Buffalo Peaks Loop is a 11.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Fairplay, Colorado that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is best used from July until September.
Hiked and camped this in 2004. Was able grab the west peak as well. Highly recommend.
We did this as a day trip. It took us five hours to hike the loop counter clockwise. Counter clockwise allows for a more gradual elevation gain. There were great fall colors particularly between miles 7 and 10 (if done counter clockwise), where you can look up the valley at the Mosquito range and there are a lot of aspens. When done as a day trip, 11.6 miles can be a bit long, although the trail is quite flat for long sections, particularly on the backside of the loop. Overall this is a great hike with minimal crowds and great views particularly in the fall. Would make a great trail run!
Road to trail is rocky but made it fine in a car, took it slow. People were camping along different spots of the trail. I went counterclockwise and it took me less than 4:30 hours to hike the entire loop with my breaks included. Perfect half day hike after a 2 hour drive with minimal crowds. The trail is next to creeks most of the way with lots of great views. The sun or storms will get you when in the top meadow, in between the two creeks.
You definitely want to do this loop counter clockwise! 12miles in 2 days can be long if you carry gear. We pitched our tent at 5.8 miles but you have better spots coming up if you keep going for another half mile to a mile.
We did an out-and-back day hike from the Lynch Creek trailhead at the end of Buffalo Peaks Road (431) clockwise around the loop to Buffalo Meadows. It was a moderate / easy hike that started in the woods and opened up into a meadow with beautiful, expansive views. Love the wildflowers! Few tips: Start early and be aware of thunderstorms -- one rolled in fast a little after noon and we had to rush to clear the meadow in time. There's not a clear place to do the stream crossing, but the trail runs on both sides of the banks for a while so just find a comfortable place - I attached a picture of where we crossed. There's also a good amount of dispersed camping in the area, if you're interested.
This is an absolutely gorgeous hike. Starts off narrow from the trailhead (going counter-clockwise on the loop) then opens up to a relatively flat, mile wide meadow for roughly half of the trail (backside/divide-side of the loop). Great overnight camping loop for kids and first timers. Relatively quiet during the week as we only passed 2 people on day one. Second day we saw a couple more and a group of horses out for a ride on the trail. Trails are generally marked by posts but some have fallen over so look for those too. The trail itself is well worn-in about 80% of the time so it's easy to follow. This was my daughter's and my first backpacking trip. It was as close to perfect as it could've been. - St. Louis, MO