Explore the most popular walking 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.

Gorgeous views and well maintained trail. Super popular too and pretty easy for a fourteener. You need a high clearance 4wd vehicle to get to the trailhead unless you want to add about 6 miles to the hike.

2 days ago

I just got back from a backpack trip to Kroenke Lake August 12th. kroenke is no longer the pristine alpine lake it once was. it is over used and trampled with little fire wood. People are camping and building fire rings within a few feet of the lake. What is more distressing is that there is used toilet paper everywhere in the forested areas along the east and south sides of the Lake. When did the hiking/backpacking community decide its ok to just leave their toilet paper behind? Come On People! Its easy to pack out your toilet paper with your other trash, or burn it in your fire pit. If you love the outdoors enough to drive to a trailhead and hike somewhere, you should care enough not to degrade the environment and diminish the experience of others.

Beautiful half day trail. The end is worth the effort.

This was a fantastic hike! We did this as a day hike and had lunch at the lake. Magnificent views. From the time you cross the stream and enter the Horn Fork basin until slightly before the turn off for the lake, the rate of climb is very manageable. The last bit before the turn off was steeper, but not all that long. I’m not sure that I would agree with the review below about most low clearance cars being able to make it to the trailhead, at least based on the condition of the road when we were there in July this year. We did make it using a garden variety small SUV, but I would have felt a lot better in something with more clearance and a stick, particularly coming down. That being said, there were a couple of low clearance passenger cars at the trailhead and one apparently disabled SUV being hauled off on a flatbed tow truck...

ok, I clicked on directions and it took us to a trailhead but nowhere did it say Doorman's Delight Trail. We ended up hiking a trail listed as 6.2 miles called Gentleman's Half Loop which was not marked on the trail...at all and was less than 6 miles. The trail is great though, easy rolling terrain. Not much tree cover but a few shady spots. Popular with mountain bikers.

Great quick climb. Loved this hike but the lack of signage at the the “top” was not good. Kept liking down the other side to be sure and then back to the clearing. Someone awesome left a rock and wood sign pointing the way to the Yale approach. The view from there was amazing and you can continue and summit Yale!

One of the prettiest 14er climbs I’ve done. Really amazing views. One of the best maintained 14er trails I’ve seen too, bottom to top. As always, get started early. See too many folks starting too late in the day when afternoon lightning is a danger. Definitely need good clearance 4x4 to get to upper trailhead. Recommend camping in the plentiful dispersed campsites along the road to trail. Magnificent outdoors experiences.

My first 14er and it was tough but rewarding. Hiked it with my dad and we both loved it. Switch backs seemed never ending on the way down. Beautiful views all the way up and the summit is so rewarding!

Backpacked in a few miles Thursday night and woke up at 330 Friday to hike Mt. Columbia. The trail is being worked on and I wouldn't recommend using this route until the new trail is finished. Hiking up and down the gulley at the bottom of the mountain was definitely dangerous and very slippery, steep and filled with loose rocks and dirt. The summit was beautiful and the views were amazing!

Because of the previous review saying that the road was closed, I called the ranger district and a young lady told me the private road was closed but the public road was open. The public road was Cottonwood Pass, which is closed. We talked to many local people and they said there’s no way to get to Lost Lake Trail this summer until Cottonwood Pass opens back up.

16 days ago

Nice a steady climb to the lake. It was little hard for me coming straight from Illinois to the mountains. But i would say this is a good one for Plenty of campsites along the lake. We camped on a Sunday night in July and there were 3 other campsites along the lake. Even with the other campers it was very quiet, and scenery was beautiful Seemed like there was good fishing too. I don't fish often, but I caught a couple. It got pretty chilly at night and in the morning, so bring some layers if staying overnight.

Nice hike with good fishing at the end. Went mid-July, so there were plenty of other campers around the lake, but my campsite was definitely peaceful and solitary. You can bank on having afternoon storms and rain, so bring an extra tarp to sit under and plenty of warm clothes.

first bit is really exposed and medium steep, then you get into some thick woods. pretty much stays heavily wooded till the ridge with a few peeks of peaks along the way. there is a short break in the steep along the way, but it's pretty much uphill through woods the entire way. view at the top is definitely worth it.

Just finished today and the views are incredible!

Stunningly beautiful hike. The 4WD road can be scary for beginner 4x4 drivers (like me), but it's very doable if you go slowly and pick your line carefully. 4WD and at least 8" clearance are a must for that road.

The hike starts with a series of switchbacks in the woods, then crosses a beautiful basin, then ascends across many switchbacks up the side of the mountain, and finally ascends a steep, rocky boulder field. It's very doable, though challenging for beginner 14erers, yet oh so worth it at the summit. Probably the most beautiful 14er summit I've seen.

