Explore the most popular dogs on leash 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.

off road driving
8 days ago

It was snowing heavily up this trail. We had a Rubicon JK. Road had probably 6 inches of snow and it’s a rough ride. Likes of rocks etc. The snow probably created the additional difficulty, but we used our lockers quite a bit and were in 4 wheel low most of the day. Coolest lake I’ve ever seen 1/2 mile hike off the trail. Best view I’ve seen my entire life. Great trip, but tough!

this trail is pretty epic. this should be rated as hard. did the venable side first. was very windy and a little nerve wracking before phantom terrace. saw more people coming the opposite direction. beautiful long hike. will do this again as an overnighter.

hiking
24 days ago

I loved the scenery on this trail, but it was a bit confusing to get to! The trailhead is actually the Gibson Trailhead and then you take the marker towards rushing creek, from there it’s .5 of a mile until you see a sign that says Lakes of the Clouds. My boyfriend and I thought we were lost multiple times. Other then that, the fall colors were amazing!

Great hike with a friend and well worth the climb to see the 1st lake. It is an emerald green and so clear you can see the lake floor. We went to the 2nd lake and ate lunch before we headed back. The leaves were falling fast, so the autumn beauty is fading fast. Plan to do a weekend trip and camp next year.

Beautiful fall colors and good fishing. Took five people who live at 1500 feet and it was a challenge but doable if you take it slow. Recommend taking plenty of fluids. Worth the trip.

fishing
29 days ago

Road was very rough. Views are beautiful but really need ATV type vehicle to enjoy it. I would not recommend it without off road vehicle.

backpacking
29 days ago

Backpacking camping weekend trip with Boy Scout Troop 268 from Colorado Springs. 17 Scouts and 4 adult leaders. Took upper trail on the way up on Saturday. Left trailhead at 8am and first group of 10 arrived at meadow a couple miles from lakes at 12 noon. Second group arrived within an hour after. Setup camp next to the stream for a water source. Spent Saturday night sharing stories, skits and general Boy Scout fun. Rocky trail in some areas but relatively moderate trail. Beautiful scenery with aspens changing colors. 10 Scouts went to the first lake with daypacks and enjoyed the hike and the lake.
On Sunday broke camp at 8am and came down on lower trail. Steeper and very rocky. Arrived at trailhead at 11am. Had a simple church service and headed home. All had a great time. Temps during the day were in the mid to upper 70’s, night down to mid 40’s. No rain and no clouds. There was no moon so stargazing was phenomenal.
Great trail for all to enjoy, highly recommend it!

Beautiful trail, aspens, and lakes.

Great hike. The aspen are GORGEOUS now. However when you get to the sign that says Rainbow trail and points both right and left, go right. You have to be a Mt. Goat to do the left trail. We lost quite a bit of time going that way then turning around to find the right trail. Didn't make it to the lake so are heading back next Sat.

hiking
1 month ago

We took the swift creek trail which led to a sign and we took the Lake of the Clouds trail marked 3.75 .. it was probably 6-8 miles total from the trailhead to the gorgeous lake. We walked through the aspens and the leaves were changing to gorgeous yellow and orange. The lake was crystal clear perfect for trout fishing.

hiking
1 month ago

This trip is a strong uphill on a trail that is overwhelmed with rocks and hard to get into a good flow. For 4 miles you are in trees with glimpses of mountains but no real view until the top. Once at the top it is pretty but I don't feel it is worth the effort required compared to other hikes in the area.

Plus side is the drive in is on pavement most of the way. Downside is you have to dodge horse crap in the parking lot

Does anyone know if there is dispersed camping on the way up?

backpacking
1 month ago

This is a great trail with beautiful lakes. It is awesome because it is not well traveled but the trail is easily followed. There are jaunts along the stream here and there, a large meadow at half way point, steep parts if trail, lots of Forrest and beautiful plants growing among the sections of pine and Aspen. Plenty of Aspen around the 10,000 elevation mark for nice Fall colors. A peaceful trail, only 1 single person seen on our 3 day stay. Bighorn sheep, marmots, pika, deer, along with a rare sighting of a stoat. You get lots of big views at the meadow and then the lakes. Beautiful even with the 80% loss of pine to beetles. Typical Sangres hike - steep places and long trail but doable as a day hike.

Backpacked here on 9/1/18. We drove our ‘13 Subaru Forester just past the grape creek(?) TH. We tried to make it further up the road, but it was too rough. High clearance is needed if you want to drive to the trailhead for music pass.

