Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

snowshoeing
5 days ago

Starting Dec 1 the lower gate on CR386 near US24 is closed. I hiked and snowshoed from there 3.3 miles to the end of the 4wd road at the wilderness boundary. Starting at 8500 feet you can walk the first mile with just boots. After that there is now a trench to the end of the road at 10,400 feet, with snowshoes highly recommended.

Snowshoed within a .25 mile of Hartenstein Lake today. The Denny Creek Trailhead is OPEN. There is a good trench all the way. There is good boot pack until the Mt Yale trail, After that snowshoes are needed to avoid postholing. The snow above 11000 feet is deep.

Great hike with good views. I am very confident we were on the described trail and we measured about 6.5 miles. It wasn’t a hard hike.

hiking
1 month ago

We did this hike today (Oct 26) starting at 2pm and it was beautiful. There is some snow and ice starting around 10k ft but most of the trail is wooded and wide with great cover and pretty trees. The lakes are really pretty and we met several people who saw moose. Since we started in the afternoon we avoided most of the direct sunlight and the trail wasn’t crowded. I would definitely do this hike again.

Loved the trail, amazing views and very little foot traffic (hiked on a Monday am) my GPS said it was 6.7 miles round trip...took over two hours as well...enjoy!!

hiking
1 month ago

Very nice views along the way.

Did this on 10/14 after a big snow storm. Was a chilly and epic adventure. Post-holing up to the hips for the last mile. Good fun.

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike by accident and WOW im glad i did! Moderate for a coloridian, difficult for a midwesterner like me. Absolutely stunning the way up, both the path and the view of the collegiate mountains. When you reach the top, theres a wooden pole and small plastic box to write your name in. Just a treasure of a trail.

The views made it all worth it! A steady climb from the beginning to a rocky last 45 minutes of the hike.

A nice start in the woods. Trail was clearly marked. Beautiful vistas!

beautiful late Sept hike

Lovely hike but toward the hard end of the moderate range for me
Challenging going up the steep rocky trail And we saw only one other hiker during the entire hike which we did around noon on a Friday
The lake was lovely as were numerous small waterfalls along the way
Would definitely recommend this hike!

Haley P nailed that synopsis below, incredible! Hiked under the full moon and started right outside of Winfield (the lower trailhead; Winfield is super cool, old little mining town you can explore) - tons of dispersed camping along the road to the upper trailhead. Great little dispersed spot right outside of Winfield as well. Definitely a great beginner 14'er! The trail is wonderfully defined the entire route and tough to get off track. #27 & definitely one of my favorites! Views at the summit were all-time. Enjoy!

Incredible! This was my first 14er and I’m hooked - a great first one to try if you haven’t hiked one yet. Some tips for folks to help you gauge time, distance, etc.

Everyone says to “start early” but that doesn’t really explain much. I found that you should be off the peak and below the tree line before noon on account of afternoon lightning storms. We started at 5:30 am (1.5 hours before sunrise) to give us ample time. The trail was super easy to follow, even in the dark. We made it almost half way up (to the plateau) in 1.5 hours. The last half took us another 1.5 hours, so 3 hours total to make it to the peak. We are regular hikers, but were not rushing it. We’re not a fan of blitzing a hike. We spent an hour at the top before descending in about 3 hours. Down by around 1 pm. Tons of people were ascending at that time - not sure if they planned to do the whole thing or not.

We drove in the Friday night before and car camped at the 4x4 trailhead. There were still plenty of places to park and camp, although we got there at 10 pm. You do need a 4x4 car or truck with at least 8-10 inches of clearance. A Toyota suv was hitting bottom in front of us on the way up.

Bring water, snacks, and layers! We saw some people hiking in a long-sleeved shirts and shorts and carrying one water bottle. I can’t advise against that enough. Maybe I’m just paranoid being a WFR, but honestly, I’m the one who will have to help when you get hurt, so please bring some supplies! Better to be prepared at 14,000 ft than to skimp on a little bit of extra weight.

Do it, you’ll love it!! 

