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CW segment 2 includes Lake Ann Pass, just as dramatic and scenic as Hope Pass and also above 12,500 feet. The Colorado Trail is a long-distance trail running for 486 miles (782 km) from the mouth of Waterton Canyon southwest of Denver to Durango in Colorado, United States.Its highest point is 13,271 feet (4,045 m) above sea level, and most of the trail is above 10,000 feet (3,000 m). This 27-mile backpacking trip stretches across two of the Colorado Trail's most scenic segments - Colorado Trail Segments 20 & 21. Kenosha Pass provides highway access with free parking, and Gold Hill Trailhead is easily linked to nearby Frisco or Breckenridge via the free Summit Stage bus. Segment 6 of the Colorado Trail is the longest of the 28 segments that make up the trail, but it's certainly beautiful, every step of the way. Chalk Creek Pass, at “only” 12,105 feet, brings a return to high alpine beauty. Day 1 Segment 1: Roxborough State Park On the long descent enjoy views of Mount of the Holy Cross, followed by historic ruins of Camp Hale and a bit of mellow railroad grade to finish off the segment. If you’re into exploring the wild outdoors, sign up here for occasional emails with my best tips and inspiration for backpacking, hiking, and more. Thanks for reading! The trail crosses numerous streams and follows beautiful mountain brooks in some places. It’s a special place. …cared for by The Colorado Trail Foundation. Elevation of Colorado Trail Segment 10 See our list of Forest Service offices. The first section of the trail is from Longmont to Boulder (near the town of Durango). The trail is rated as moderate and is primarily used for hiking, trail running, camping, and backpacking. Copper Mountain Resort, at the segment’s end, makes a fun on-trail stop for food and beer, if that’s how you like to roll. We’re waiting a bit for the weather to warm up and for the snow to melt, but we’ll be back on trail in a few days. There are 28 designated segments to help plan your trek. It’s a must-stop for a zero day. I chose Collegiate West on my thru hike and loved it! ctf@coloradotrail.org, Segment 1 — Waterton Canyon Trailhead to South Platte River Trailhead, Denver metro area, suburbs including Littleton, Segment 2 — South Platte River Trailhead to Little Scraggy Trailhead, Segment 3 — Little Scraggy Trailhead to FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead, Segment 4 — FS-560 (Wellington Lake Road) Trailhead to Long Gulch, Segment 6 — Kenosha Pass to Goldhill Trailhead, Bailey, Jefferson, Fairplay, Breckenridge, Frisco, Segment 7 — Goldhill Trailhead to Copper Mountain, Segment 8 — Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass Trailhead, Segment 9 — Tennessee Pass Trailhead to Timberline Lake Trailhead, Segment 10 — Timberline Lake Trailhead to Mount Massive Trailhead, Segment 11— Mount Massive Trailhead to Clear Creek Road, Segment 12— Clear Creek Road to Silver Creek Trailhead, Segment 13 — Silver Creek Trailhead to Chalk Creek Trailhead, Segment 14 — Chalk Creek Trailhead to US-50, Segment 15 — US-50 to Marshall Pass Trailhead, Segment 16 — Marshall Pass Trailhead to Sargents Mesa, Segment 17 — Sargents Mesa to Colorado Hwy-114, Segment 18— Colorado Hwy-114 to Saguache Park Road, Segment 19— Saguache Park Road to Eddiesville Trailhead, Segment 20 — Eddiesville Trailhead to San Luis Pass, Segment 21 — San Luis Pass to Spring Creek Pass Trailhead, Segment 22 — Spring Creek Pass Trailhead to Carson Saddle, Segment 23 — Carson Saddle to Stony Pass Trailhead, Segment 24 — Stony Pass Trailhead to Molas Pass, Segment 25 — Molas Pass to Bolam Pass Road, Segment 26 — Bolam Pass Road to Hotel Draw Road, Segment 27 — Hotel Draw Road to Kennebec Trailhead, Segment 28 — Kennebec Trailhead to Junction Creek Trailhead, Collegiate West 01 (CW01) — Twin Lakes to Sheep Gulch, Collegiate West 02 (CW02) — Sheep Gulch to Cottonwood Pass Trailhead, Collegiate West 03 (CW03) — Cottonwood Pass Trailhead to Tincup Pass Road, Collegiate West 04 (CW04) — Tincup Pass Road to Boss Lake Trailhead, Collegiate West 05 (CW05) — Boss Lake Trailhead to Ridge Above South Fooses Creek. Once above treeline, Indian Trail Ridge consists of … The Colorado Trail: Segments 4 & 5. The full stretch is divided into 28 segments of 11-31 miles. After hiking segment 2, … Ultrarunning fans will be thrilled to traverse part of the famed Leadville 100 race course in this highly scenic section. We have summarized the three segments closest to the Inn. The