The Continental Divide Range in Colorado boasts mind-boggling views, and Hoosier Pass is an adventure in any season — glorious views when summer hiking. Also famous for winter backcountry snow sports, skiing, snowshoeing & snowboarding. 

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The top of Hoosier Pass has a large parking area, and we started heading up a short dirt road through the forest and coming to a junction. To the left, you have an easy, wide path leading you around the south slope with expansive views of the Mosquito Range mountains, Montgomery Reservoir, and down through to South Park.

Going to the right will take you to Crystal Lake and up a steep, narrow, rocky trail to reach the summit. Either direction you choose will make a great loop.

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I prefer going left as the views follow you the entire trek and the gentle uphill grade is relaxing.

NOTE: If you haven’t been to Montgomery Reservoir it’s worth the trip. The famous historic Magnolia Mill and beautiful waterfall make a perfect picnic spot. Take CR 4 off of Hoosier Pass (Hwy 9) to get there. At Montgomery Reservoir is a fantastic hike to > Wheeler Lake. Highly recommend!

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As the trail winds around the summit’s backside, more trails go even higher. You can only hike a short distance as there are “No Trespassing Signs”. Please honor those signs, as the area is privately owned and has cameras. 

HotHands Hand Warmers – I have these in my backpack year-round, especially when I hike at high elevations.

NUUN Electrolyte Tablets – I add these to my water on every hike to keep hydrated.

SKRATCH LABS Energy Bars – Easy way to keep up your calories and energy while hiking at higher altitudes. They also have excellent Sport Energy Chews.

Six Moon Design Hiking Umbrella – Super lightweight. It keeps the sun off you and keeps you dry in rain and sleet.

From the backside, find the trail that takes you to the summit. Rock cairns line the top, with astonishing 360-degree views. Come on a clear day if possible! 

Three popular brands of day hiking backpacks to consider: > Osprey (my personal favorite), > Deuter, and > Gregory backpacks.

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Our favorite way back is to walk across the top of the Summit, and you will find another trail that will also take you down and end near the junction where you started at the beginning of the hike. It’s all views, and most don’t know about this trail. Otherwise, go back down the way you came and continue in the loop direction you started on.

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HOOSIER PASS IS A YEAR-ROUND PLAYGROUND

It’s a winter playground for backcountry enthusiasts. Noticeably smooth terrain leans towards great skiing and snowboarding. Wide, easy paths and abundant snow make for great snowshoeing too. ALWAYS check the road, weather, and avalanche conditions before venturing at higher elevations in winter.

Whichever season, please be prepared for unpredictable weather with appropriate clothing and gear. > Day Hiker Checklist

Remember to hydrate more at high altitudes. Lots of water!

Note: Many of the links are affiliate links which means I receive a very small commission (at no added cost to you).

 

TIDBITS

The Loop is approx. 3.5 miles

Rated: Moderate

No restrooms

Large parking area

Known for extreme weather conditions, no shade

Dogs okay on leash

Mosquito Range

Park & Summit Counties

HIKES NEARBY

Can't wait to see you on the trail!

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