Explore the most popular trails near Fairplay 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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Fairplay, Colorado Map
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My favorite hike! It even beats the fourteeners I've done.

on Wheeler Lake

hiking
1 day ago

I have been off-roading and hiking on this trail and have enjoyed it very much. The trail is challenging, especially if you are hiking-watch you footing with all of those rocks!

scenic driving
2 days ago

even though this is a road i would rate it moderate, just based on how rough the rocks are in the road on one side of the pass.

if you go up the leadville side its a nice and windy dirt road with great views and some neat camping spots.

however... once you approach the top and on the east section after the pass its a rocky road from hell. i was aired down to 18lbs on 33's and it was still miserable. unavoidable softball sized rocks jutting out of the road everywhere and the occasional sneaky series of potholes and washboards. just the perfect amount of bumpy to force you to go slow on what would otherwise be a 10/15 mph road.

hiking
7 days ago

Wheeler Lake is a great hike for the morning. Start early as Trailhead parking is unpredictable (there’s not a parking lot, just various intersecting roads you can park on the edge). There’s also no Trailhead sign but it’s correctly marked on AllTrails. There’s very little tree coverage and shade on the trail so I recommend sunscreen and a hat. There’s plenty of running water and streams throughout the hike and up to the lake which is great for canine companions. Keep an eye out for vehicles (we didn’t encounter any on our way up but we started at 8am). The lake had tons of wild flowers around it and a rushing waterfall from an upper lake. We sat up there and enjoyed the views and a snack. Keep an eye out for the many marmots near the lake.

hiking
8 days ago

Took us about 4 hours round trip. The trail is steep - it is pretty much park, cross the stream, and climb the mountain. The views at the top are very good, not great. We only did Bross, did not do the loop.

8 days ago

Did this hike today. Gorgeous views and worth it to get to the top. Incline to the lake is demanding with loose gravel and rocks but so beautiful at the top.

There is a lot of confusion about the trails up Mount Sherman. This one says its from the Fairplay side, but the link for directions takes you to the Leadville side. The Fairplay side is more moderate than the Leadville side. Many of the complaints I've read are likely due to this confusion. The Leadville side is difficult as you negotiate Rock and Scree from near the very start.

A beautiful hike with awesome views. We spent a good chunk of time at the top just taking in the beauty of the lake and the incredible wild flowers. My husband and I are in decent shape, in our late 20s to early 30s and it took us a total of 3.5 hours. One of the most beautiful places I’ve seen and a very gratifying hike. Will do again one day.

hiking
27 days ago

Really nice little trail! You’re next to the stream most of the time, which is great. Some really nice open sections with beautiful wildflowers and sagebrush.

Be sure to keep an eye out for the stream crossing marked with an orange flag. We missed it, as did the hikers right behind us. No big deal, but if you feel like you suddenly lost the trail in the forest about a mile in, you probably missed the log ‘bridge’ to the other side of the stream.

hiking
28 days ago

Lovely hike with meadows, a large variety of wildflowers, & majestic views. Easy to miss the official loop off to the north, but followed an off trail to some peaceful meadows. Made for a truly enjoyable day!

Nice, easy little trail with minimal elevation gain. Most of it is under shade but the section in the middle is exposed rock. Trail loops around at Horseshoe campground which is a great place to eat lunch and relax.

hiking
1 month ago

Everyone needs to know this: hiking trail is NOT accessible via Crest Drive (off of Roberts Road). This is all private property& homeowners do NOT want you parking up here. These 14’ers (Democrat, Lincoln, Bross) are ONLY accessible via Kite Lake - about 5 miles west of Alma on Buckskin Rd. Homeowners WILL have your vehicle towed if you start your hike from Roberts/Quartzville/Crest Drive.

Beautiful! My fiancé and our 3 children hiked to the ridge line at about 13,200 in the early afternoon and turned around...the hike is wonderfully scenic, without a ton of traffic.

