10 Best Spring Hikes Near Buena Vista, Colorado

When venturing through the Colorado Rocky Mountains, a hike in Buena Vista should be on the top of your priority list.  Aside from this mountain town being one of the most picturesque Colorado destinations, there is endless amounts of outdoor activities to indulge in.  Here are some of the best hikes to take on this spring near Buena Vista.

Lost Lake

Difficulty Level:  Easy – Moderate

Though this hike starts out at nearly 11,200 feet, it’s only 2.4 miles roundtrip and yields some incredible views at the top of Cottonwood Pass.  You’ll get to see some beautiful wildflowers in bloom as you make your way to the lake, and on a clear day you may even catch a sighting of Pike’s Peak off in the distance.

Lost Lake Colorado
Image courtesy of Trover.

Lake Ann

Difficulty Level: Difficult

The hike to Lake Ann is cradled in a beautiful alpine basin beneath the Continental Divide, featuring fantastic views of Huron Peak and the Three Apostles. Wonderful views are endless and the wildflowers throughout the summer season are a sight to see.  This hike is 12.6 miles round trip with a pretty hearty elevation gain, so bring an abundance of water, snacks, and be sure you’re aware of what you’re getting into.

Browns Pass / Lake Hartenstein

Difficulty Level: Moderate – Difficult

Lake Hartenstein is a moderate to difficult hike with a beginning elevation of 9,900 feet.  You’ll enjoy some beautiful scenes as you make your way up to the lake.  Though it’s just less than 6 miles roundtrip it is not for beginner trekkers.  This trail is perfect for those with dogs, as well as those wanting to backpack into the backcountry for a night or two.

Browns Lake

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Browns Lake is a high alpine lake that is great for those wanting to bird watch or do some fishing.  You’ll make your way through meadows and past a waterfall on the 4 mile trek up to the lake.  If you’re looking for an extreme weekend in the mountains, spend the evening at Browns Lake and summit the popular Colorado 14er, Mt. Antero, the next morning.

Ptarmigan Lake

Difficulty Level: Moderate

Ptarmigan Lake is a beautiful hiiking and fishing destination along the awesome Sawatch Mountain Range. The lake views are impressive and is a popular wildflower trail come July eery year.

Elkhead Pass

Difficulty Level: Difficult

The 9 mile roundtrip trek along Elkhead Pass is an extreme one, but the panoramic views of surrounding mountain vistas will take your breath away (if the elevation hasn’t already).  You’ll top out at over 13,000 feet along your hike, and there are plenty of backpacking trails and trip options around this area.

Elkhead Pass Colorado
Image courtesy of Matt Mahoney.


Interlaken Trail

Difficulty Level: Easy

This hike is very easy as it traverses the south shore of Twin Lakes to Interlaken, and it holds an abundance of history as it was once home to a popular luxury resort that thrived in the 1800’s. Mt. Elbert serves as a backdrop to this trail and is one of the most popular 14er’s in Colorado.

North Fork Lake Creek

Difficulty Level: Moderate

North Fork Lake Creek travels a total of 8.1 miles round trip. Hike up a beautiful, secluded valley to a wind swept tarn and then a saddle on the Continental Divide overlooking the Frying Pan Lakes. The quiet valley offers fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities and amazing views of the towering peaks surrounding.

Bear Lake via Horn Fork Trail

Difficulty Level: 

Bear Lake is an 11 mile roundtrip with amazing views of three Colorado 14ers; Mt. Harvard, Mt. Columbia and Mt. Yale.  This hike up the expansive Horn Fork basin to Bear Lake, an absolute alpine jewel nestled snugly in a rugged bowl beneath the Continental Divide in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness.  Horses are allowed on this trail, so you may meet a new friend on the way!


Horn Fork Basin Colorado
Image courtesy of Colorado Guy.

North Cottonwood Creek Trailhead

Difficulty Level: Easy

Take on a milder section of the Colorado Trail on the Cottonwood Creek trail.  The road up is a little rough but adventurers have reported back doing fine in a 2WD sedan on the way up.

Pair a hike with one of our many whitewater rafting excursions on the Arkansas River and make your time in Colorado one to remember!

*Featured image courtesy of Mud-on-the-tires.