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.

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
14 days 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
14 days 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

1 month 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

1 month 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
4 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

5 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
7 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.

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
8 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.

8 months ago

lots of rocks rough but fun and beautiful area

backpacking
8 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.

hiking
8 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

fishing
8 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.

hiking
8 months ago

My friend and I hiked this and it is a nice hike, but maybe not my favorite in this area. You spend most of the time plodding through deep forest with no good views. The last part is waist high plants with beautiful flowers, but once again, not much in the way of those "ahhhh" views. We stopped at the first lake with is pretty. There are some really steep parts with lots of loose rocks/gravel/sand which makes it treacherous coming back down. Lots and lots of ankle twisting fist sized rocks covering the trail from top to bottom. For the same exertion but far more payoff in prettier views, do the Venable hike instead of this one.

backpacking
8 months ago

3 stars because: the last 1-2 miles of trail are heavily overgrown, if there has been rain or you are hiking in the a.m. get ready to be soaked from the waist down.

Secondly, the last mile is VERY steep, so steep that pack dockeys could not ascend!! we talked to people who had to rig up a pully system to get their donkey through some particularly steep/muddy sections...NEEDS SWITCHBACKS...they were very worried about the descent so warning to people with livestock!!!

Lastly, there is literally one legal fire pit near the lakes so if you like traditional camping with a fire, you may or may not get lucky. Real estate for backpackers is slim unless you're an ultralighter and dont need much space or you bring a hammock. Very steep walls lead into the lakes, it is exhausting getting from one to the other.

also, we had hail in the evening and lots of frost in the morning! woo hoo

Spectacular challenge with elevation gain , wildlife, views, clear water !!

backpacking
9 months ago

Backpacked up to Goodwin Lakes with my pup. The hike is heavily wooded until you actually get to the lakes. The first two lakes are still below tree line for the most part but there is a path that goes up to the upper lake that has a great view and a nice waterfall. No fire pits up there but still a nice place. Overall a good hike and an okay place to spend the night.

backpacking
9 months ago

I'm not sure it gets more Colorado, than this trail. Aspen groves and pine forests, massive elevation gain potential, slightly sketchy traverse, and beautiful Alpine lakes with trout in them. One of my favorites for sure

hiking
9 months ago

Wrote a detailed blog post. You can read it here http://wp.me/p7ZycW-2l :)

Beautiful. Hiked this trail in the fall. The aspen trees were bright yellow, chill in the air. It was glorious.

backpacking
9 months ago

This area is everything we had hoped for! Beautiful scenery, wildlife, fishing. The hike wasn't too bad, beginning at the trailhead makes a big difference. Walking up the FS road would have taken a lot more time and energy. Saw a few other hikers but only one group camping near us. Great trip, we'll be back again!

Beautiful scenery, and I guess "moderate" is accurate, but they didn't give it that rating with 62 year old guys in mind. Consistent climb over rocky terrain and easy to miss the trail on the downhill leg. Trail marker at base of Rainbow Trail by my gps and my body was totally in accurate. From Gibson trail head, this is a 9-10 mile round trip.

The route shown on this app, is not the best route in my opinion. There is a route if you turn left (walking from the parking lot, to the trail on the app) following the Forest service signs, that is shorter and more scenic. I went up on the shorter route, and back on the longer route. The longer route has nothing to recommend it, again this is the route shown in the app, as it bypasses both of the impressive waterfalls I enjoyed on the way up, and the added mileage is almost entirely on an ATV track that is not particularly scenic.

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