Explore the most popular fishing 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.

Very beautiful this time of year! Lake is thawed and hardly any snow

backpacking
3 days 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.

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.

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

backpacking
7 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.

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.

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.

backpacking
8 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
8 months ago

fishing
9 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.

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

hiking
9 months ago

Got stuck in a hail storm all the way down, but the views are totally worth it.

backpacking
10 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

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

backpacking
10 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!

10 months ago

Beautiful trail, good fishing, lots of wildlife.

hiking
10 months ago

We were told you couldn't drive to the trail head so we parked at the bottom. After hiking up 2.5 mi we saw everyone parked there which was frustrating. So, we hiked an extra 5 miles so app 14 mi all total. That being said, once we got to the lakes it was beautiful. Great views of the Crestones. Had we started at the trailhead, it would have been a very moderate hike and well worth it. I will do it again!

Completed the loop today (Up V, down C). Conditions and the trail were both fantastic. Lots of wildflowers, and, with the exception of one ~150 meter stretch near Comanche lake, the trail was dry. Lot of bugs in the lower elevations.

on South Colony Lakes Trail

10 months ago

any snow remaining?

backpacking
10 months ago

Awesome hike. Access road to the trailhead is 4WD high clearance. To take this to the top of humbolt it is 16 miles round trip. Great wildlife, wildflowers, waterfall, lakes, this trail has it all.

backpacking
10 months ago

In late june, there was quite a bit of snowmelt on the Comanche side. Phantom terrace is something you don't want to miss. Hiking up venable lake side and down comanche is the way to go. Hard to catch fish in the high winds, but there are fish in the lakes

hiking
11 months ago

My very first fourteener! We hiked up the gorge which was extremely hard and came down the ridge. We needed up getting lost because of snow patches but it was totally worth it. Stunning views front the top! Very beautiful

backpacking
11 months ago

Climbed this peak in summer of 2010. Anticlimactic peak following great views of the Crestones. Be sure to take water!!!

backpacking
Sunday, February 05, 2017

Done this one a couple times, not that bad physically, till you get up to the Lakes - uphill from there. Climbed Mt. Humboldt and have snow shoe'ed in during winter months always quite and remote. Plenty of snow and Beautiful views, lots of timber down low but just keep climbin' timberline awaits !

hiking
Thursday, February 02, 2017

One of the most epic and flower filled hikes I have EVER done if not #1. do it in the summer/late spring

Sunday, October 30, 2016

very demanding,coming down very had on knees,always stepping on or over rocks very few level spots beautiful at top will not do again too many better trails

fishing
Thursday, September 15, 2016

Awesome!!

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