The Colorado Trail (Denver to Monarch Pass)

South bound seems the preferred direction for hiking the Colorado Trail. But once it joins the Continental Divide Trail at Georgia Pass, the north bound traffic of through hikers on the Continental Divide greatly increases. Wherever the trail goes near a convenient access point, many hikers join. But in between, one can see that there are not too many through hikers, maybe 20-40 a day.

Denver to Breckenridge

It took me 6 days to cover the 104 miles section to Breckenridge. It starts at the relative low altitude of about 6000ft at the Waterton Canyon Trailhead near Denver and tops at 11875 over Georgia pass. The Continental Divide Trail junction is right after Georgia Pass. Along the way the mountains are mostly forested and green. It rained every day in the beginning, but there was enough time to dry up in between getting wet. I liked the Colorado columbine flower which were all over the area near Kenosha Pass.

Breckenridge to Twin Lakes

Continuing on the Colorado Trail, the highlights of the next section and the high points are the 2 passes, Tenmile and Elk Mountain. The log distance views were fantastic and the weather cooperated. Following through the Holy Cross Wilderness while is is not as high, it is still amazingly green. The southern portion of this section is were Mt Massive and Mt Elbert (the high point of Colorado) are and so are very crowded with day hikers going for the summit.

Twin Lakes to Monarch Pass

After Twin Lakes I took the Collegiate West option. On this option the trails climbs the Continental Divide in earnest. After 3 steep mountain passes, Hope Pass, Lake Ann Pass and Cottonwood Pass, the trail simply get on top of the divide and straddle from side to side for quite a few miles. Some of the passes approach 13,000′ of elevation. This seemed to be the most isolated and also the most scenic. At the high elevation there are only a few trees and the vistas are gorgeous.

I had to stop my hike at Monarch Pass, but I promise to continue at some point.

4 thoughts on “The Colorado Trail (Denver to Monarch Pass)

  1. kai M wiedman

    Thanks, Ron, nice to learn about the Colorado Trail. Your photos always evoke a love of the great outdoors.

  2. admin Post author

    Thanks Jacob. I think it is the highest through trail around. It has several passes just under 13000 as it goes back and forth over the Continental Divide.

  3. Bonnie Ruesch

    Nice pictures. Good to see that you are still out there packing through beautiful scenery.