Love going up sherman/Sheridan from Iowa Gulch. Gorgeous wildflowers for the first 1/2 mile or so and if you're early enough the first hour, hour and half the trail will be yours and yours alone.
Did Sheridan today, the peak was mine and .mine alone - amazing!! Then helped new friend Tamara and Ollie the dog get un-stuck, amazing hike and a good deed. Day couldn't have been better!

hiking
1 month ago

Family of four completed this today and had a great time. Gentle hike until the last 3/4 mile. Awesome views all the way. Crazy to see the 4x4's traversing some of the obstacles. Would definately do this hike again.

walking
1 month ago

Very nice easy trail with some moderate climbs. When you get to the tower at the end of the main trail, to go up to the ridge you cross the meadow. Definitely worth the climb; spectacular views

off road driving
1 month ago

Does anyone know of you can camp at or around the lake?

late to post but completed this hike June 10th. Would have to agree with post from Pat. Hard trail, insane high winds, beautiful views. Most if not all hikers take the other route and if I was to repeat I would probably do the other trail to summit Sherman but was thankful for a great hike and beautiful views!

hiking
1 month ago

So nice to climb a peak on a Saturday, see three other people the entire day, and have the summit to yourself.. while no definitive trail, the route is mostly visible and instinctual.. far better than the crowds and traffic in and out of nearby 14ers.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike was simply the best hike we did all week. The view is STUNNING! A 360 degree view of gorgeous mountains as well as valley views of Leadville and Fairplay. Had the whole mountain to ourselves on a weekday, which was a nice reward for driving 11 miles down a bumpy gravel road in a rental car that didn’t handle the bumps well. Trail was not difficult to traverse for the most part. Well worth the effort.

off road driving
1 month ago

Very gnarly trail with quite a few very fun obstacles! Would probably not do it alone unless you have a very, very off-road worthy rig. We took 2 JK 4-doors w/ 3 1/2” lifts & 35’s. Managed all obstacles just fine, but a few required spotting. Coming back down did get the back tire of one of the Jeeps about 2 1/2’ off the ground by not taking the right line.

Wheeler Lake is a great destination. We were the only 4x4’s up there. Only 4 other hikers. Caught a rainbow and a brown in the lake and lower ponds. Highly recommend, but would easily rate this trail an 8, maybe 9.

hiking
1 month ago

Went last week, 6/26, very nice as you start up with beautiful wild flowers this time of year! It was VERY windy up along the ridge but gorgeous views. Definitely will do again, hopefully without 50 mph gusts!!

Made it to just over 13,000 feet. The winds were about 40 mph, so had to turn back. Would love to try to make it to summit when winds aren’t so rough.

hiking
1 month ago

We looped Horseshoe in with our hike of Mt. Sherman, Sheridan, and Peerless Mountain, and I'm glad we did. Good place to watch the line of ants summiting Sherman!

hiking
1 month ago

My wife and I did this hike yesterday, 6,28,18. We did Democrat a few weeks back and wanted to do Lincoln from the trail posted below, but when we arrived at that location to scope it out a few weeks back, it was posted as private, no trespassing, and you'd be towed if you parked there!! So we went back to the Kite Lake trail head. The mileages on the map to the right don't agree with my Garmin though. Here's what I recorded. From the parking lot to the first saddle between Democrat and Cameron is 1.4. From there to Cameron is just under a mile. And from Cameron to Lincoln is just over a half mile for a total of 2.85 one way. Some steep stretches going up Cameron, and then the top is almost level. The trail goes right over the top so you summit this one whether you want to or not on your way to Lincoln. We opted not to do the Bross segment and just went back down the way we came. Most everyone was going back the Bross way though, and a few told us back at the parking lot what we had read about how steep and nasty the descent is on Bross. Steep enough the other way. For us anyway. Great views as you'd expect, and we had a really clear day with little to no wind thankfully. We encountered some gusts on the way down Cameron to the first saddle, but that was it. Popular trails, lots of people!! We took one of the last parking places when we arrived just after 7 on a Thursday. Most of the snow that was present when we were there 3 weeks ago was now melted too.

