Segment 11-15

Mount Massive Trailhead to Marshall Pass

segment 11

Segment 11

Mount Massive Trailhead to Clear Creek Road

  • 21.5 Miles
  • Water Availability: Great
  • Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
  • Camping: A few good spots to camp 
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: This trail is a fairly easy trail for those looking for a nice outing on the Colorado Trail. There is a decent amount of climbing in this segment, but the trail around Twin Lakes is a very easy ride. The Colorado Trail divides into the Collegiate West and East in this segment. We stayed to the Collegiate East trail, which is the better option for horseback riding.

Concerns:​ No major concerns! Just stay safe.

segment 12

Segment 12

Clear Creek Road to Silver Creek Trailhead

  • 18.5 Miles
  • Water Availability: Good
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Camping: Some good camping spots
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: After a few segments that allowed us to take it "easy," we started out this segment with a 5 mile climb up approximately 3,000 ft. In our 2017 ride, we camped at Pine Creek. It was one of the most beautiful locations we set up our camp. After Pine Creek, there is another climb up and then a lengthy descent over the remaining miles.

Concerns: This segment has an elevation gain of 4,866 ft and elevation loss of 4,364 ft. It is a long climb up, then a long way down.

Trail Description: Segment 12 starts at Clear Creek Road. The campground right next to Clear Creek and is a great place to set up and camp with horses. You can cross the creek over a steel bridge. No bicycles are allowed on this segment as you enter the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness. 

The next few miles are spent climbing almost 3,000 ft up Waverly Mountain, until you continue back down the switchbacks on the other side.

In 2017, we camped at Pine Creek. Though, we have heard that Rainbow Lake a little bit off trail around mile 8, is a great place to camp, as well.

Continue on climbing back up Mount Harvard before starting another descent. You will also reach the ridge of Mount Columbia, before a descending down the remaining 6 miles.

segment 13

Segment 13

Silver Creek Trailhead to Chalk Creek Trailhead

  • 22.8 Miles
  • Water Availability: Great
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Camping: A few potential camping spots
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: This segment starts off with a 3 mile climb up approximately 2,000 feet and then a lengthy descent back down. Toward the end of the segment, you will spend a few miles riding along the roads. The trail ends up taking you through Mount Princeton as you make your way to the Chalk Creek Trailhead.

Concerns: There is an elevation gain of 4,296 ft. and an elevation loss of 5,343 ft on this segment.

Camping was not on our mind in the middle of this segment, though we are sure there would have been some suitable spots to stop. But knowing what the next segment held as far as concerns for water and camping spots, we pushed through this whole segment to find a campground at the start of Segment 14.

Trail Description: Segment 13 starts at Silver Creek Trailhead. Expect of lot of climbing and a lot of descending throughout this whole trail. 

There are a lot of great water sources along this segment.

The last few miles of this segment before the trail takes you into town, you will be descending down a dirt road. The Mount Princeton Stables and Hot Springs Lodge may be a good place to camp. We recommend calling and making reservations, if needed.

segment 14

Segment 14

Chalk Creek Trailhead to US HWY 50

  • 20.4 Miles
  • Water Availability: Okay
  • Difficulty: Moderate - Difficult
  • Camping:  We chose to camp at the beginning of this segment based on our daily mileage. Grazing was very limited.
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: In this segment you will reach the halfway point of the Colorado Trail. There is a lot of elevation gain and loss overall, but this is a fairly nice trail to ride horseback. 

Concerns: No major concerns. Just stay safe!

Trail Description: Segment 14 starts at Chalk Creek Trailhead and ends at HWY 50. For those who are doing the whole trail - Congrats! You will pass the halfway point of the trail, which is an amazing feat! 

The elevation map for this trail may not look too concerning, but there are a lot of ups and downs resulting in a gain 4,007 ft and loss of 3,531 ft.

Overall, the trail was not too difficult of a ride. This segment is also close to the town of Salida, which made for a good stop and rest day during our 2017 ride.

segment 15

Segment 15

US HWY 50 to Marshall Pass Trailhead

  • 14.3 Miles
  • Water Availability: Okay
  • Difficulty: Difficult 
  • Camping: We found good camping spots at the beginning and end of this Segment
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: This segment has one of the steepest grades on the entire Colorado Trail! Take a look at the trail picture... our riders thought this climb was no joke as we hiked up it leading our horses. The view from the Continental Divide was absolutely breathtaking. 

Concerns: This segment contains one of the steepest grades on the Colorado Trail. The climb up at the end was so steep, that we felt more comfortable leading our horses up instead of riding them. 

Trail Description: Segment 15 starts at US HWY 50. Camping is not permitted at the beginning of this segment until you get past Fooses Lake at mile .8. From the start of this segment, you will begin a gradual climb for the next 8 miles. As you get closer the crest of the Continental Divide Trail, the trail starts to get steeper. The last stretch up to crest is steep! This is one of the steepest grades on the whole Colorado Trail.