Some of Colorado’s best day hikes are near the town of Buena Vista, which sits just below the gorgeous Collegiate Peaks. An outdoor enthusiast mecca of adventure.

I’ve added below our favorite trails that you will be your favorites too!

day hikes, Colorado trails, Buena Vista, hiking trails, best hikes in Coloradoo

KROENEKE LAKE

There is nothing like a hike to an alpine lake!

Hike through deep lush forests that eventually lead to stunning views of Colorado’s Collegiate Peaks. Do a few water crossings, and nestled in the basin just below the tree line, you will find beautiful Kroenke Lake. 

It’s hard to leave this trail! >>> READ MORE

TIDBITS

8.6 miles out and back

Rated: moderate

Start elevation: 9,860 ft

Lake elevation: 11,500 ft

Open to: hiking, dogs on leash, horses

Collegiate Peak Wilderness

San Isabel National Forest

Nearest town: Buena Vista

Salida Ranger District

Harvard Lakes, Colorado Trail, Buena Vista hikes, Colorado, day hikes

HARVARD LAKES via COLORADO TRAIL

Harvard Lakes Trail along a section of the Colorado Trail is a casual hike through the forests with intermediate views of the sensational Collegiate Peaks and the Arkansas Valley below. Looking for a quiet trail to a couple of sweet lakes situated below Mt. Columbia 14er, this is it.

Perfect 1/2 day get in the forest trail >>> READ MORE.

TIDBITS

6 miles out & back

Rated: Moderate

No restrooms

Start Elevation: 9120 ft.

Ending Elevation: approx: 10,340 ft.

Open to dogs and horses

Nestled at the base of Mt. Columbia

Located in the Sawatch Range

San Isabel National Forest

Chaffee County

BROWNS CREEK FALLS

Browns Creek Falls is exhilarating!

Reach the end of the trail, and you suddenly happen upon Browns Creek Falls. It’s that unexpected and incredible. Rushing white water thundering down from a rocky ledge high above.

Popular family hike  >>> READ MORE.

TIDBITS

Rated: Moderate

6.2 miles out and back

Trail #1429

Start at 8,990 ft, elevation, End at 9,830 ft

Open to: leashed dogs, horses, mountain bikes

No motorized vehicles

San Isabel National Forest

Dispersed camping is allowed but not at the Trailhead

Fire restrictions common

Salida Ranger District

After the Falls hike onto Browns Lake for a 12-mile out & Back – moderate/strenuous >>> READ MORE.

PTARMIGAN LAKE TRAIL

Ptarmigan Lake Trail is a fantastic half-day or full-day hike. Ascend a moderate grade through a spectacular forest. Pass a sweet lake and dreamy dispersed campsites along the path before breaking out at the tree line. Views of the highest peaks surround you as you hike across an expansive meadow and upward to Ptarmigan Lake.

A local favorite! >>> READ MORE.

TIDBITS

Rated: Moderate

6.8 miles out and back

Trail #1444

Elevation start: 10,680 ft.

Elevation end: 12,300 ft.

Restroom at trailhead

Dog friendly

Chaffee County

San Isabel National Forest

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Buena Vista hikes, day hikes best hikes near Buena Vista, Cottonwood Pass

HARTENSTEIN LAKE via DENNY CREEK TRAIL

Hiking to Hartenstein Lake is for Colorado outdoor enthusiasts! Located in the Collegiate Peaks Wilderness, you will find your trail options are many.

Put this one on the list! >>> READ MORE

TIDBITS 

Rated: Moderate/challenging in spots

6 miles out and back

Start elevation: 9,880 ft.

End elevation:11,480 ft

Parking at trailhead

Restroom at trailhead

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness Area

San Isabel National Forest

JUST DOWN THE ROAD – at TWIN LAKES 

Inter-Laken Trail, easy trails, Twin Lakes, family hikes, history hikes

INTER-LAKEN TRAIL

Need an easy trail with stunning views in Colorado’s high country? Inter-Laken Trail is one of our favorite hikes for a laid-back day. Inter-Laken Trail rolls gently up and down alongside one of Colorado’s most beautiful lakes. Explore a historic resort from the late 1800s. 

Fun beginner snowshoe in winter too! >>> READ MORE

TIDBITS

Rated: Easy

4.7 miles out and back

Start Elevation: 9,272 ft. minimal gain

Popular for: hiking, snowshoeing, mountain biking, horseback, fishing, and trail running

Open year-round

Nearest Towns: Twin Lakes, Leadville, Buena Vista

Part of the Colorado Trail/Collegiate West Trail

San Isabel National Forest

Hope Pass, Colorado Trail, CT, Colorado, day hikes, Twin lakes, Colorado Trails

HOPE PASS via WILLIS GULCH TRAIL

Hope Pass via Willis Gulch Trail is a challenging climb that will test your strength & breathing! An incredible trail that takes you far above treeline to views beyond your expectations.

One of Colorado’s amazing hikes! >>> READ MORE.

TIDBITS

10 miles out & back

Rated: strenuous

3,254′ elevation gain

Highest elevation: 12,508′

No restroom

Leashed dogs ok

Nearest Town: Twin Lakes/Leadville, CO/Buena Vista

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

San Isabel National Forest

Leadville Ranger District

Hikes BV, best trails in Buena Vista, Colorado Hikes, hiking trails, trail running, mountain biking, MTB trails, day hikes, family hikes, Midland Trail System

In the town of Buena Vista are a series of hiking, biking, and running trails across the beautiful Arkansas River. Views of the Collegiate Peaks are tantalizing throughout the hike.

We love Buena Vista in the springtime! The weather is mild and warm, and this area is a great place to hike while waiting for snowmelt at a higher altitude.  >>> READ MORE

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Can't wait to see you on the trail!

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