Explore the most popular views 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
11 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!

backpacking
12 days ago

Hiked Humboldt Peak in July. It was my first true 14er. It was definitely difficult in some areas near the top of the peak. Overall it was achievable and very beautiful. You get a good view of the Crestones though the hike as well.

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
27 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
1 month 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
1 month 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

Great fishing at the lakes, lots of wildlife and things to explore. Sort of a long hike but worth it.

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.

1 month ago

Some scrambling needed at the top, otherwise great 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!!

My first hike in 10+ years. The trail had 2 areas that are quite an incline for new hikers. It was well worth the pain to make it to the upper lake. We had a once in a lifetime view of the moon setting behind the mountain while we ate our early lunch.

hiking
1 month ago

My wife, brother, my two kids (my son is 4, he rode in a backpack carrier, but my 6 year old did the hike) and I hiked up to Venable Falls.
According to my Apple Watch, the falls are 2.6 miles from the parking lot trailhead. There is a sign there clearly indicating the falls, and it’s a relatively easy climb down to the falls.

It was an awesome time and the falls were awesome to see.

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

I back packed this area last week. Yes, the road is rough, mostly with large boulders. I had no trouble getting to the TH with my 4wd 2012 RAV4 and all season tires. Go slow and pick your trail. As others have mentioned the partly exposed metal culvert is nasty - stay to right on the way up and all will be OK. The bugs are gone. There are many nice camp sites on the south side of the lower lake. Treat your water as there are many bighorn sheep and people in the area.

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
2 months 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.

2 months 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.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful views, but the trails needs work. Coming down after the summit is really difficult and would be easier with smaller steps. Avoid summitting and leaving same day - the trails will not be favourable conditions.

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.

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