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.

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Bayfield, Colorado Map
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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!

hiking
18 days 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.

hiking
2 months ago

HIKED ON SUNDAY MARCH 4, 2018

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.

hiking
5 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!

This is an amazing hike with views of Vallecito Creek running wild through the gorge. Tremendous whitewater and plenty of opportunities to sit and chill by the Creek. Has some ups and downs and the first bridge makes a good half day hike at about 3.7 miles each way.

hiking
5 months ago

Beautiful trail. Trail gets craggy in places so bringing along trekking poles may be a good idea.

Great trail, especially if you’re trying to squeeze a trip in late October into early November. Also, a good trip for novices or 55+’s who are fairly new to backpacking. Lower elevation, not much elevation change . . . at least for most of the trail coming in from Vallecito Reservoir. Ours was a three day trip, in and out with a day in between. Wanted to try to go to Emerald Lake for a day trip on the second day, but weather prevented us from going. Anyway, great places to camp leading up to the Emerald Lake trail or at the the junction.

loved it! was beautiful all the way around.

Love this trail! Good climb right off the bat with great canyon scenery. Then you wind next to and over the creek. Good camping options beyond 4 miles in... can't wait to explore further!

hiking
8 months ago

Nice trailhead with map. Pretty area but trails not marked at all! Great vista!!

hiking
8 months ago

If we didn't have All Trails we would have gotten lost. Not well marked! Other than that, beautiful trail with incredible vistas!

backpacking
8 months ago

Wow! I hiked this trail solo as my psuedo vision quest 8/27-8/31. the first day started at vallecito trailhead and ended at johnson creek junction. It was appx 9 miles and wasn't too difficult. Day 2 was from johnson creek / vallecito creek junction up the johnson creek trail to Columbine lake. This was when the lungs and legs were on fire. A ton of switchbacks and it was VERY warm that day. VERY IMPORTANT, at the second major creek crossing of johnson creek, load up with water because there is VERY little until you reach the lake. Day 3 was day hiking from Columbine lake as a base. Went up to columbine pass and then a few hours north to Jupiter Mtn. Great views of Vallecito basin and Chicago Basin the entire time. Days 4-5 were spend backtracking to route. While I saw lots of signs of bears, I never saw any actual bears. Plenty of elk and mule deer. overall great trip with tons of breathtaking sights along the way!

hiking
8 months ago

This is a good test trail for endurance and strength. Start early because once that sun comes out it gets really hot really quickly. The view is incredible and the trail itself hides a few surprises left over from the fire that ran through here years ago. Despite that,life has returned so stay alert especially when you reach Lake Eileen, which is more than a large pond than anything else.

one if our favorite hikes in this area. wild flowers on June are beautiful. we have seen kayakers run the river/stream along here when the water us high.

Great trail! Rating as 'moderate' is accurate. First bridge is only about 1 mile in, second is about 3.25 miles in. We didnt make is to the bridge supposedly about 7 miles in...great trails tho! Adventure on!

Loved this trail! Did it with kids strapped to us so it made it a pretty good workout. Such pretty views without having to hike too far in which was nice. Bridge, waterfalls, cliffs.

hiking
9 months ago

This is moderate to hard trail, with very rocky parts.

Curious how far the bridges are from the trail head?

I would call this trail easy and not moderate, but despite that, it is an absolutely stunning trail. I went on an overcast and rainy day and felt I was in the Pacific northwest. Not many places in Colorado look like this, with ferns, Spanish moss, and towering cliff sides lining the trail, it's a real gem.

hiking
10 months ago

Hi Folks!
Lots of fine hikers out there in the Weminuche. I plan to do a 50 mile hike beginning next Monday. My friend and I will begin using the Vallecito Creek Trail, which, by the way, is not just an 11.8 mile trail. The trail runs 18.1 miles from, south to north, Vallecito Campground Trailhead to Nebo Junction. At the Junction, you can continue approx. another 1.5 miles north on the CDT to Hunchback Pass or head east on the CDT to Nebo Pass. Either way, vistas abound! Safe travels.

Awesome day hike

7.5 months pregnant and I did not find it difficult at all. It was super pretty.

hiking
10 months ago

great hike, perfect to bring the dogs along, just make sure to have enough water for everyone!

hiking
11 months ago

Worth the scenic views

hiking
11 months ago

I'd probably suggest to do this during the early evening or morning when it's not so hot. Enjoyable hike, make sure to bring plenty of water and take time to sit and enjoy the lake.

hiking
11 months ago

Nice hike. Only hiked half way. Recommend it. Lots of hikers on this trail. Beautiful views

hiking
11 months ago

My boys (7 & 5) liked it! Nice views of Vallecito along the way, and a great little lake at the top. Take a hammock or two to enjoy the Lake Eileen view. And don't be fooled -- it's basically uphill all the way to the lake, but there is shade here and there. If you need a shorter walk, you can hike to the creek crossing maybe 25 minutes up the trail.

hiking
11 months ago

Great hike. Cool little pond/lake at the top

JA Luc did you run into any snow on your hike?

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