After parking, we put on our packs. I believe we hiked over 2 miles up the road before reaching the upper parking lot/TH. It is steep, and quite difficult with a heavy pack on. Many four wheelers and trucks went by us on the road. Not very pleasant to be left in the dust from all the vehicles. That being said, we were very happy once we got to the actual trail. It is beautifully forested before opening up on the pass. Gorgeous 360 views near the sign for Music pass. We found a dispersed site with an incredible view. With our packs off, we went down the trail towards the lakes. It was about 5 pm now and were unsure about weather so we turned around. Would love to head back here next summer to see the lakes.

Love the Sangre de Cristo range!!

hiking
1 month ago

This trail is definitely one of the most difficult trails I've done in this area. However, I started at about 1pm and I was back down by 5:30pm. Not one of my fastest hikes. I'll echo others in that it isn't incredibly scenic until you reach the lakes, but once you do reach the lakes it is absolutely worth every pebbly steep hill you climbed to get there. Not sure about the previous commenters' distance discrepancies. The NFS map and sign places the lakes 3.5 miles into the trail. Fitbit had me at 3.45 miles when I reached the lakes and AllTrails had me at 3.8 miles. The ascent is not the most fun; just take as many breaks as you need and don't let your legs go cold. The descent could easily wipe you out so take your time there as well. Absolutely stunning ending to a brutal hike.

1 month ago

I have a stock FJ with road tires that need changing and it did fine. Don’t listen to Robert...

backpacking
1 month ago

This was my very first trip to Colorado and the lakes are still my favorites in all the state. It is a rocky uphill climb, and for a "flatlander" Hoosier like myself, the elevation was challenging to adjust to. As it also was my first real backpacking trip, I pretty unprepared as far as gear and choice of clothes. The campsites up top were a great place to unwind and recharge for a couple days. A very friendly doe lived up there while I visited and followed me around most the time I was there. Beautiful mountains, lakes, and insanely undisturbed, dark-night, galaxy-filled skies await at these lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

Great hike. Parked at the second parking lot....I wouldnt drive to that point but a friend did and it was kinda like a roller coaster ride.

However you can walk up from the first lot like previous people have mentioned.

THIS IS A MUST DO HIKE.

1 month ago

cbc 3b 0xx schest cvs4xex guheby c u 45 mvr

hiking
2 months ago

Had noooooo idea what I was getting myself into. Just decided that I was going to take the Lakes Of The Clouds trail and it was definitely challenging. But the view was beyond amazing.

backpacking
2 months ago

Hiked this trail Aug 11. Our app recorded 6.2 miles RT from the upper parking lot/TH. It takes about 45 min-1 hr to drive to the TH from Westcliffe. You definitely need a high-clearance 4WD vehicle to drive the last 3 miles of the road to get to the upper parking lot and to get out of your parking spot (HA!) (we had to tow someone out of their spot because they were stuck). There is room for about 20-25 vehicles at the upper lot, and another parking area about a minute down the road. The lot was mostly full by 9am, and this is the busiest TH we've seen in the Westcliffe area. A bathroom is at the lower TH.
It is a typical CO trail and not anything too extreme or rugged. We had gorgeous weather and it was beautiful, varying scenery. Saw about a dozen ptarmigan. Also saw 4 horses along the trail, and some horse poop. Some remnants of wildflowers, but mostly dried out. No mosquitoes. Lots of views from Music Pass and neat bristlecone pines around the pass. The view of pointy Tijeras Peak was our favorite, and it also happens to be the backdrop of Lower Sand Creek Lake--just gorgeous! Some backcountry camping sites at the lake and good fishing! Many trout were swimming around as we ate lunch at the lake. Note: You do hike up in elevation and down and up again to get to the lake and then reverse to get back to the TH, so it can make for some "hot" climbing back up to Music Pass in the afternoon on your way back to the TH.

