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


Bayfield, Colorado Map
27 days ago

To wouldn’t rate this as hard per se. The switchbacks are consistent but nothing super hard. It tools us 1.5 hours up with breaks and about 1 hour down. It was a good trail because of the views of the distance mountains and the fall colors. When you get to the lake, there are a few logs to rest and have a snack. Our dog ran into the lake for some water and cams out muddy. There is a stream at the start of the trail. There is not much shade hiking up, so where sunscreen.

We hiked a little more than 4 miles in and found a nice lunch spot on the river. You will hike for a good 2 mile before the trail is beside the creek. We saw a couple deer and only passed three other hikers. Great day to be among the changing Aspen leaves.

1 month ago

GORGEous trail. As long or short as you like (out & back). You run into fewer people the farther out you get. After you go up and up for a little while on some moderate switchbacks, you will descend down further into the gorge and will find access points to the river. Wonderful little lazy shady spots to enjoy from there up to the first bridge. Large boulders strewn throughout the river on which you can relax a while.

1 month ago

Loved this hike along the river. The water was so clear. We had the trail to ourselves and found a nice spot close to the first bridge where we stopped for lunch and dipped our toes in the water. There are good sized rocks and small boulders on most of the trail, so I would suggest good ankle supported boots. We turned around at the first bridge (3+ miles), which made a great day hike. Stopped at the Rusty Shovel on the way out for a brew. :-)

What a beautiful easy hike the first 6 miles... then we turned around... and just as beautiful going back.

We hiked in about 6 miles, past twin bridges. Round trip, according to Map My Hike app, was 12.8 miles. Great views, with constant sound of water flow. There were lots of horse dung. we saw a couple with 5 horses walking back out. it was day after the Labor day so we didn't see any body else.

Great hike with beautiful views the whole way. We made it to the first bridge which is a little over 3 miles and it made for a good day hike.

The trailhead is in the parking lot just outside the campgrounds. The trail skirts around the campground and starts again. The trail is well marked and traveled with a easy hike up a slight elevation gain. In places it will follow right along the river allowing you access to the water. We only went to Twin Bridges which was approximately 8 miles round trip. Beautiful scenery and an easy hike for all levels.

Only made it to the first major bridge that is about 3 miles in but it was an absolutely beautiful hike. Got caught in a hail storm for a couple of minutes but that didn’t ruin it for the family.

The first bridge is a good place to stop if you just want to do a short day hike. Hoping to do overnight camping in the trails later.

Love it!

Strenuous, but beautiful (and prime fishing).

Absolutely beautiful hike. The views of the canyon are sweeping and breathtaking. We didn’t make it to the bridge but saw some really great views after only hiking 2.5-3 miles in. There are parts of the creek that get pretty deep (5-6 feet) and you can swim easily. The elevation gain felt very minor.

The trailhead is located at the very end of the campgrounds but if you’re not using a campground for overnight camping you need to park at the beginning of the campground area and walk through the road leading to the campsites all the way to the end. You could also walk on the horse/hiking trail from the visitor parking area which eventually connects to the trailhead at the end of the campgrounds.

This was my favorite hike due to the leisurely pace, sweeping views, and how uncrowded it was (and we did ice lakes and highland mary lakes also).

gorgeous! my favorite hike

Very beautiful trail. seems to be some discrepancies in the mileage but worth it. Making it to the lake in one day is doable, but hard if you are not used to the elevation. Will definitely be back in the future

Spectacular canyon views above the river for the first 3 miles. Up and down terrain in both directions makes for a more balanced hike out and return.

2 months ago

Nice, relatively quick hike with great views across the valley and over part of Vallecito reservoir.

Friends of mine and myself have ridden this trail a few times lots of areas to ride on not difficult at all be careful of shooters in the area they use that area as a place to shoot their guns and practice does not mix well with horses but all in all very nice place to ride.

Rode this trail on horseback with a friend.. awesome trail beautiful scenery.. even though we were on horseback it still was a very difficult trail but absolutely worth it.

This was the perfect trail for my first solo backpacking outing. The lake is so peaceful, a perfect location to spend some quiet time in the wilderness. The lake was surprisingly warm!

Very nice hike, I made it to the 3rd bridge. Few trees down blocking path.

I recommend this for early or late season or very early morning. it was HOT with little cover available. Nice climb. I would classify as moderate.

Nice trail. Good views of the La Plata mountains.

If I were going to do this one again I’d walk it clockwise. Couple of pretty good climbs going the other way on this “easy” trail!! Beautiful walk. Great views up on top. As other have mentioned this would be an incredibly hard trail to follow without some kind of nav. The All Trails app made it fairly straight forward though we made one wrong turn. Beautiful walk. Well worth it.

Just completed the hike (May 2018). As another person posted, the trail is relatively easy for the first 6 Miles. After that point, there’s about 15 downed trees on your way to the lake along with a steep incline. My pedometer marked the hike at 11 Miles one way, not 9, so making it to the lake in one day is rather strenuous. The lakes are gorgeous and well worth the hike!

Great views north up Vallecito Creek and south down the lake. Lots of beautiful aspen — more cover than trail description lets on. I’d call it moderate in difficulty. Good trail quality. Not at all crowded on weekdays!

5 months ago

Beautiful. Not that hard pretty easy. Good for the whole family. I saw an older woman with a can walking it. I should say there is a part that has a small walking path next to a cliff not that bad though, there’s enough room that it’s not really bad plus it’s short. (:

I completed the hike in July 2017. The first 6 miles a more or less flat with amazing valley views. Once you cross the bridge and head north to the lake, it gets quite steep but you still have access to plenty of water and shade. The real work begins about a mile/mile and a half before the campsite below Little Emerald where you are treated to fallen tree after fallen tree across the trail. On our way up some awesome ladies were working to mitigate that problem but it I imagine it will be a nonstop job with all of the beetle-killed pine along the way.

The campsite south of Little Emerald can accommodate a relatively large group of people without getting too cozy but it will be crowded on a holiday weekend. The walk around Emerald is excellent and the view down the valley is breathtaking.

7 months ago


My first time hiking this trail was late October 2017 with some friends my first time in Durango. It is one of my favorites in SW Colorado so far. TRAIL IS VERY ROCKY SO BE CAREFUL WHERE YOU STEP TO AVOID HURTING YOUR ANKLE OR FALLING.

The hike doesn't start off the best. From the parking lot you have to wander though the camp/picnic grounds to the actual trailhead, this path isn't well marked but just head east from the lot. One you get to the trailhead there is a decent amount of elevation gain up to a point where you will have a clear view of the creek. At first you will be walking high above the creek but after a few miles you will eventually be walking along the creek. Honestly isn't the most scenic hike but is quiet and you have the Vallecito Creek the whole way. I made it about 5 miles deep before turning around.

Lots of little waterfalls along the creek so Spring/Summer this would be an amazing hike to come and relax by the water.

As of now SNOWSHOES COULD HELP BUT ARE NOT NECESSARY!! Most of the snow was at the beginning in the camp/picnic grounds. One you get to the trail you are fine.

10 months ago

Difficult hike for us middle-aged hikers, but we pushed through and it was worth it! beautiful lake and amazing echos! We need a day to recover, though. Even our dog was tired!

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