Explore the most popular fishing 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.

I really enjoyed the views of Mt Yale on our way back from the lake. There were some deep snowdrifts that we had to posthole through on the stretch between the lake and the Browns Pass junction but the trail was clear below that.

Did this in mid October, no people and snow once we got to the old cabin. A nice trip for a two night camp

We hiked this trail today (3/17/18) and it was stunning! Thanks to people who have been up blazing the trail to the lake. If not for the packed snow we might have gotten off track. We used crampons that were very helpful for entire hike. Snowshoes not necessary right now. The last .25 mile before the lake we post holed quite a bit, but the views were worth the snowy boots. Gorgeous day, with minimal wind. Love taking people from out of town here for a difficult, but rewarding hike!

great views the whole way up
well worth the effort

Lovely trail today even in November after thanksgiving! Need some spikes but probably not snow shoes yet!

off road driving
6 months ago

First time I did just this route as I was alone, I intend to take some of the detour trails on my next time on this trail. My photos say 2016 instead of 17, but i w3ent the day of the Eclipse.

Serius XM works the entire route, Nice cell coverage over the route.

Some cruising points, a little paved roads, plenty of rough dirt roads, and plenty of boulders to crawl over, and lots of additions trails along the way.

I stopped and checked out a waterfall along the way. on a slight detour.

Overall a very fun and enticing trail, that i plan to tackle a couple more times as I explore the additional trails the splice off.

Plan this as a day trip and possibly overnight if you plan on taking the side trail as well.

You will also Stop at the Continental Divide on Tincup Pass which is the highest point before you cruise on down to Mirror Lake.

I initially took this route as I was planning a fishing trip at Taylor Res, Wich has great deals on boats, and had tons of fun catching lots of fish, that lake is full...... no joke.

7 months ago


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.

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.

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.

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.

9 months ago

We did this hike in conjunction with the Catlin Gulch Loop hike. Beautiful hiking, though quite distinct from the trails across the valley in the Collegiate Peaks. The trail rambles through lots of large, awesome rocks and provides great views of the valley and the Collegiate Peaks. Lots of ups and downs, but none are long. Parts of this trail are poorly marked. Specifically, about 2 miles in you reach the juncture for the trail to River Bench. You go left at this juncture (i.e., NOT going to River Bench) and follow the trail up to a small saddle, then down to cross a small creek. Here the trail becomes indistinct at times as you head up the wash. Follow the wash quite a ways, watching for two cairns on the right (south) side of the wash. These are located about 1.1 miles from the River Bench juncture and I would estimate .7 miles up the wash itself. At the cairns you will see the trail heading out of the wash to your right (southish). It progresses up through several switchbacks and is easy to follow.

I never found this trail. Asked the locals and no one heard of it.

Beautiful hike. Rocky trail. Not steep until you reach timberline. Toughest part begins just after you pass bear lake and climbing the final boulders before reaching the summit. We suggest getting to the trailhead early as the hike round trip is 14 miles not 12, and the summit takes more time to reach then anticipated because of the rock climb at the end. Also, wearing good trail shoes with good traction is important.

I've done this in the winter and summer. Summertime I've done the trail to Hartenstein Lake w/ my son and his friends when they were about 11. Personally I don't think it should be rated difficult unless you take the trail up to Yale. It was a fun first "real camping" trip for the kids.
In the winter if you're going to do it bring your snow shoes even if there is no snow down at the TH. I made this mistake once (LOL!!) and wound up postholing a good 2 miles in waste deep snow with my dog. That was a treat. Fun trail otherwise.
**** update*** I've done this trail numerous times over the years (winter/ summer) but never have I seen it as crowded as I did this past Wednesday- Friday(7/19-7/21)!!!! Trails are all getting crowded. On the plus side no one was camping out at the lake. It POURED out Wednesday night. Got up early and saw a moose on the other side of the lake before the hoardes started hiking up. All my times up there I've never seen one. Great to see with my son.

On July 6, 2017 - we hiked from Denny Creek to Browns Pass, went down to look at the old Brown's Cabin then back and up the switchback to the Yale shoulder and almost down to Kroenke Lake before a storm started to move in so we turned around. Vigorous hike with a few streams to walk through. Only one large patch of snow on the switchback to Kroenke. BEAUTIFUL views!