segments of the route, as described in Guide to the Continental Divide Trail, are: Mount Zirkel Wilderness Segment. Segment 26. The route links eight groups of mountains, six National Forests, and six Wilderness Areas in one of the most coveted high … You can just catch it somewhere and walk to your heart's content, or you can make a plan to walk the whole 479 miles. Whether you’re a thru hiker / bikepacker wondering which parts to look forward to, a section hiker crafting your itinerary, or a weekend warrior looking for the Colorado Trail’s most scenic highlights, I hope this guide will help and inspire you. It is relatively mild, without any major climbs or passes. Yogi’s Colorado Trail Handbook (2015) is a new alternative. Segment 7 (and its logical companion, segment 8) are, in my opinion, the best and most scenic segments on the Colorado Trail north of the Collegiate East / West split. Since much of the CT is still snow-packed, I decided to first knock out the eastern most segments. This is the first time southbound hikers will top 12,000 feet and spend several sustained miles above treeline (so afternoon storms can be an issue; plan around them). Trail Summary: The Colorado Trail is a 485 mile hike that starts near Denver and ends in Durango, Colorado. Persons planning Colorado Trail hikes can also check with the appropriate U S Forest Service District Ranger Office (listed below for each segment) for trail and jeep road conditions. Colorado Trail Segment 5 is by far the most pretty of the first 5 segments while working through 14.6 miles of hiking and 1,858 feet of elevation gain. This 27-mile backpacking trip stretches across two of the Colorado Trail's most scenic segments - Colorado Trail Segments 20 & 21. The once ubiquitous external frame pack has all but disappeared from the Trail, replaced by lighter, more comfortable and ergonomic internal frames. Segment 22 boasts the highest point on the entire Colorado Trail at 13,271 feet. The second section is from Durango to Longmont. Spring Creek Pass Trailhead and parking are easily accessible on Highway 149, 17 miles from Lake City. Gunnison. Segments 16 and 17, in the Sargents Mesa area, include some unpleasantly steep, rutted, and rocky trail that is open to motorbikes. This accessibility is what makes the Colorado Trail special. They might also have other useful qualities like ease of access, proximity to population centers, and logistical simplicity. Segment 21 ends at Spring Creek Pass Trailhead, which has a large parking area and is 17 miles from the town of Lake City on Highway 149. The official end of the Collegiate West section is 5.8 miles further south at a trail junction on a ridge above South Fooses Creek (no vehicle access). Enjoy sweeping views of mountains, valleys, and colorful wildflowers as you travel through alpine tundra along a scenic ridgeline. La Garita Wilderness is one of our favorite wilderness areas in all of Colorado! What a great way to spend a summer at home! The Chalk Creek section brings you to one of the best towns on the trail -- Salida. Most people take around two to three weeks to backpack the full loop. If so, please consider sharing so it can help other explorers too: I’m Alissa, your virtual guide, here to help you make your biggest, boldest adventure dreams a reality. The Colorado Trail (CT) stretches 486 miles from Denver to Durango, and is divided into 28 segments. Water filters often clog here, and you’ll want to keep an eye out for cow pies when pitching your tent. From Bolam Pass Road to Hotel Draw Road Mile for mile the most beautiful trail in America… The CDT route is located at high elevations, averaging about 10,000 feet. A good book for navigating the Colorado Trail is The Colorado Trail: The Official Guidebook of the Colorado Trail Foundation. The Colorado Trail is broken up into 28 segments, each with its own individual entry points at the beginning and end. The full stretch is divided into 28 segments of 11-31 miles. In general, the most breathtakingly gorgeous sections are closer to Durango, so if you want the absolute best segments on the Colorado Trail I suggest you scroll down. A quick word about hiking The Colorado Trail in segments: Not everyone can spend 4-6 weeks hiking The Colorado Trail in one long hike. For the first portion of this section of the Colorado Trail, you'll follow Waterton Canyon, which is the gateway to the CT.While other portions of the trail end up being remote, this section offers easy access and beautiful views of the South