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

Clear trail all the way in. Be ready for a moderate climb on the back half lasting about 45min. Views and camping we’re worth it though! Cheers :)

On 5/12/18 backpacked up to the lake. The snow made it pretty miserable for the last 1.5 miles. We were falling in waist deep. There was hardly any areas without snow to camp out at, but found a spot surrounded by trees to help block out some wind. We were the only souls out there that I know of. No one or animal in sight. The next morning walked to the lake to enjoy the gorgeous view. The hike back was not as bad because we already made the footprints to step in and the snow hardened so at times it was ok to walk on top of.

Didn’t make it all the way to the lake because of snow making the trail hard to follow. Beautiful

beautiful hike, about 3 miles up ran into deep snow drifts and turned around. Need to go back in a couple months.

camping
29 days ago

awesome overnighter hike to take it easy. theres sites close to the lake. beautiful crystal clear streams feeding the lake and draining. I made it a 2 nighter and went up to bear lake the next day. camped in the horn fork basin area..breathtaking views of the collegiate peaks when you get up to bear lake. from bear you can summit mt. Harvard. one of my fave hikes in the collegiate peaks. plenty of water sources.

nice quick hike. last half mile is still snow covered and icey as of 4/14. you'll need a vehicle with high ground clearance to drive to trail head.

great hike but all on atv trail heavily used by them on week ends

rock climbing
2 months ago

Usually hike, rock climb and or drive on the trails weekly. Lots of space for different activities. During the summer it can get very busy. During the winter it doesn’t get much snow so it’s good for rock climbing there almost year around.

great views the whole way up
well worth the effort

hiking
4 months ago

Great views of the Collegiate Peaks and Browns Canyon. During spring to fall high season there are a lot of ATV's that use this trail. Suggest hiking in winter or not during weekends to stay away from the traffic.

hiking
5 months ago

off road driving
6 months ago

this trail was a blast! came up for the Set them Free fundraiser 2017 and had a blast! I just put gears and lockers in my TJ and definitely put them to use! my jeep is on 4" with 35s though we did have a guy on 3" with 33s and open diffs and still did good!
one of the best I've done and definitely coming back!
but this time with rock sliders so I can add some of the harder obstacles to my list like the rock pile.

hiking
6 months ago

Great hike to get the blood flowing. I got a late start Friday the 27th. I was hoping to make it to the lake but with the heavy pack and not being acclimated to this Colorado elevation, it took its toll. Luckily there are multiple camping spots along the way. The last mile and a half seemed to have fewer camping spots though so just a heads up. Plenty of places to get water and the elevation gain is steady. I made it to the lake the next morning. It is already starting to freeze over. Was hoping to fish but it was too windy to cast and it was at least 15 degrees colder than 1 trail mile down. Great looking spot though! My dog lived the hike too!

hiking
7 months ago

The trail was super rocky as one reviewer pointed out. As a Floridian living at sea level even the small altitude incline was difficult for me. Definitely put my fitness in perspective but the views and the creek were worth it. Took us about 3 hours up and one down. We also had to walk to the trailhead because we weren't sure the car could make it up the uneven road adding additional distance. Trail is marked 3 Elk Trail - go that way and to see the lakes turn left at the sign for the Colorado trail which was at the top of the trail.

backpacking
7 months ago

10/15/17

Challenging hike to the summit, but manageable at this time of year. Shouldn’t be much trouble during the summer. We hiked with our overnight packs to the end of the timberline and set up camp. Then, we finished the hike with a light pack to the top and returned to our camp before sundown. Amazing views. Lots of wildlife. We will definitely be back.

hiking
7 months ago

Aside from the couple coming down as we got to the trail head, we didn’t see anyone all day. This hike is great for anyone, though make sure to take some breaks on the way up- it’s a relatively steep trail. Took us a little less than two hours to get to the lakes, but only about 45 minutes to get back to the car. We had to park the extra .8 mile- the roads up to the trail head absolutely requires a vehicle with maximum clearance. All in all an enjoyable afternoon hike.

camping
7 months ago

Horn Fork Basin is my favorite place in the state to be.
So much can be done in a 2-3 day stretch.
Harvard is a must as well as Bear Lake nearby.
love love love.

hiking
7 months ago

Decent work to get there and the pay off once there well worth it. Fur kids enjoyed it too!

challenging and remote. I didn't care for most of the trail as it's like walking in a dry creek bed. Rocky and steep. Didn't complete it so I didn't see any lakes.

Beautiful trail. We had planned on camping at Bear Lake but that high above tree line left a great deal of exposure and no wood for fire, or winbreaks. We camped slightly south of the lake, plenty of good spots.

hiking
8 months ago

This was such a lovely hike. Mostly shaded trail, and lots of water crossings. Steady incline so it was work but you couldn't really tell. Lake at the top was pretty with lots of camping. Way back down isn't too bad on your knees because of the gradual hike. Would do this again for sure!

hiking
8 months ago

The trail started off pretty challenging, really steep. However, the views once you got past that were amazing! We went in the fall and it was beautiful
with the Aspens. The trail was really enjoyable, not too difficult the rest of the way. Once you get to the lakes, plan so spend some time so that you can enjoy the scenery for a bit. I always like trails with a pay off, this was one of those hikes. There are some camp sites off the same road as the trailhead. We really enjoyed some easy camping after our hike.

Very nice hike with aspens turning gold today. Almost park like at the lakes. Hike was on the easy side of moderate and I am 61 years old and chubby but I do live at 9300 feet. You don't need an extreme vehicle for the road but wouldn't take a passenger car. My Toyota Tundra did fine. Definitely worth the time.

hiking
8 months ago

Hiked this this past weekend. The road to the trail head is gnarly for sure. Need a high clearance vehicle. Trail is marked as "3 elk Trail" take that. First 1/4 mile is easy. Then it's just straight up the mountain with no switchbacks and lots of loose rock. It was a hard climb for sure. Follows a waterfall most of the way so my pup had plenty of water. When you get to the Colorado Trail go south (left) and 2 lakes are a few hundred yards away. Both are very pretty as the trees are starting to change. Hard. But worth it.

hiking
8 months ago

Nice, well manicured trail. First 1/4 mile or so is uphill switchbacks and then a pretty casual but beautiful hike to the lakes. Passed a couple that saw a little black bear on the trail that scampered off. Wish I could have seen him! Plenty of water from a creek along the trail if you have dogs. Lakes are beautiful and aspens are beginning to change.

backpacking
8 months ago

Beautiful hike.
Most of the trail is tree covered.
Many water crossing, bridged and natural. I think I counted around 7.
Camping spots near the lake, however I believe some are too close.
Firewood is scarce.
If you have any questions I'm on Facebook messenger.

hiking
8 months ago

A great trail with a very pretty lake at the end. The trail is in good shape and a long but steady climb. Not real difficult but not easy either. Good day hike.

Hiked 9/1/17
Beautiful trail, plenty of elevation gain and a couple creek/stream crossings. Make sure to turn left at the intersection and the lake is deceivingly high up there but very worth it. Plenty of amazing camping opportunities the whole way up but id stay at or below the treeline.

hiking
8 months ago

Beautifully maintained trail, spectacular scenery, perfect level of physical challenge for me. But the last 20 feet of elevation to the summit requires true climbing, so be ready.

hiking
8 months ago

Great hike. The lakes are beautiful. Worth the trek. There are 4-5 nice camping spots at the lakes. That's what I'll be doing next time. The marked trail on the app is slightly different than the actual trail. But there's really only one fork on the road. It comes early. Take the left. Labeled Elk Trail. Also there's a bit of 4x4 needed to access the starting point.

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