The above, posted directions for this trail are wrong. Here are the correct ones:
-Drive south on Hwy 69 for 4.6 miles
-Turn right on CR 119 (Colfax Ln) and drive south for 6 miles to a T intersection
-Turn left on CR 120
-After 0.2 mi, the road makes a sharp right and becomes CR 119
-Continue 5 miles to lower Music Pass TH
-Road (now 4WD) continues for another 2.5 miles and ends at upper Music Pass TH

backpacking
2 months ago

My SO and I planned to do this loop over 2 nights but were cut short due to weather. We hiked up to venable lake, it was 6.5-7 miles. The aspen groves were beautiful and the view before making the final climb amazing. The lake area was open and rocky, but good for setting up a tent. Unfortunately we got all settled in and the predicted light rain turned into a pretty bad storm and we had to throw everything in our packs and make a run for the trailhead. I’ll definitely be back to finish the loop another time.

hiking
2 months ago

So, the trail head on this one is misleading as there are 2. We parked at the LOWER TH and this will add 2 miles each way to your hike. The lower trail/road is not marked very well, we only saw 1 arrow pointing the way. The upper TH is apparently 2 miles or so up the road, we never got that far. The road is a 4X4 trail and looked a bit rough. We saw a newer Ford Explorer go up but I would not venture up this one in my truck. We came across a very nice guy in a jeep (at our turn around point) who said we were half way to the upper TH, even though we were 2.5 in?? We did decide to return to the car as we had some time constraints. This was a beautiful hike none the less. We are hoping to head back up on 4 wheelers and find the upper TH and the true trail. The elevation gain and distance listed are most likely from the upper TH and not the lower one. The climb up the first leg has steep areas and will make the heart pump but is not bad. There is a restroom at the lower TH and is clean for the most part.

hiking
2 months ago

The roads to the TH are mostly paved followed by a short section of an easy dirt road.
Although this area is beautiful, I'm only giving it 3 stars because my friend and I lost the trail. We hiked it on July 29. Our guidebook ("Hiking Colorado's Sangre de Cristo Wilderness" Falcon Guide) had incorrect directions--the correct directions are to go right at the Rainbow Trail and then left on the Horn Lakes Trail. So with the extra detour of going the wrong direction at the beginning, this hike didn't start off well. There is a bathroom at the TH. Only a few downed trees on the trail, lots of wildflowers, and even wild strawberries that were quite yummy! Complete solitude--we only saw 2 other hikers on this trail the entire time. AROUND TREELINE, THERE IS A SECOND CREEK CROSSING--MAKE SURE YOU GO RIGHT AND CROSS THE CREEK! We went the wrong way and continued straight ahead on the well-worn trail that ended at a pond in the beautiful basin. We should have turned around and backtracked, but we thought the trail was overgrown (like some others in the area) and thought we'd soon find the lakes. No such luck! We bushwacked for 1 1/2 hours through thick bushes, mud, and what must have been game trails with lots of (bear?) poop, and we finally gave up when we figured out we were on the opposite side of the basin where the lakes were and it was time to head down.

backpacking
2 months ago

Went backpacking up the Venable part of the loop in a group of four of us over the weekend. We measured it as a 7 mile hike from the lot to the largest Venable Lake on a Fitbit and an Apple Watch, which is different that the map. I am new to utilizing the app so not sure what happened but it took us by surprise as the sign notes that the hike to Venable Lakes is 4.75 miles. The last section to the largest lake was very challenging with significant elevation gain. It is straight up the side of the hill/mountain to a small plateau. There is a great camp site near the first lakes. The hike itself is very beautiful, with wildflowers and groves of aspen. The views are incredible as you can see across the valley to the Wet Mountains in several spots. Most of the hike was in the forest until the last section. We camped just off the trail near the largest lake. The fishing was incredible. There are some big cutthroats in that lake and each of us caught at least one. The trail is very rocky and coming down was more of a challenge and it was hard on the feet. I didn't notice it as much on the hike up. Perhaps a recent washout with the storm that blew through. We were visited by a few deer bucks at our camp site each night. They were very tame and curious and were content to be 30 yards away and watch us cook dinner.

horseback riding
2 months ago

I love the Rainbow Trail; it doesn't get any better for me! Swift Trail up to the Lakes is steep and rocky but the beauty at the end is worth every step!

It was a good long hike - 8 miles total, out and back. Only for the adventurous and experienced!

backpacking
2 months ago

Very few people encountered. Scenery isn't spectacular until you reach the upper basin...then WOW! It is a strenuous trail for heavy packs: very steep first 1/3, second 1/3 trail more moderate, last 1/3 very rocky and steep to the lakes. Nice campsites below the upper basin in the trees.

hiking
2 months ago

My daughter and I hiked the Comanche side from Alvarado Campground to Comanche Lake and back. The elevation gain was challenging for us flatlanders (from Houston area) but it was well worth it. The trail was a little rough at times with washout and rocks but just enough to keep you engaged. The forest was very peaceful, with plenty of wildlife and the views of the valley were spectacular. Comamche Lake is a jewel and worthy of the effort. An awesome experience. I am looking forward to completing the loop one day.

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