This was my first 14er, and I think it’s a great one to start with for beginners. Elevation gain is steep in parts, but not unbearable. Really amazing views, even if you don’t summit. There’s a beautiful meadow at about 12,500 ft.
ABSOLUTELY NEED 4-WHEEL DRIVE VEHICLE! You can get to Winfield ok without, but not much farther unless you want to hike a few miles to the trailhead. The last couple miles to the trailhead are full of large rocks, uneven surface, some deep holes and an occasional stream. Plenty of spots along the road to pull off and park/camp.

I’m going tun

28 days ago

The moderate trail rating is very accurate. The majority of the trail is hiked in the woods. The trail opens up to bogs and meadows as you get close to the lake. We hiked in late July and the wildflowers were in full bloom. The lake is small but very scenic. Later in the day, on our way down, there were a good number of backpackers setting up camp around the lake. We hiked an additional 35 or 40 minutes past the lake towards Browns Pass. This portion of the trail was strenuous but afforded some really great views of the lake and meadows. The additional effort was worth the views.

So beautiful and my favorite 14er so far! The wildflowers were so pretty and there was a water fall to the right as your hiking up to summit. Nice clean non rocky trail the most of the way. Then just 5 to 10 minutes before the summit was boulder field.
Amazing and recommend for a first 14er!

Well maintained and easy to follow trail straight to the summit. Beautiful Amazing Views. Great Hike. Worth a repeat anytime. Note the trail head road you will need good AWD/4WD with good ground clearance!

Amazing amazing amazing. Views are surreal. Climb is a good burn. Excellent trail. Will gladly do this one again.

1 month ago

My wife and I headed to Buena Vista to hike Ptarmigan Lake Trail, only to see construction had closed the road. So we pulled out the AllTrails app, and found this nearby. What a great find! Water running by the trail, or you can hear it if you don't see it. It rained hard for awhile, so we found shelter in the trees. Rained off and on coming back, but a great hike! Walking thru all the trees was amazing! Yes, the smell of a dead animal is still present, but just a short area of the trail.

1 month ago

road is closed 8 miles from the trailhead 7/3/18

I couldn't recommend this one enough! The road is rough for sure. 4x4 is needed and I still bottomed out once or twice (Not hard at all). The trail is manicured incredibly and has better maintenance than any of the 14'er trails I've done. EPIC views from up top! This one is a GREAT trail for the dogs. It only gets really rocky for the last 1/2 mile of the push. You gain quite a bit of vertical feet on this one. Somewhere around 3500 ft. The heat and the dust on the return trip were less than ideal, but you can't do much about the weather conditions. I went through 3L of water myself and my dog went through 1.5L due to the severe heat and lack of wind. Awesome day on the trail.

1 month ago

I camped up here for 1 night. Getting up to the TH in my Honda Civic was definitely a little stressful, but doable. I went in about 4 miles, found myself about halfway up the trail to Mt Columbia with my 30 lbs pack and decided to tough it out. Didn't realize that the trail I was on was still in the process of being built, haha, and ended up having to cut across a slope to reach the old trail up Mt Columbia, which was terrible (I see why they're building a new one--should be done next year!). Gave up at about 13800' still with my giant pack and came back down to treeline (the descent on the old Mt Columbia trail was really rough, lots of skidding down a rocky slope) to camp for the night; lots of beautiful spots in the basin at treeline, close enough to walk for water. Plenty of people, but everyone was quiet and respectful and overall just so relaxing and gorgeous to watch the sunset over the mountains. Headed up to Bear Lake the next morning, ate some snacks, and came all the way back down. I'll have to try Mt Harvard next, but I was so pooped from Mt Columbia I didn't want to try!

Currently a dead horse is lying next to the trail. It's only going to get funkier.

1 month ago

This trail is very busy and overall a bit underwhelming.

- Well marked
- Very moderate incline
- Easy to get to the trailhead with any car

Not so good:
- In between trees without views until almost to the end
- So many campers at the lake that it’s hard to enjoy the views there.

Tried to do this hike today.... walking down the trail for five minutes...... Someone hit me with their bike and knocked me off of the trail and over the side... glad that tree was there to stop us from rolling down any further :(

1 month ago

Completed this hike on 6/14/18. This is an easy hike but has a lot of mud to navigate through. The payoff in the end is well worth it and it does not take a very long time to get to the lake. Once we got to the lake we saw a herd of elk to the south a little ways. Great Hike!

This was my second visit to this trailhead. The first time I hiked to Columbia’s summit, and it was brutal. Most low clearance vehicles should be capable of getting to the trailhead. It starts off fairly easy-going and increases in intensity over the duration of the hike. There was quite a bit of post-holing going on over Memorial Day, but I would assume no issues going up now. The vegetation below tree line looks great, and there are several great campsites along the way. Next time I visit I’ll be hiking in a couple miles and stay overnight to get a head start on Mount Harvard.

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