best views.

7 months ago

Just amazing. Must do!

backpacking
7 months ago

I went here in May of 2017. The top is like another world, so many beautiful views. It wasn’t quite as hard as my ascent up Guadalupe peak but this will definitely get your heart rate going. We stayed overnight at the top, using the rocks as extra shelter . Had the whole place to ourselves! Make sure you refill on water near the beginning of the trail at the last stream crossing. This is a perfect overnight trip. Wake up at sunrise and climb the last bit to the top of Bison peak and you will get astounding views.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail. Traverse a meadow then head slowly up through stands of Aspens. The trail is steep and steady for the majority; easy consistent hiking. The summit opens up to broad fields and rock formations. I would like to have spent two days in order to camp and explore the top. Will return in summer.

hiking
9 months ago

Definitely a strenuous hike to the top, but the weather was great and the trail was dry and in great condition. The views and rock formations at the top are not to be missed.

10 months ago

Great hike! Steady incline all the way to the top, and great rock formations at the top

hiking
10 months ago

I loved this hike and it definitely was a tad challenging for me as I am 46 and not in the greatest shape. However I had my best Friend and motivator with me, my sweet energetic GSD. No greater hiking partner! My lungs and heart got an exercise going up and my knees and ankles got a bit challenged on the way down. I was fascinated seeing cow patties close to the top and I am now wondering how fun it would be to go on the same hike in the summer.

hiking
10 months ago

It ended up being over 13 miles after hiking around the formations for a while. Trail is definitely class 1 but the last 3.5 miles are strenuous. The formations are amazing! Took a bit to realize which one was the summit though. It was extremely windy once I reached the formations, and I got fairly cold, so bring an extra layer or two. I was glad I had a buff, three layers on, and my gloves, and I was still cold. Encountered some very light snow on the way up.
My 15lb dachshund made the whole trek so if he can you can!

hiking
11 months ago

Great hike! Most of the elevation gain is the last mile/mile and a half so watch out. Take the B. McCurdy split to the right to get to the Bison Peak rock formations.

hiking
Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Went up Bison Peak yesterday. The other reviews describe the climb very well... the first 2 miles start out fairly moderate and the grade gets steeper especially coming up the last part of the ridge before intersecting with B. McCurdy to head NE up to the summit plateau.
The rock formations leading up to the top were amazing. However our view was totally socked in. We were in some pretty thick cloud cover leading up to the summit and actually went to a false summit a few hundred meters to the east first until checking and realizing our error. Also take good note of the cairns marking the turn off to the summit. The B McCurdy - wilderness loop trail disappears in the tundra at this junction. I definitely would like to go up again on a clear day to take in the views. Great workout and fairly easily done in about 1/2-3/4 of a day if you are in shape. Make sure to leave early to give yourself enough time to enjoy the rock formations and explore the upper plateau. Also looked like some good camping spots up at the main trail intersection of Ute Creek and B. McCurdy.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

This trail was grueling, I carried a full pack (six-pack of beer included) for an overnight. The plateau you come too before the summit is spectacular and worth an overnight camping trip. Star gazing at 12,000 feet will change your life.

Nothing overly difficult as per finding the trail or parking. I will be back to take on this climb again -

A small water source you walk next to for a while is the only one on the trail as of 7/4/17. When you cross it - fill up if you need, it's still a good 3-4 miles to the summit.


Cheers -

hiking
Monday, June 19, 2017

Difficult hike with a relentless incline. It gets harder as you go. Bring plenty of water.

hiking
Wednesday, June 14, 2017

This trail is an a$$ kicker, but the summit is exquisite with the super cool rock formations and views. Did it for the third time last weekend, and it never gets easier, but it's well worth it. Shaving off a few minor excursions I recorded 12.5 mi/4,035' total gain on my Garmin GPS.

We went up the right side of the summit (so started off right or east of the Monolith rock) and came around the back (which probably added 0.2 mi). We then went back down the middle, where there was a minor snowfield, but overall it was pretty much snow-free this time of year.

It gets very windy on the plateau and then the summit, so a warm ascent can feel cool once above treeline, but it was very welcome on what was a hot day down in Denver. The lesson (as always in CO hiking) is: bring layers.

Finally, we got to the TH around 8:15a and the lot was pretty full, although a second row of cars parked behind the first by the time we returned. Definitely more people have learned about this special place in the past few years, including a troop of Boy Scouts we played leap-frog with up and down the trail. Enjoy!

hiking
Sunday, June 11, 2017

Excellent trail finishing in stunning views. Seriously, you could explore the summit all day. It was a shame to have to turn around and come back down again.

backpacking
Sunday, June 04, 2017

6/3-6/4/17

https://youtu.be/Hfy_FQH-lJE

Not a lot of info around on current conditions, so here you go.

Despite what the SP Ranger District will tell you over the phone (snow beginning at 10k feet), the trail is snow free all the way till within a few hundred feet of the actual summit. Even there you are easily able to find your way around what small amount of snow hasn't melted off. Odds are it's going to be gone this week.

Water is available via the creek up until half a mile past the wilderness boundary. Once the trail crosses the creek, that's it. Haul your own or hike to another source. Per above, there's a small bit of snow left on top of the peak that you could melt but not for long.

Trail is perfect. Little bit of deadfall to dodge in a couple spots, but otherwise dry and in good condition. Lots of day hikers until 4:00 or so, after which I shared the mountain with two other campers until the next day.

Others have described the actual hike very well. Relentless ascent from the trailhead to the summit. Awesome views from the peak, which you will have definitely earned. I spent the night up on top at 12000 feet and saw more stars than I think I have in my entire life. I watched a small herd of elk run through the forest on the way back down, but otherwise no wildlife besides a couple chipmunks running around on the plateau.

hiking
Sunday, May 28, 2017

Nice hike. Not crowded. We made it within a mile and a half of the top. The elevation change is no joke.

hiking
Friday, March 31, 2017

Hiked 4 miles up, 8 miles total. Then, lost the trail in the snow. It's a beautiful hike, one of my favorite. That's a deceptively steep incline! I can't wait to do it in the spring, see the Aspen budding, and make it to the top.

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