19 Oct 2018
Ski trails might be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear Summit County but as Colorado’s year-round playground, it’s hiking trails certainly live up to the hype, too! From leisurely strolls through Aspen groves and meadows to summiting fourteeners, Summit County has hiking trails for all experiences and skill levels.
For those seeking the more adventurous of the 200 miles of trail system in Summit County, read on for local favorites – but remember, hiking an elevation can be very dangerous. Dress appropriately and be prepared for sudden thunderstorms, wear sunscreen and reapply often, and most importantly: drink water. If you feel altitude sickness coming on, do not continue to climb and begin your descent slowly.
Willow Falls is an 8.7-mile round trip hike located just outside of Silverthorne. The falls drop through a granite cute and into the meadow below Buffalo Mountain (the towering peak you see when you first come through the tunnel on I-70.) This trail meanders through several ecosystems and it’s lower elevation areas are great for spotting moose.
Spruce Lakes Trail to Mohawk Lakes Trail is always one of the most popular, offering exactly what you’d expect to see on a Rocky Mountain hike – rivers, lakes, waterfalls, mountain vistas, wildlife, and even old mining cabins. Out-and-back at 8.6 miles, this trail can be difficult – it boasts a 1,700-foot elevation gain - but the second set of lakes is worth the extra effort!
McCullough Gulch makes up in vertical incline what it lacks in length (roughly 2.7 miles) but the scenery makes it well worth it. Multiple waterfalls, lakes and the usual sighting of a mountain goat (very common in the area) make this the quintessential Summit County experience.
Buffalo Mountain is a local favorite but not for the faint of heart. This trail gains 3,000 vertical feet in less than three miles – but the views of Dillon Reservoir and wildlife sightings are worth it. This trail is difficult – aside from its strenuous vertical incline, most of it is above treeline, making summiting dangerous with afternoon thunderstorms.
For the avid hikers, there is nothing like summiting a fourteener. Grays, Torreys and Quandary Peak all lie within the boundaries of Summit County but are for experienced hikers only. More about Colorado’s fourteeners can be found here.
Choose one of the many options River Ridge Rentals offers for your home base in Summit County and get your Colorado vacation started today!