9. Marshall Pass Off-roaders circle in camps at Marshall Pass in July and August; just hoof it 3.6 miles south of there on the CT, then head west across open terrain .25 mile for a quiet, easy-access overnighter next to Silver Creek.
10. Bumper-to-bumper With a high-water mark of more than 100 vehicles on a summer Saturday, the Mt. Elbert trailhead is the busiest near the CT.
11. Mill Creek With side trails to Mt. Massive and Mt. Elbert (the state’s two highest peaks), this section is far from unpeopled. But you can avoid them. Start at Turquoise Lake for a two-day, 25-mile ramble to Twin Lakes. Cozy up on tent pads at North Willow Creek (mile 8.8) and Mill Creek (mile 16.2). Both backcountry sites are well off the most-traveled summit trails—and out of reach of the peakbagger’s headlamps. Colorado Trail vets rank this stretch among the prettiest.
12. Camp Hale to Kokomo Pass Daytrippers love this area for off-trail peakbagging. Which leaves the easily accessible 6.6-mile out-and-back from Camp Hale to Kokomo Pass all to you (and the occasional thru-hiker). Start at the Camp Hale lot (never more than six cars per day here last summer, says the USFS) and climb along Cataract Creek to the 12,022-foot pass, with views of the spiky Gore Range.