Explore the most popular trails near Westcliffe 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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Westcliffe, Colorado Map
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hiking
14 days ago

When I was younger I used to run up this trail! Now I hike up and carefully run down. It is quite difficult in spots. The lower Venable portion can be very dusty and torn apart by horse travel, which can get muddy during (practically daily) Summer rains. The higher you go the more beautiful it gets! There is a broken down cabin towards the top. The views at the top are awesome! My lovely (ha!) profile picture was actually taken at the lower Venable Lake at the top! At the very top there is this portion of the trail called “Phantom Terrace” and the trail just disappears into the scree... let me tell you one thing... I would not want to ride a horse over it! The Comanche side of the loop is more forgiving and not as difficult.

on Lakes of the Clouds

1 month ago

normally a moderate hike. 3/4 of the hike was over snow. Definitely a trying hike but absolutely beautiful. took 5 hours in and right at 3 hours back. well definitely try to make it again before too much accumulation. our 6 year old hiked it like a champ.

great trail and not as steep as many of the other trails in the area

epic. saw elk. Aspens were yellow and great did it in about 4 weeks ago. lakes were clear and amazing. snow on the peaks.

fishing
3 months ago

epic trail, the lakes area is incredible. some snow at the peaks. colors of autumn, saw 2 bull elk near beginning.

backpacking
3 months ago

Backpacked this on September 23-24, 2017. The drive from the first parking lot to the closer parking lot is indeed 4WD, but it does save you a good 2-2.5 miles. There's one particular section with a deep rut and steep climb and many portions are private property, so there are few options to park.

Started off our hike around mid-afternoon and it was warm, but we knew rain was in the forecast. It didn't started raining until halfway into our hike. Halfway through our hike, we could also finally see the beautiful mountain peaks and they were foggy, but didn't appear to have much or any snow on them. We ran into a couple of different groups on their way down. Only one guy said he made it to the top of Humboldt earlier in the day. Another guy said it was extremely windy and their group turned back.

We camped about half a mile down from the lower south colony lake and we were wet and very cold. By the time we opened our tent an hour later, there was a thin layer of ice and snow where there hadn't been any before.

It sleeted/snowed until about midnight and we woke up to a bit more snow/ice than the previous day. The surrounding peaks had a good amount of snow on them. Thought about trying to summit Humboldt, but it was definitely too cold when we woke up. Trip was still worth it for the amazing views in that basin.

I'm old, fat, and broken. Did the loop in two days. Camped near one of the lakes then did the hard part on day two and to the car around three pm. Seen some 80 year old white haired women doing this, so anyone under age eighty should have no problems. Good warm up for Humboldt peak.

Wonderful and strenuous hike just outside of Westcliffe. The peak is 10 miles round trip from the Trailhead including sections of the Rainbow trail that lead to the actual Horn Peak trail. Extremely steep in several sections, including the first mile or so of the Horn Peak trail, as well as the climb just beyond the tree line. As you exit the tree line, continue about 100m and any evidence of the trail will seem to end. Look left directly toward the ridge line and you will see a cairn marking the way. Make your way to the ridge and watch your footing as you hug the south side of the ridge going to the peak. Many sections of scrambling/crawling with no evidence of a trail. Enjoy the reward of beautiful views at the top and as always keep an eye towards the sky and don't get caught above the tree line if severe weather moves in. Elevation gain from the trailhead to peak is 4580'.

hiking
4 months ago

Drove up until we were about 6 miles from the top and then parked the jeep. Hiked up another mile or so and then back down. Very rocky, but a beautiful walk.

4 months ago

lots of rocks rough but fun and beautiful area

backpacking
4 months ago

Highly recommend for experienced hikers/backpackers. Views are incredible.

The trail is not for the faint hearted and in my opinion it should be rated as hard. If you are scared of heights, easily fall/trip, or have a hard time keeping your balance, don’t recommend the hike from Comanche Lake to Venable Lake due to Phantom Terrace….the hike is along a narrow mountain ridge.

You will need suntan lotion and prepare for some really steep climbs.

On my record tracks pinned 2 really good campsites.

If you have any questions, I’m on Facebook Messenger.

Trail is not well maintained but manageable. If you don't have 4 wheel drive then you have to hike 2.5 miles to the trail head which is straight up. Challenging but awesome hike. Lots of Bighorn sheep when you get up to the peak.

hiking
4 months ago

The trailhead shown on the map is actually the Gibson Creek trailhead. at the termination of County Road 172 (Not hermit Road which hits Rainbow trail much further south. Hermit road is a continuation of County Road 160. The best description of the trail directions is at the San Isabel National Forest website.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/psicc/recreation/hiking/recarea/?recid=12756&actid=50

backpacking
4 months ago

Awesome hike up to the lake. I recommend camping below or near the lake then summit the following morning and you're nearly guaranteed to be the first one to the peak in the morning. Avoid summiting between 11am and 2pm as weather moves in fast and there are few places to hide above the saddle. You will get struck by lightning if you're up there in a storm. I personally got snowed on on July 4th. So either summit in the morning and be heading down around 10 am or wait till afternoon storms pass. Easy hike up to the switchbacks. Once up the saddle you have to navigate a couple thousand feet up a rock field. Make sure to stay to the right when ascending even though left looks to be the best way. While ascending you will think your almost there but no. Once you reach the false peak it's another 300 yards maybe. Bring a pencil to sign the geocache. Enjoy the view. Don't feed the marmot.

backpacking
4 months ago

Just got back today from an overnight camp trip. Great weather beautiful hike. Fish were every where could not catch one to save our butts. Recommend this hike to any one for a day and or a couple nights camping!

Mountain and lake views, beautiful area, hike was well worth it. Camping spots are limited and found the perfect spot, the site could hold 3 - 5 tents. The 27 Aug recorded track is the location of the campsite.

fishing
4 months ago

I hiked to Comanche Lake and back. I didn't do the loop. It took me two hours to get to the lake. Fishing was great up to 12:00 PM.

camping
4 months ago

"I love to sit on a mountain top and gaze. I don't think of anything but the people I care about and the view" - Julian Lennon

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