Section 3 of the Colorado Trail was perfect for a relaxing, yet thrilling day hike. Pines, aspens, new wildflowers, views, and dense forests gave us a true Colorado Mountain experience. 

Wanting a day out in late May while waiting for the high country snowmelt I thought, why not a lower section of the Colorado Trail!


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Not only was it beautiful, but it was also a gentle up and down path with numerous resting spots on social trails leading to rock formations and stunning views.



After waiting all month for the leaves to appear and the ground to become green it was a treat. A few sprinkles of wildflowers starting to appear just added to the excitement of summer coming.





Up and down the trail went, in and around rocks, into the deeper forest and coming up again to views.

A trail you want to be prepared for with appropriate hiking gear. Please check out “What’s in Your Day Pack” for a list of recommended items anytime hiking.



Colorado Trail, Section 3 is rated difficult on the AllTrails app, yet we found the first 4-5 miles fairly gentle with a few moderate climbs. The thunder started to roll in so we decided to head back and can’t describe what was ahead of us. 

Perfect timing … it started pouring!




Section 3 of the Colorado Trail starts at the Buffalo Creek Recreation Area and goes for 13.5 miles. You can start on the Little Scraggy Trailhead or at the far end of the parking lot is the Colorado Trail Trailhead. (we started here)

The Colorado Trail has 33 sections (segments) and extends from Waterton Canyon (SW Denver) to Durango for a total of 486 miles.




You can do the entire 486 miles on a thru-hike or backpack several segments or a day hike out and back.

LOCATED: Trailhead is south of Buffalo Creek, CO on Deckers Rd (Jefferson CR 126), and Turn at NFSR 550. Fee area in the parking lot. Can park on the road for free.


Section 3 – 13.5 miles

Rated: difficult – first 3-4 miles slightly moderate we thought.

Busy with mountain bikers!

Restroom at trailhead

Connecting trails – Little Scraggy Trail and Shingle Mill Trail

Drive 3 miles down NFSR550 and find another access to the Colorado Trail. Limited parking.

Best information on the Colorado Trail – The Colorado Trail Foundation

Pike National Forest



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Judd Falls is a Colorado Experience! – Crested Butte, CO



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