Trailhead: Visitor Center (Park Headquarters) Activities: Hiking, Camping Closest City / Town: Fruita, Colorado (Grand Junction) Driving Directions: Take Highway I-70 to Exit 19 (Fruita exit) and go south on Highway 340 to the west entrance, which is approximately three miles from Fruita. The Visitor Center is four miles up from the west entrance. Hiking Distances: 1.0 mile (roundtrip) Description: Colorado National Monument’s Canyon Rim Trail is a superb way to enjoy some of Colorado’s canyon country. The trail is perfect for young children and for those looking to take unforgettable, awe-inspiring photographs. From the Visitor Center, the trail takes off to the east. Follow the trail along the canyon rim for approximately .5 miles. From the end of the trail you have two options: 1) head back to the Visitor Center or 2) continue to the north, and hike the Window Rock Trail. We highly recommend pursuing the second option! Worth Noting: This trail, although relatively short, offers some of the best views in Colorado National Monument. Sentinel Spire, Pipe Organ, Independence Monument, and the Kissing Couple can all be viewed from the Canyon Rim Trail. Colorado National Monument rests on the northern edge of the Uncompahgre Uplift; it […]
1750 Rimrock Dr Fruita, CO 81521
Trailhead: McDonald Creek Trailhead Activities: Hiking, Camping Closest City / Town: Fruita, Colorado Driving Directions: Head out west from Grand Junction on I-70 for about 30 miles to the Rabbit Valley exit (Exit #2). Take a left (south) at the stop sign; cross over the freeway and a cattle guard. Stay on the main road going straight (southwest) for about 2.5 miles. The turn into the canyon is marked by Castle Rocks. When you reach this rock, you’ll turn left (east) onto another two-track road which follows the stream bed for about 0.3 miles to a parking area. NOTE: No motorized vehicles or bikes are permitted beyond this point!!! CAUTION: A high-clearance vehicle is recommended to get to the trailhead!!! Hiking Distance: 3.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: The McDonald Creek Trail is a fun and relatively gentle hike in Colorado (McInnis) Canyons National Conservation Area. Because there really is no trail, hikers simply need to follow the winding path of the usually dry creek bed. Tamarisk litter the last half-mile of the hike. Tamarisk are an invasive species that many states in the Southwest struggle to control. Worth Noting: Pictographs, pictographs, and yes, more pictographs!!! Moreover, there is amazing camping located at Castle Rocks (refer to the […]
Trailhead: Visitor Center Parking Lot (South Rim) Activities: Hiking, Camping Closest City / Town: Montrose, Colorado Driving Directions: Hiking Distance: 2.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: The Oak Flat Loop Trail is a great trail for just about any hiker. It is relatively short, easy to follow, and offers superb glimpses into the heart of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. However, you should be cautions while traversing the trail along a limited number of steep pitches. Please note that pets are not allowed on this trail. The trail commences on the west side of the visitor’s center. Initially, the trail descends to a signed junction. Hang a left and continue along the Oak Flat Loop (taking a right will actually lead you down to the bottom of the canyon). Next, the trail begins to head uphill as it courses its way to the west. Finally, the trail will loop back around to the east. Be sure to revel in the marvelous views on the return route. Worth Noting: The Views!!! The Painted Wall of the Black Canyon is the highest cliff in Colorado; from the river up to the rim it stands 2250 feet. The Black Canyon is 53 miles long, […]
Trailhead: Fourmile Day Use Area Entrance Activities: Hiking Closest City / Town: Divide, Colorado Driving Directions: Take Highway 24 to the Town of Divide; Hang a left (south) on State Highway 67; Two miles after the main entrance to Mueller State Park, take a right on Teller County Road 61; The trailhead is located approximately 1.75 miles down Teller County Road 61 Hiking Distance: 9.4 miles (roundtrip) Description: This trail is rated hard because of its distance. The trails making up this loop are well marked and non-technical. Yet, the hiking is grueling at times. Begin the hike from the west parking lot (elevation 8,800′), and follow the Willow Creek Trail (Trail #40) for a little over 3 miles. This section of trail gains nearly 1,000′ in elevation. You should pass the Sand Creek Trail (Trail #41), continuing on the Willow Creek Trail. Take a right onto the Spring Creek Trail (Trail #43) from the Willow Creek Trail, and follow it to the south side of Dome Rock. The trail drops precipitously down towards Fourmile Creek here. Eventually, this trail will take you to the west side of Dome Rock, offering superb views of the 800-foot tall exfoliated dome. Shortly after […]
Trailhead: Grizzly Gulch Trailhead (Near St. Elmo) Activities: Hiking, Camping, Skiing, Snowshoeing Closest City / Town: St. Elmo, Colorado Driving Directions: From Nathrop travel west on County Road 162 for about 16 miles to the Grizzly Gulch parking area. The gravel parking lot is located on the left side of the road right before the old renovated mining town of St. Elmo. This is the best area to park if you are going to make the hike up to Grizzly Lake. Although the road is vehicle accessible, it is extremely difficult to drive. There is a major vehicle obstacle located approximately .5 miles up the road. Hiking Distance: 5.6 Miles (roundtrip) Description: This is one of those hikes where hikers simply have to ignore vehicles all the way up and down the trail. Once you park at the Grizzly Gulch parking area, you will reach a junction with County Road (CR) 295. Take a left onto this road and continue on it for .2 miles. In .2 miles you will hit Forest Road (FR) 296. FR 296 will take you all of the way up to Grizzly Lake. The views of Grizzly Lake, the mining cabins leading up to the Lake, […]
