Segment 6-10

Kenosha Pass to Mount Massive Trailhead

The next five segments of the Colorado Trail start offering a little more of a challenge rewarding it’s users with breathtaking views. The trail takes you higher in elevation and above treeline multiple times. 

Segment 6 is the longest segment of the Colorado Trail. Unfortunately, non of us were able to ride Segment 7 in 2017 because of a wildfire in the area. Segment 8 and 9 we came across a lot of snow in early July. Be sure to check snow conditions before heading out. Segment 10 was a nice 

segment 6

Segment 6

Kenosha Pass to Gold Hill Trailhead

  • 32.7 Miles
  • Water Availability: Okay
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Camping: A few good spots near water sources
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: This is the longest segment on the whole Colorado Trail! Segment 6 finally takes you above treeline, and let's just say... the views are amazing! This segment is the first time those on the Colorado Trail meet up with the Continental Divide Trail. This was also the first segment we came across snow as we neared 12,000 ft in elevation.

Concerns: Expect a lot of climbing and descending. There is over 5,000 ft in both elevation gain and loss throughout Segment 6. It is a long segment with okay water sources. Just make sure to plan any camping along trail near reliable water sources. You will see the effects of the pine beetle infestation. The databook really helped along this segment when coming across trail intersections.

Trail Description: Segment 6 starts at Kenosha Pass. If you are looking for great views and challenging mountain trail, we would highly recommend this segment for just that! But this trail is difficult and we encourage experienced riders only on this trail. Study this trail with the help of the Official Colorado Guidebook and Databook (which you should already be doing for all segments).

This segment is the longest segment on the Colorado Trail. There is water available and decent camping spots near these water sources, but take note to where the reliable sources are.

There are two major climbs; the first one takes you up over Georgia Pass. Thank goodness our cameras were ready! This is the first time on trail where you get above tree line as you near 12,000 ft. We came across snowdrifts for the first time in this segment. 

In 2017, as we were descending after the second climb down to Horseshoe Gulch, we the smoke from a wildfire grow and grow. We camped in Horseshoe Gulch as we worked out transportation for our horses to get around Segment 7, which had been closed due to the fire. It was a scary situation to watch as we evaluated our next move. This just proves the importance of carrying resources and maps in case of an emergency. We carried a satellite phone as cell phone coverage is very limited in the backcountry.

segment 7

Segment 7

Gold Hill Trailhead to Copper Mountain

  • 12.8 Miles
  • Water Availability: Okay
  • Difficulty: n/a
  • Camping: n/a
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: Unfortunately, we were unable to ride this segment in 2017 due to it being closed because of a wildfire! Hopefully one day some of us can go back and get to complete this segment. From what we have read, this segment is beautiful.

segment 8

Segment 8

Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass

  • 25.4 Miles
  • Water Availability: Great
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Camping: limited camping
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: This trail was one of our favorites! Riding over Searle Pass and Kokomo Pass was beautiful.  It is a challenging segment as the high point takes you up above 12,000 ft. 

Concerns: Get up and over the mountain passes before the afternoon thunderstorms roll in. Be well aware of snow in the higher elevations. There was still plenty of snow on trail when we rode this segment in July. There is a lot of water available in this segment, but be aware that there are not as many great places to set up camp with the horses. Camping is not allowed on the first 4 miles of the segment as the trail takes through the ski resort and from mile 17.2 Cataract Creek for the next 3 miles due to possible unexploded munitions.. so stay on trail!

Trail Description: Segment 8 starts at Copper Mountain. The trail takes you through the Cooper Mountain ski resort. Camping is not allowed on the first 4 miles of the segment.

The trail has a long climb up to Searle Pass followed by Kokomo Pass. Check the snow conditions before heading out on this segment and be careful if you come across any snow. In this segment we came across a lot of snow including a snowbridge.

Once you descend from from Kokomo Pass, you will come across a bridge that takes you over Cataract Creek around mile 17. For the next 3 miles (mile 17.2 to mile 20.1) camping is not allowed because of possible unexploded munitions. Oh yea... so stay on trail! 

segment 9

Segment 9

Tennessee Pass to Timberline Lake Trailhead

  • 13.6 Miles
  • Water Availability: Great
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Camping: nice camping spots
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: Another beautiful segment! Though, we do have to admit, the whole Colorado Trail has spectacular views at every corner. This trail has some nice terrain, but also a nice amount of mountain trail.

Concerns: Did we mention snow? Just like the last segment, we came across a lot of snow on this trail! Unfortunately, for us the snow (and ice layer on top of the snow) made the end of our climb dangerous and impassable horseback. We had to reroute a little with the help of our GPS to get around the snow and up and over the mountain. 

Trail Description: Segment 9 starts at Tennessee Pass. The views on this trail are amazing! There is plenty of water sources along this segment. Mountain bikers are not allowed on this segment as the trail travels through the Holy Cross Wilderness. 

Definitely check the snow conditions for this segment! We came across a lot of dangerous snow/ice on this segment during our 2017 ride in the month of July. The snow actually made it impossible for us to continue on the trail; we had to reroute our way up and over the mountain using our GPS to find the trail on the other side. It was not an ideal situation.

segment 10

Segment 10

Timberline Lake Trailhead to Mount Massive Trailhead

  • 13.1 Miles
  • Water Availability: Great
  • Difficulty: Moderate 
  • Camping: good camping spots
  • Trailer Access: Yes

Trail Overview: Another one of the shorter segments. On our 2017 ride, we rode through Segment 10 and continued on into Segment 11 to camp. This is a great trail to go out for a day ride.

Concerns: no major concerns. Just stay safe on trail!