This was as mentioned a hard moderate hike. 4 over 50 year old flatlanders in moderate condition 2 hrs to get to the top. The one mile on the road was ok, we saw 3 mule deer, the mile of loose rocks was the hardest part up and down. The mile by the stream and around the lakes was just wonderful. Take the time to circle the lake and enjoy the silence. Listen to the wind through the Aspen and the trout jump. Very peaceful. I took a star off just because a few more switch backs during the descent of the rock portion would have been nice.

hiking
2 months ago

I hit the summit of Columbia first thing this morning. Annihilated me, absolutely annihilated me. Be weary before stepping into this one as the Class II can be a tad misleading. No crazy bouldering but the sheer steepness of the slope after the treeline is insanely intense. There's a solid trail leading up the first saddle but slowly disappears, leaving one lost and bewildered, only option to continue straight up. Number 26 of 2018 and probably the most difficult. I'll take that 17 mile 6600 gain Blanca hike over this one any day. Schooled by Columbia.

hiking
2 months ago

Great views over Buena Vista.

The lakes at the top were crystal clear and really neat to look at.

The incline to Harvard is relatively easy but long. Maybe two or three class 3 moves right at the summit. The traverse and incline are to Columbia are easy physically (obv if u aren’t fit u are going to be dying) the route is difficult to find. I used my gps on phone. The descent is very steep w scree but gets u back quickly. I recommend going up Harvard. It took me 9 hours but I’m on the faster side. Average will probably be 12/13 hours. Def make sure u have done longer hikes w a lot of elevation gain and be confident w route finding.

Fist full of dollars is all down hill from the parking lot. Very easy hike going down. Django is of course all up hill, but still easy! I’d say this is more of a moderate trail for biking, but hiking it’s definitely easy.

This was my third 14er and by far the best 360 degree views. You NEED a 4WD vehicle to get to the upper trailhead; if you have to park at the lower trailhead plan to add about 4 miles round trip to your hike.

I’m in good shape and it took me about 5 active hours round trip to complete.

Beautiful hike today! We parked at the lower trail head which made the hike about 11 miles round trip. The aspen trees are at peak right now, great views and not too crowded for a weekend!

Was absolutely beautiful today as the aspen are perfect

This is a great combo to summit two 14ers in one day. It also makes a nice backpacking trip because there is camping about 3.5 miles in where the trail splits off to Mt. Colombia. If you hike in, camp, do the loop and then pick up your gear on the way out it makes for a nice overnight trip. There is water easily accessible as well.

The boulder field between Colombia and Harvard is a little challenging to navigate. There are not too many cairns and it's easy to get off track. Stay as high as you reasonably can as you go through it and you'll be OK. It is a little slow going through there, so just give yourself some extra time.

This was my first 14er. It took me 5.5 hours of active time, not including the half hour I spent at the top. The peak had a nice little pile of rocks that creates some coverage from the wind. AMAZING 360 degree views. Every angle was breathtaking. Would definitely do again. And the cute little pikas everywhere were probably my favorite. I have no idea how but I saw some insane person mountain biking too.

When reading 14er reviews, I always find it helpful to know a persons skill level. That being said, I’m a regular hiker and this was my second 14er. I can easily say this was the most difficult hike I’ve ever done. Don’t let the “lower” summit height fool you. This thing is steep! You climb roughly 1000 ft per mile for the full 3.5 mile ascend. Once you’re past the tree line (and the wonderful, but short, flat reprieve), this is where the true challenge begins. But what a view! I can see why a lot of the reviews say this is the most beautiful 14er. It was stunning!

3 months ago

Cottonwood Pass road is closed all year until Memorial Day , 2019. It’s closed at the Avalanche trailhead. The Forest Service is so underfunded that they have to rely on volunteers, no doubt that’s where the misinformation in the previous review came from.

Not hard but pretty steep! Parking lot at the top (that requires 4wd) fills up quick. There were 6 or 8 cars parked there Friday night for the next morning.

hiking
3 months ago

nice trail but on the high side of moderate. Not for old out of shape guys like me. I had to turn around about half way because it was too steep for me and my pug.
make sure your app is active as the trail could be better marked.

Easy hike from a popular trailhead. Would be interested in backpacking here on a weekday in shoulder season (since it was pretty busy) to camp/fish.

Road wasn’t too bad to the trailhead. A fair amount of options for dispersed camping along the way. The first ~3.5 miles are very gentle and easy to cruise through. Great views from the top, and the last 40 feet of scrambling is a lot of fun!

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