Trailhead: Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Indian Hills Driving Directions: From the junction of C-470 and US-285, head southwest on US-285 S Continue west on US-285 for 4.2 miles Exit right onto County Road 120 (aka Parmalee Gulch Road) Continue on Parmalee Gulch Road for approximately 4.3 miles The trailhead will be on your left (west) at the very top of the hill; look for a large gravel parking lot. Hiking Distance: ~3.3 miles (roundtrip) Description: Cross over to the east side of Parmalee Gulch Road from the trailhead. Continue on the Bear Creek Trail for 1.2 miles until you reach your first trail intersection. Hang a left at the junction onto the West Ridge Loop Trail. You’ll stay on the West Ridge Loop Trail for just under a mile until you reach your next intersection. Don’t miss out on the incredible views to the west. Take a left at the next intersection and remain on the West Ridge Loop Trail. After another .8 miles, take a right and follow the Bear Creek Trail back to the trailhead. Other Information: This loop offers some fantastic views of the Mount Evans Wilderness Area and Mount Evans to the west. Take your time and […]
Trailhead: Bear Lake Trailhead Activities: Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing Closest City / Town: Estes Park, Colorado Driving Directions: The Bear Lake Trailhead is located at the end of Bear Lake Road (see map). The easiest way to access Bear Lake Road is by entering Rocky Mountain National Park from the east at the Beaver Meadows Entrance Station. Hiking Distance: 0.6 mile loop Description: Rocky Mountain National Park is very busy during the summer. Bear Lake is no exception. We prefer to snowshoe in the area during the winter to avoid the crowds. This hike is an excellent adventure for little ones who can’t tackle a long journey. The 0.6 mile loop wraps around Bear Lake and can be enjoyed year-round. Worth Noting: Keep a keen eye out for wildlife. Additional Information: Official Rocky Mountain National Park Website
We’re excited to announce a new partnership between The Colorado Hiker and Nomad Colorado. Over the upcoming months, all of the content on this website will be transferred to Nomad Colorado. The content of this page has already been transferred and can be found on the Lost Lake Trail page on Nomad Colorado. Happy trails!
Lake Isabelle Trailhead: Long Lake Trailhead (near Brainard Lake) Activities: Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Snowshoeing, Fishing Closest City / Town: Ward, Colorado Driving Directions: The Long Lake Trailhead is within the Brainard Lake Recreation Area, off Highway 72, 13 miles north of Nederland, and just north of Ward. Turn west onto Brainard Lake Road (County Road 102, National Forest System Road 112). (Note: This road is closed at the halfway point to Brainard Lake from late October through late June/early July). Travel approximately 5 miles on the paved road to Brainard Lake. The Long Lake Trailhead is .5 miles up the left fork of a side road that turns off at the west end of Brainard Lake. Hiking Distances: (all distances are one way) Long Lake: .2 miles Lake Isabelle: 2.1 miles Description: The Brainard Lake area is a busy little bee during the warm season, as is much of the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. However, it’s incredibly beautiful. Heading out from the Long Lake Trailhead, the trail begins its relatively gentle ascent up to Long Lake and Lake Isabelle. After a quarter-mile of trekking, the trail intersects the Jean Lunning Trail, which will take you over to and around Long Lake. […]
Trailhead: Just about anywhere (there really are no formal trailheads used to jump onto the Great Sand Dunes, although most people begin their hike near Medano Creek) Activities: Hiking, Camping (paid campground or backpacking) Closest City / Town: Blanca, Colorado Driving Directions: From Denver, Colorado Springs, or Pueblo, the fastest route is to start by heading south on I-25 to Walsenburg. Head west on US 160. Finally, swing north on state highway 150. Colorado 150 will take you directly to the Great Sand Dunes. Hiking Distance: As short or as long as you desire. The Great Sand Dunes — encompassing 30 square miles — offer excellent free-lance hiking. Description: We can’t provide you with too much information because there is no trail on the dunes. What we can say is that visiting the Great Sand Dunes is a life experience that you will likely never forget. Try to visit the Great Sand Dunes during the late spring or early summer when Medano Creek is flowing full-force. Bathing in the creek is a great way to beat the heat. It’s also a perfect way to keep your kids happy and fully entertained. The “High Dune” is neither the highest in elevation nor […]
Paint Mines Park Trailhead: Paint Mines Road Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Calhan, Colorado Driving Directions: From Colorado Springs, head east on Highway 24. Go through the Town of Calhan. Hang a right (south) on Yoder Road; Yoder Road is located at the eastern end of Calhan. Take a left (east) on Paint Mines Road. Follow the road for approximately 1 mile. The trailhead is located on the left-hand side of the road. Hiking Distance: 1.8 miles (roundtrip) Description: One of the best things about this park is its close proximity to Colorado Springs. The hike down the paint mines formations is a relatively gentle stroll that follows a well-maintained foot path. All you have to do is continue to make right-hand turns at the three trail junctions that you will encounter while hiking (see the attached map). Visit the area during dawn or dusk when it’s most photogenic! Worth Noting: Paint Mines holds numerous treasures, human and natural alike. Human history in the park can be traced back 9,000 years. Native Americans used the colorful clays for pottery and ceremonial paints. The natural geological features are mind-boggling. Hoodoos have been shaped by millions of years of clay deposits and […]
Trailhead: Pawnee ButtesTrailhead Activities: Hiking, Camping Closest City / Town: Keota, Colorado Driving Directions: The Pawnee Buttes Trail is located north east of Greeley on CR 685. There are numerous signs to Pawnee Buttes, but we recommend you always carry a map with you. From Colorado State Highway 14, turn north on CR 390. Go 13.7 miles on CR 390 to CR 112. Take a right (head east) on CR 112. Go 6.4 miles on CR 112 to CR 107. Turn right on CR 107. Travel 1.9 miles on CR 107 to CR 685. Go left on CR 685 for 1.2 miles to the Pawnee Buttes Trailhead. (You can camp anywhere along CR 685. You will find more camping information below.) Hiking Distance: Approximately 4 miles (roundtrip) Description: The Pawnee Buttes are located in the northeast corner of Weld County, Colorado, approximately 13 miles south of the Wyoming border. A predominant geologic feature within the Pawnee National Grassland, the Buttes rise 300 feet above the prairie. A 1.5 mile trail leads hikers to the first Butte. It is another .5 miles to the second butte. The second Butte is on private land but may be accessed unless otherwise posted. If there is a gate, […]
Pawnee Buttes National Grassland