Trailhead: North Tenmile Creek Trailhead (Frisco Main Street) Activities: Hiking, Camping, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Fishing Closest City / Town: Frisco, Colorado Driving Directions: Jump on I-70 and head towards Frisco. Get off on the Main Street exit (Exit 201) for Frisco. Instead of taking a left, which leads directly into Frisco, hang a right and park in the dirt parking lot. This is the parking lot for the North Tenmile Creek Trail. Hiking Distance: The hike is 7.0 miles (roundtrip) to the Gore Range Trail junction. Description: North Tenmile Creek is a fun adventure into the southern tip of the Gore Range. The Gore Range is one of Colorado’s most rugged mountain ranges. Initially, the trail follows a closed jeep path up the valley. After approximately two miles of hiking, you will enter the single-track country of Eagles Nest Wilderness Area. After another 1.5 miles of traveling, you will run into a junction with the Gore Range Trail. If you decide to head south, you will go to Copper Mountain. If you decide to head north, you can follow the Gore Range Trail for up to 50 miles. Worth Noting: This is an excellent winter trail as well. Mushrooms adorn the sides […]
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 Deer Creek Trail page on Nomad Colorado. Happy trails!
Trailhead: Geneva Creek Activities: Hiking, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Camping Closest City / Town: Grant, Colorado Driving Directions: From Denver, drive southwest on US 285 approximately 40 miles to Grant. Turn right (north) onto Park County 62 (towards Guanella Pass), and drive 5.5 miles to the trailhead. The trailhead is on the west (left) side of the road and is located just south of Burning Bear Campground. Note: there is a large parking area at the trailhead. Hiking Distance: 5.5 miles (one way); 11.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: The first mile of the Burning Bear Trail is relatively flat. You then leave the meadow area and begin climbing through a stand of lodgepole pine. Approximately 2.5 miles from the trailhead you will come to remnants of an old log cabin on the left (see “Rustic Cabin” photo on the right). The trail then becomes steep and switchbacks to the ridge summit at 3.7 miles. A six-foot tree stump that has 2 metal diamond-shaped markers (cross country ski markers) designates the high point of the trail. From this saddle, the trail begins to descend in a southwesterly direction. Fifteen minutes down the ridge you will cross Lamping Creek as it drains west. From this point, […]
Trailhead: Echo Lake Lodge Activities: Hiking, Camping, Skiing, Snowshoeing Closest City / Town: Idaho Springs, Colorado Driving Directions: From I-70, head west towards Idaho Springs. Get off on Highway 103 (exit 240) and head south. Go south for approximately 12 miles. Park near the Echo Lake Lodge Hiking Distances: 9.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: The Chicago Lakes Trail is a great hiking opportunity and location in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. The trailhead is located at 10,600′; the final destination is at 11,800′. From the trailhead, pick up one of the numerous social trails heading southwest. You’ll essentially skirt the southern boundary of Echo Lake. After leaving the southwest edge of Echo Lake, the trial drops precipitously for about a mile until it hits Chicago Creek. The Creek is dammed shortly up the trail, creating Idaho Springs Reservoir. The trail is relatively flat as it bypasses the dam. Once you get to the southern edge of the dam, the trail climbs the remaining three miles to Chicago Lakes. On your way, you’ll go through a 400-acre burn area that caught fire in 1978. The first of the two Chicago lakes is right at treeline. The second lake is above treeline. It’s 4.5 miles […]
Trailhead: Hell’s Hole Activities: Hiking, Camping, Skiing, Snowshoeing Closest City / Town: Idaho Springs, Colorado Driving Directions: From I-70, head west towards Idaho Springs. Get off on Highway 103; head south. Six and a half miles south of Idaho Springs on Highway 103, take the West Chicago Creek Road (located just before the first large switchback on 103) for three miles. The trailhead starts where the road ends. Walk through the Chicago Creek Picnic Area. Hiking Distances: 7.0 miles (roundtrip) Description: Hell’s Hole Trail is a great hiking opportunity and location in the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. The trailhead is located at 9,500′; the final destination is at 11,200′. From the trailhead, travel along West Chicago Creek for approximately one mile. The trail quickly gains elevation as it skirts through a large grove of aspen trees – and, yes, this is absolutely beautiful in the fall. The second and third miles are rocky but less steep. The trail’s terminus is at Hell’s Hole. Hell’s Hole is an expansive cirque. Don’t forget to bring and enjoy lunch in the expansive meadow that rests at the base of Gray Wolf Mountain. Worth Noting: Snowshoeing this trail in the winter provides a greater sense […]
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!