hiking
1 month ago

Probabaly one of my favorite hikes, not too difficult of an incline. Beautiful lake at the top .

on Horseshoe Mountain

1 month ago

Beautiful views. Unfortunately didn’t get to drive to the end of the road, two snow drifts were blocking the road at the first bend. Will definitely return later in the year.

hiking
1 month ago

My recording only started from the top where we turned around, so double the distance to get total mileage. The hike was amazing. Short and quick, you can go up as far as you’d like. The further you go, the better the view of the mountain range that includes Quandary. Amazing panoramic views from up near top of the ridge. Definitely recommend it if looking for a shorter hike with great picture opportunities.

hiking
1 month ago

Have hiked this many times with out of town guests and limited time. The variety is what makes this trail special. A pretty water crossing, the amazing gnarly and ancient Limber Pines, the large rocks in the grove to climb on and the serene trail through the woods. For an extra you can scramble up the scree by the grove towards the top of Sheep Mountain. Many times we park at the upper trailhead and only go as far as the grove and back. If you do the whole trail we either park a car at both ends or double back the way we came, otherwise you share a very dusty road with vehicles getting back to your car. Great trail for kids.

So 4 stars instead of 5. I'll get to that. We just completed this trek, 6/13/18. I have read a few reviews for this elsewhere, that say this is such an easy hike. Don't totally agree with that. It was similar to the Mt. Democrat hike we just did in terms of low miles, and not a lot of elevation gain to claim a 14er. But I think Democrat was easier. So let's begin. This trail starts in the Iowa Gulch on the Leadville side of Sherman. It drops down to the creek and there are a few crossings to make that were easy. Then some mud to navigate. Then promptly starts climbing up the talus field. There were a few snow drifts to go across too, and they were still frozen at 9 a.m. That was a little unnerving, and one of them we completely went around on more talus, lest we risk sliding out of control and ending the hike right there. Then this trail just keeps climbing up and up. Probably a good time to mention that Colorado trail builders apparently don't believe in switch backs. And you don't encounter any until right below the saddle between Sherman and Sheridan. And the constant thought of what it was going to be like to go down, kept you busy. Once at the saddle, you bear left and head up more non switch back climbing. One thing I have not heard anyone mention about this stretch, is that once you are above the saddle about 2/10 or so, the trail now follows a fairly narrow ridge line. Not knife edge, but close. And now the reason for 4 stars. We did have a stellar blue bird day. The trail, steep as it is, is easy enough to find the whole way. What we didn't expect was the horrific winds that ensued along that ridge line section, until we got above the false summit, and then the rest of the way to the summit is almost flat and the winds settled down. It was crazy windy. Like probably 40-50 mile an hour sustained winds. No let up. Not fun. Once at the top we sat for about 20 minutes in low to no winds? That was weird, but much appreciated after that blast we just got. It took us 3 hours to summit, and my Garmin said 2.4. Now for the return trip back down. I warned my fellow hiking cronies that we will probably encounter those winds again at that spot, for whatever reason. Well, that was an understatement. As they were now so bad I would venture to guess they were closer to 70-75 miles an hour, steady!!!. It was the worst mother nature encounter I have EVER had. I had the chin strap cinched so tight on my hat, it was cutting off the blood flow, and yet the wind was doing it's best to rip my hat from my head and deposit it in Fairplay. At one point I had to hold onto my wife as I didn't think she was going to manage the last 50' or so to where we had a small area that was blocked. Unfortunately, it only let up slightly the whole way down. Wind burned?? Bad. I know that there is usually windy conditions at high elevations, but this was another story. All that aside, the views on top are great, and the rating of hard or difficult above is accurate. Not to discourage anyone, we just had a bad encounter today. One I will not soon like to repeat!!

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