DIRECTIONS: Follow 285 to Kenosha Pass just east of Jefferson and west of Grant. Park on the north side of 285 at the signs for the Colorado Trail. Walk down the road leading to the Kenosha Pass Campground for a few paces and look for the Colorado Trail Segment 6 Trailhead, start there.
The Colorado trail at Kenosha Pass is a mainstay for fall foliage hiking as the aspen groves to the south of Hwy 285 and leading up to the Twin Cone Peaks is one of the finest in the front range. Click here for a description of the hike south from Kenosha Pass.
However, heading north on the Colorado Trail from Kenosha Pass is also a brilliant hike in any season. In the fall, the trail is very popular but does see (somewhat) fewer visitors. The trail rambles over hills and through gullies for many miles as it approaches the high peaks of the Front Range eventually leading to Georgia Pass and beyond. However, hiking the CT for just 1.5 miles (each way) provides a wonderfully pleasant hike through aspen groves with tremendous views of South Park and the surrounding peaks.
From the parking area on the north side of Hwy 285 find the Colorado Trail Trailhead next to the road leading to the campground. Almost immediately the trail will start to weave through aspen forest. On September 10th, the trees were just starting to show their fall colors, aim for September 20th for peak colors. Along the way various roads and social trails will split off, but stay on the easy to follow Colorado Trail.
After the initial aspen grove, the pine forest takes over with patches of colorful aspens peaking through the pine. Off trail, are dozens of teepees and other wood shelter structures that make for fun explorations for kids (this is an excellent fall hiking options for children).
At the 1 mile mark, you'll leave the pine forest and enter a beautiful stretch of sparse aspen trees. At the start of the clearing there is a bench for relaxing. The bench is a good turnaround spot if you are just looking for a quick and easy outing. If you want more, continue hiking downhill through the clearing area. As you hike, the views of the western Front Range and South Park get better and better. On the other side of the clearing you enter a beautiful aspen forest which turns fall colors earlier than the surrounding forest. Continue through the serene aspen forest for a few minutes and you'll arrive at the destination for this description.
At 1.5 miles, the trail splits with an old double track road leading into a scenic meadow with mountain views on the far end. The Colorado Trail continues to the left heading back into the pine forest but you can follow the old road into the meadow and explore as you wish. This makes for a nice spot to relax and take in the views before returning to Kenosha Pass the same way you came.
This trail is extremely busy during the later half of September so be sure to arrive early and try to visit during the week. That being said, the quality of the trail and the easy access to amazing aspen groves makes this one of the best fall hikes in the Front Range.
HIKES BY REGION
NATIONAL PARK HIKES
- BENT'S OLD FORT NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- BLACK CANYON OF THE GUNNISON NATIONAL PARK
- COLORADO NATIONAL MONUMENT
- CURECANTI NATIONAL RECREATION AREA
- DINOSAUR NATIONAL MONUMENT
- FLORISSANT FOSSIL BEDS NATIONAL MONUMENT
- MESA VERDE NATIONAL PARK
- ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
- GREAT SAND DUNES NATIONAL PARK
- HOVENWEEP NATIONAL MONUMENT
- SAND CREEK MASSACRE NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
- YUCCA HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT
- HIKES BY CATEGORY
- $UPPORT GHC
- INTERACTIVE MAP
Kenosha Pass North
Colorado Trail Segment 6, Pike National Forest
Date Hiked: September 10, 2017
Distance: 3 mi (RT)
Elevation Gain: 690 ft
Elevation Min/Max: 10,000 to 10,355 ft
Trailhead Lat/Long: 39º 24' 46" N; 105º 45' 32" W
Managing Agency: U.S. Forest Service