We hiked this trail on June 11th but only went as far as the cut off to the lake. Beyond that, it was pretty much snowbound. Didn't feel like plowing thru that much snow. And we talked to people who had post holed up to their waist. I'll wait till the trail is melted out before I go all the way. It starts out fairly steep, then it changes to a nice steady, easy pitch from there to the cut off. Nice views all along up and down.

We hiked this trail on June 6, 2017. It was quite beautiful with lots of scenic views and creeks. We had to get creative to cross the creek because it was deep and moving fast. We had to go upstream a bit to find a path across. It was doable but not super easy to do and stay dry. The last mile or so was very snowy but that was my favorite part of the hike - so beautiful! just make sure you have waterproof boots or shoes. The lake had a lot of snow on it and was a bit of a let-down but I hear it's quite beautiful in the summer.

11 months ago

Snow packed past the turn off to the lake, but we still went up, it's a good hike for early summer, warn and sunny.

Great, moderately strenuous hike, with amazing views. Still covered with snow above 11,000 feet, which made it a bit more work getting up inclines, but it's all worth it. Turn for the lake before the sign, as the trail can get a little tricky to find.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

My husband and I snowshoes this trail in February. It was a beautiful hike and wish we should of made it all the way to the end but we were running out of daylight. We got the high point of the trail ~11,000 feet than turned around. The hike was very hard due to the steep incline but the views are worth every minute. We are going back to hike it when there is no snow.

Did whitewater rafting in this river with Performance Tours a few years back. It's a fun experience! This river is great for the novice in rafting. We also saw some wild life. The canyon was beautiful!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Wonderful trail with wonderful views..leave early enough to make it to the top before the afternoon thunderstorms and hail between 12pm and 12:30pm is reasonable to summit. Took me 6 hours to get to the top and 3 1/2 hours to get down. Most breathtaking views ive seen so far hiking in colorado. The last push up to the top is the most challenging. If you want to hike mount columbia as well..i suggest camping off the trail and doing them on seperate days. Everyone i spoke to on the trail about traversing over stated its very challenging and loose rock to traverse with not much of a path. Enjoy!

Monday, August 22, 2016

A friend and I started at the Denny Creek trail head and backpacked to Lake Kroenke over Brown's Pass. It was a hard hike, especially with us carrying multi-day packs, but had beautiful views. The Brown's Pass trail starts off with an incline and as other reviews say, is a hard uphill hike for the first 2 miles. The trail itself is pretty rocky, which caused some footing problems with heavy packs (mine was 55, his was 75 with lots of camera gear). Lake Harenstein is definitely doable as a day hike, and we saw lots of day hikers with dogs and minimal packs. There are some lovely little camping spots with fire rings and ample sources of water that make it a nice backpacking option for those looking to spend a bit more time out. Taking the trail past Lake Harenstein to Lake Kroenke was rough, especially a series of four switchbacks that had intense elevation climb. But the way out was a breeze. Hiking in to Lake Kroenke (about 7 miles) took us 6.5 hours in, out was 4.5 hours, including several breaks for snacks/water/lunch/pictures.

Great hike, maybe better day two then day one. Start right away uphill. Beautiful vistas

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Steep uphill at the beginning of the hike and for several intermittent portions. We started at 5pm in July and it was peaceful. No crowds, sounds of the streams/waterfall follow you as you hike. There are gorgeous vantage points near the end.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Really nice hike. Pretty steep uphill until 2 miles in. Crosses some streams.

Friday, May 06, 2016

Enjoyable early July hike, lots of windflowers along the way and an impressive finish at the lake.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Hiked up to the lake this October and was blown away. Maybe someday I will get used to Colorado and her majestic beauty, but for now I am like a kid at Christmas. The Lake was beautiful, but the hike up, especially once past the Yale turnoff is really fun. Lots of rocks areas and cool break/chill spots. We never made it to Browns pass as we preferred to simply bliss out on the perfect cloudless skies, and the crisp cool autumn air.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Beautiful day at Brown's Canyon. The trails are rugged and unkept making for a wonderful back country feel while being just minutes from the town of Buena Vista.

Monday, August 03, 2015

We hiked to the lake mid-July 2015 and enjoyed beautiful wildflowers most of the way up. We saw a bull moose when we arrived at the lake! A great hike that is steep about the first third of the hike. Because of weather rolling in we did not make it up to Browns Pass, but still loved the hike.

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