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.

Beautiful! The view from the pass is amazing.

It should be noted that there is no collectable water until the river where you turn off to the lake. Not really a big deal from the 4x4 trailhead, but you'll need to bring a lot if you're coming from the 2wd trailhead.
You don't reach water until mile 5. There is a little trickle on the pass and another on the far side, but neither are very collectable and will probably stop flowing in a few weeks.

My recording said 6.18 miles, 2,599 ft ascent, 438 ft descent on the way to the lake from the 2wd.

Also, there were kind of a lot of people camping in the meadow.

hiking
18 days ago

A lot of work for little reward. Not much of a view on the way up or at the end. Lots of nice trees though!

off road driving
20 days ago

I have a lifted 2004 Jeep Wrangler with Goodyear 33x12.50 MTR tires, and this trail was rough, but absolutely beautiful. I loved it and my wife & daughter did not like it. Do not bring a stock vehicle up this trail.
Robert

Spent 4 days last week. Beautiful, relatively low traffic during the week, excellent fishing. Agree with those who said the trail is really rugged and rocky, physically exerting, particularly with a heavy pack on your back. Poles are really helpful on descent. Gets cold at night even in June, and some of our group had trouble with the altitude (camped at almost 12K). If you just hike to the lakes you are not getting everything out of this trip, as the highlight for me was hiking way up on the ridge above lake 3, where there is a beautiful little waterfall along the way, and a breathtaking view of all 3 lakes and out the canyon.

1 month ago

One of my fav trails. Short drive from town to see alpine views.

Great hike, although the full hike is closer to 10 mi.

off road driving
1 month ago

Beautiful views! Extremely rocky though but worth it.

Great hike! Camped in the valley before the ascent to lower lake

Beautiful up top, easy hike too.

A really cool trail and an awesome place to go backpacking. Stay there a few nights and go to each of the three lakes.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked this trail 5/12/2018 via the Gibson Creek Trailhead and made it to the lower lake. Towards the beginning of the trail, we saw Henry Tjhie, and he told us we wouldn't need our snowshoes. The mud and snow depth then was manageable in boots and there were only a handful of places where we had to walk across snow, many of which are probably melted by now. The frozen waterfall was very neat. Just before the lake, there was a large snow field, and we only sunk into the snow in a few spots. Saw less than 10 people the entire time, so it was very peaceful. The large, wide creek crossing was doable with a couple large logs to walk across, even with all the snow run-off. It was slow going for most of the trail since there are LOTS of downed trees, creating all kinds of obstacles, some of which you have to wander off the trail to go around. Lots of birds in the area. It was neat seeing a ptarmigan once on the way up and once on the way back in about the same spot. It was very windy at the lake, so much that it was creating waves, something we had never seen in the backcountry. We spent a while trying to figure out how to get to the upper lakes. We tried going around on the right side of the lake, but no luck. We did, however, spot a bunch of fish in some of the ponds behind the lake on the right side. We realized later that the trail to the upper lakes goes around on the left side via some logs over part of the lake; the trail was difficult to see because of heavily overgrown bushes. Even though the lake was beautiful and serene, only giving this trail 3 stars because of all the downed trees, difficulty route finding to the upper lakes, and lack of views on the way up.

backpacking
1 month ago

Did the full loop. The Natgeo topo (#138 i think) seems to differ from reality in the area where the Venable trail starts. Going up the from the venable trailhead (Not Comanche) there is an unmarked left turn which the map shows leading to the bottom of Venable trail. However, venable trail is actually straight/right about 50 yards up the rocky atv trail, and is well signed. Because of this, we went up Comanche trail and down venable. Comanche trail is completely free of snow until the Phantom Terrace, where there are 2 short sections of incredibly exposed snow at the very top. Looking over the edge of the Phantom terrace from the comanche side, both sections of snow are visible. The First one is avoidable by going up and left (northwest-ish), then down and right to the trail. This is exposed class 3 scrambling and with a pack, very wet and loose, and was sort of scary. The second section is avoidable on the right side, but you have to basically walk on the edge of the ledge. After this, the trail is in pretty rough shape until the intersection where you turn to go to Venable lakes. Lots of little wash outs, unavoidable scree piles, and loose rock. You could fall a few hundred feet if you lost it on one of these little obstacles. Everything below venable lakes is free of snow, but there are tens of downed trees in the trail.

Just did this trail. It’s pretty rugged I’m talking very rocky areas all throughout that will give your feet, ankles and legs a huge workout. The snow is melting fast and there’s a lot of run off. The snow mounds that remain are deep I’ve slipped into a few and the snow went past my knees and there was a broken tree hidden inside one which gave me a nasty scratch about two inch cut on my lower leg. So be careful!! The trail is also unkept, fallen trees liter the path forcing you to find creative ways around them. But that view at the end. My god. Amazing.

backpacking
2 months ago

Not what I would describe as an easy hike, however, incredibly rewarding. VERY steep in places especially from tree line to the first peak. From that point on elevation change is very manageable but there is a lot of scrambling over rocks. Our group is from Kansas so thin air was a challenge and we did fight some altitude sickness. Nonetheless, our group aged 40, 17, 16, 11 made it to the top and back with minimal trouble. Trail head to summit took us 7 hours and descent took 4 hours. Just below tree line we did have to battle some snow. Finding the trail reentering tree line was a bit difficult but I was warned about that so we just took our time.

hiking
2 months ago

I went up to the lake a couple days ago 5-4-18. I took the regular route (not swift creek, the signage is not so confusing once you understand there are 2 routes up to lake of the clouds) There was a fair amount of waist deep snow drifts 1/2 way up, it took me 4 hours, but I believe it will be "ready" or normal within a few weeks. BTW saw 2 bears right below the snow line (they were not aggressive at all) bring protection if hiking alone or in a small group. I didn't see another person the whole hike, true solitude. The last half is all snow but totally doable if you have the patience, seems to be rapidly melting.

lost our dog Lindsey. trained pitbull grey with white belly with stand up ears and was wearing a brown jacket. if found please post a comment saying she's found

on Lakes of the Clouds

3 months ago

Totally worth the hike!!! will definantly be back to this one but this time with plans to camp at the top.

on Music Pass Trail

3 months ago

will definitely be back!!! would love to camp at the top sometime. gorgeous in the fall!

So beautiful! We did this hike in November and the frozen waterfalls were awesome!

hiking
6 months 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

7 months 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
9 months ago

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

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.

10 months ago

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
10 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.

10 months ago

lots of rocks rough but fun and beautiful area

backpacking
10 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.

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