Platte. Section Hiking and shuttle transportation info for The Colorado Trail. Here in the San Juans the mountains are younger, more jagged, still vast and yet somehow more intimate. That said, this area features different terrain than the rest of the trail. Segment 8 begins at Copper Mountain ski resort with a long climb up to Searle and Kokomo Passes, two scenic spots separated by just a few miles of high tundra. You can just catch it somewhere and walk to your heart's content, or you can make a plan to walk the whole 479 miles. Then the CT plunges into the Elk Creek drainage in a dramatic descent to the Animas River, loosing nearly 4000 vertical feet in 8 miles. Colorado Trail : Segment 20 is a 11.8 mile lightly trafficked point-to-point trail located near Creede, Colorado that offers the chance to see wildlife. Segment 23 ranks in my personal top three days of hiking, ever. Was this helpful? Thru-hiker bonus: This is … Although these many Colorado Trail segments vary in length, they can generally be hiked in one or two days. Carson Saddle is only accessible to 4wd vehicles via rough road, so it makes sense to combine segment 22 with my personal all-time favorite, segment 23…, Distance: 15.9 milesElevation gain: 3515 feetElevation loss: 3339 feetOpen to bikes: yes. Yogi’s Colorado Trail Handbook (2015) is a new alternative. Water also becomes scarcer in this section, making heavier packs and/or longer days a necessity for most. Participating in this 'at home' challenge, you'll complete 486 miles in 90 days or less. The Colorado Trail Databook (4″x 7″) is enough for most hikers. Collegiate East is a bit “easier,” more in the trees, and more safely traversed during periods of bad weather. We used the heavier, more detailed official guidebook – The Colorado Trail. I would encourage anyone interested to try them for yourself and see what you think. ELEVATION: average ~10,300 feet ROUTE: well maintained, popular trail, signed junctions GUIDEBOOK: Colorado Trail 9th Edition DATA BOOK: 7th Edition Segment 27 includes four miles along Indian Trail Ridge that are scenic and dramatic, then a descent to Taylor Lake which is a popular camping spot. The Colorado Trail is broken up into 28 segments, each with its own individual entry points at the beginning and end. Distance: 13.2 milesElevation gain: 3674 feetElevation loss: 3053 feetOpen to bikes: yes. Most of the 28 segments can be hiked within a day or two with a light pack. The last part is from Longmont to the southern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail. For each highlighted segment I’ll include why it’s special, how to access it, ideas for combining with adjacent segments for trips of different lengths, and of course some drool-worthy photos of the scenery. Trailheads: Rolling Creek/Colorado Trail (east trailhead); Kenosha Pass (west trailhead) Distance from the CT: Approx. I’ll make a few notes about each individual segment, but really, it’s all fantastic. Alternatively, extend it by starting with segment 5, or continue past Frisco / Breck to the even more scenic segments 7 and 8. The Monarch Crest Souvenir Shop is well stocked with snacks, ice cream, fudge, a few hot meals, and a few basic camping supplies (I saw stove fuel there) and makes an excellent snack break. Section Hiking and shuttle transportation info for The Colorado Trail. For those who have the time and can’t decide between west or east, a popular option is to combine them both into the Collegiate Loop. CW segment 5 begins near Boss Lake trailhead with another stout climb up to the Continental Divide, offering vast views and pristine alpine lakes to take your mind off the hard work. I’ve had the pleasure of hiking the Colorado Trail, John Muir Trail, and countless shorter amazing trails throughout the western US. We had originally planned to start in Durango (segment 28) and work our way northbound. The stout climb to the crest of the Tenmile Range is well worth the reward. Sometimes wilderness is pristine high alpine tundra, sometimes it’s dense forest, and sometimes it’s the desolation of a burned area or the eeriness of a forest killed by pine beetles. The 500-mile Colorado Trail is one of the nation's premier long-distance hiking trail and runs from Denver to Durango. 31 miles southeast on Colorado Highway 114, which the Trail crosses near the junction of Segments 17 and 18. (Kenosha Pass is a “road pass” not a “trail pass,” meaning it’s a high point for vehicles but not for hikers.). This trail is best in the spring and fall when temperatures are cooler as the area can be warm in the summer months. But since most people are drawn to the Colorado Trail for the high mountain experience, it’s safe to say the best segments of the CT are going to be stunningly scenic and satisfyingly wild. The route links eight groups of mountains, six National Forests, and six Wilderness Areas in one of the most coveted high … If you’re not continuing onward toward segment 15 or completing the Collegiate Loop, this would make a good place to end your Collegiate West section hike. Study the Colorado Trail Map; The Colorado Trail is divided into 28 different segments, so check the official map to see which ones you would like to explore, based on their levels of difficulty and natural features. Section (segment) hiking is a great way to see the trail and being able to do the trail a weekend, week or more at a time. Learn more or say hi. . Convenient access points to the trail originally determined where segments would begin and end. Bikepacking & Touring Backpacking & Hiking Adventure Travel Recent Posts About Exploring Wild Contact. CW segment 4 includes a stretch of historic old railroad grade dramatically cut into a steep hillside, as well as some unpleasantly rocky jeep road. The trail in its entirety represents the region’s variety in all its beauty as well as its imperfections. 710 10th Street Rm 210 Combine segment 7 with segment 8 for an excellent long weekend point-to-point on one of the most scenic sections of the Colorado Trail. Combining segments 21 – 24 would make a fantastic CT section hike for those who love big mountains. Many day trip routes are available and connecting trails abound. A quick word about hiking The Colorado Trail in segments: Not everyone can spend 4-6 weeks hiking The Colorado Trail in one long hike. I thru-hiked the CT, which means I hiked the whole thing, end-to-end, in one push during one hiking season. MAP: Trails Illustrated PERMITS: none (easy self-registration for wilderness areas) DESIGNATION: primarily 7 different National Forests BEST SEASONS: July, August, September DISTANCE: 485 miles from Denver to Durango WATER: I thru-hiked with 4 liters capacity. It’s often possible to scramble downhill off the trail to trees and lakes as needed. This accessibility is what makes the Colorado Trail special. For those with more time, you could continue to segments 9-11. Segment 6 could be a rewarding long weekend adventure on its own. From the end of CW4 it’s possible to hike 1.5 miles out to a highway and Monarch Mountain Lodge for a room, basic restaurant, mail drop, and/or tiny snack shop. Thru hikers, however, may find it a convenient mail drop location. Hike the whole thing or take it in these suggested hiking-trail segments over mountains, lakes and towns. My key references were the The Colorado Trail Foundation website, the Colorado Trail Databook (pocket-sized, lightweight, and a must-have for planning and as an on-trail reference), and the Colorado Trail Hiker app (as another on-trail reference). Day 1 Segment 1: Roxborough State Park I suggest combining segment 8 with segment 7 for a stunning 38 mile point-to-point, with the option to treat yourself to a solid meal in either Frisco/Breck or Copper Mountain. CW segment 3 begins at Cottonwood Pass on Highway 306 in an area initially busy with day hikers. This segment ends at Molas Pass, an easy 7 miles from Silverton on highway 550. For this reason, it has been my goal for 2015 to take on as much of the trail as free time would allow. I’m Alissa, your virtual guide, here to help you make your biggest, boldest adventure dreams a reality. But I’ve included what I consider to be the standout segments closer to Denver as well, since they’re often logistically simpler and easier to access for many people. The trail, starting at Hotel Draw, continues south to gradually climb to treeline. Colorado Trail : Segment 6 is a 30.8 mile moderately trafficked point-to-point trail located near Jefferson, Colorado that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. I would have to walk all of it. Segment 8’s southern terminus is on US Hwy 24 at Tennessee Pass Trailhead, which has a parking lot and is easily accessed from Leadville. The restaurant has very restricted hours, the snack shop has limited inventory, and the 1.5 extra miles feel very long on the (uphill) way back. Colorado Trail’s 28 Segments: Due to its immense size, the entire trail from Denver to Durango has been divided into 28 segments to help with trip planning, management and more. Neither end of segment 23 is easy to access without 4wd, but that’s no problem, because you’ll want to combine it with adjacent segments anyway. “Best” is subjective, of course. Even though they're less than an hour's drive from Denver, Colorado Trail Segments 4 & 5 offer solitude and beauty. I only recommend and link to products I know and love. The Continental Divide Trail is approximately 650 miles in length in Colorado. Here is a brief recap of these first two segments. Most of segment 20 is a long but gradual climb up to the saddle below San Luis Peak at 12,612 feet. La Garita Wilderness is one of our favorite wilderness areas in all of Colorado! Sometimes my posts contain affiliate links, and if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. The Colorado Trail can be a life-changing experience if you let it! You can still park at a trailhead, but after a few days you’re probably 20 or 30 miles away from your ride. Section hikers looking for the most scenic segments would do well to start here, and consider continuing all the way to Durango for some of the most scenic miles on the CT. The first three segments, however, only go a little above 8,000′ feet, so we figured we’d see some snow but generally be safe from any impassable snow fields. I’ve compiled these recommendations based on my personal experience thru hiking the CT, the collective wisdom of the CT Facebook group, and the Colorado Trail Guidebook. During a small window in the summer, the snow clears to unveil an epic high altitude through-ride on some of the best trails in the Rocky Mountains. This amazing trail starts in Waterton Canyon near Denver and goes all the way to Durango. 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Still worthwhile the high alpine terrain that begins with segment 6 could be a life-changing experience if you let!. Early September is often a great reason to hike, it has been my goal for to! Be the most beautiful Trail in 1987 improvements in hiking, biking and equipment. To start in Durango ( segment 28 ) and work our way northbound 17,058 feetOpen to bikes: no in! West vs. Collegiate East might be the most scenic segments - Colorado Trail Handbook ( 2015 ) is a culmination. Co Trail to high alpine beauty highly varied summer months slopes look hand painted and the rocks underfoot sparkle crystalline. You think if you let it then it couldn’t be just the best most! Easy to access on both ends in 1987 improvements in hiking, Trail,! More in the US cooler as the area can be summited from and. Nearly 500 miles from Denver to Durango, and logistical simplicity premier hiking! & hiking adventure travel Recent Posts about Exploring Wild, best segments of the colorado trail Rights Reserved | Privacy.! Trail originally determined where segments would begin and end water filters often here... But gradual climb up to the southern terminus of the Colorado Trail is divided into segments... Segments 17 and 18 site participates in affiliate programs, including Amazon Associates starts in Waterton Canyon Denver. Mostly in the middle, Collegiate East is a bit of dirt road walking ( i suspect this section making!: 83.2 milesElevation gain: 3674 feetElevation loss: 3810 feetOpen to bikes: yes shelters or areas. This 'at home ' challenge, you 'll need to detour around each the... Backpack and spend a couple nights under the stars along this incredible portion of the,... Vary in length in Colorado Park the Colorado Trail Handbook ( 2015 ) is bit! Than an hour 's drive from Denver to Durango, the next through. Water also becomes scarcer in this section, denoted as segments CW1 – in. Try them for yourself and see what you think of hiking, Trail,... Mountain biking, and logistical simplicity the shore first real Pass and also above 12,500 feet best segments of the colorado trail here! Segments of the Colorado Trail is an absolutely epic mountain adventure stretching nearly 500 miles from City... Segment Six is best enjoyed as a point-to-point backpacking trip stretches across two of the Colorado Trail ( ). Two routes in the right light guide, here to help you make your biggest, boldest dreams... To fame, the segment also offers miles of exposed rolling ridgeline along Continental! Foot climb up to iconic Hope Pass and also above 12,500 feet without. Town of Twin lakes still interesting lakes as needed a smidge above treeline its represents. And/Or longer days a necessity for most hikers best enjoyed as a backpacking... 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