Colorado Trail: Wellington Lake Road to Kenosha Pass

Impressive mountain views and thick aspen stands await backpackers on this 30-mile section of the Colorado Trail perfect for a two or three day trip.
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Impressive mountain views and thick aspen stands await backpackers on this 30-mile section of the Colorado Trail perfect for a two or three day trip.

Day One:
Start this 30-mile section of the Colorado Trail along Wellington Lake Road just two-hours shy of Denver. Fill out a use permit and immediately begin a steady 6-mile climb along a mix of singletrack and fire roads. The trail weaves under a thick canopy of aspen trees. Views are chocked-out, but during fall months the aspens quake producing a gold blanket clashing starkly with the deep blue Colorado sky.
After TK miles (CT001 – CT006) follow the trail up a series of steep switchbacks, topping out just shy of 10,000 feet. The trees fall away on the trails left side and a large sprawling meadow opens up. If you have enough time, snag a nap in the warm sun before continuing.
From the meadow the trail descends gradually before veering west into a vast valley filled with beaver ponds and a small seasonal streams. The trail slowly climbs up the right side of the valley along a thin ribbon of singletrack with grades not exceeding 3 percent.
Reaching the top of the valley begin a steep descent through thick forest with peek-a-boo views of the Rockies to the west. At the TK junction, turn left and head 300-feet to a small flat area perfect for a night’s sleep. Water can be found 200-feet past the junction on the Colorado Trail.
Day Two:
Continue hiking on the Colorado Trail along a hard-packed singletrack. The trail steadily climbs up the valley’s north wall before topping out and descending past several small streams.
Cross Rock Creek, an ideal place to grab a bite to eat and filter water, and head .1-mile along a dirt access road, before turning right and continuing along the Colorado Trail.

The trail soon climbs out of the valley and traverses along the east-facing hillside en route to Kenosha Pass. In just a few miles miles, views of Breckenridge and the Ten Mile Range open up to the west.
From Rock Creek to Kenosha pass the trail is open to mountain bikers, so be prepared to possibly meet them. Trail etiquette is for the hiker to step aside. Most bikers will let you know how many more are behind them, and it’s courtesy for hikers to do the same.
The last two-miles are some of Colorado’s most spectacular singletrack, as you cut through aspen stands so thick, it’s hard to see more than a few hundred feet. Time this trip right and it will be like walking down the yellow brick road.
The trail ends at Kenosha Pass Trailhead and Highway 236.

Wellington Lake Trailhead Directions
From Denver, head west on I-70 and take exit 260 onto 470 east (towards Colorado Springs). Continue 5 miles and take the exit onto US 285 heading south toward Fairplay. Continue 28.1 miles and turn left on county road 68 towards Wellington Lake. Head 8 miles and turn right onto a small dirt access road (marked) to the trailhead.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 48.1

Waypoints

CT001

Location: 39.335923, -105.402856

Trailhead. From the parking lot begin hiking west along the Colorado Trail. Make sure to fill out the Lost Creek Wilderness permit at the start of the trailhead.

CT002

Location: 39.339981, -105.412334

Turn left at the Y-junction and continue along a deserted fireroad. The trail slowly gains elevation while passing under thick aspen stands.

CT003

Location: 39.331989, -105.422268

Cross into Lost Creek Wilderness.

CT004

Location: 39.329359, -105.442342

Continue straight at 3-way junction with Payne Creek Trail.

CT005

Location: 39.318323, -105.460802

Campsite: Look to the right for two separate campsites with designated fire pits. The sites have no views and are under a dense canopy of pine and aspen trees.

CT006

Location: 39.313472, -105.473523

Turn left at the T-junction and continue along a thin ribbon of singletrack. Look for Colorado Trail markers 20-feet up the trail.

CT007

Location: 39.303502, -105.489022

Private property parallels the right side of the trail and is marked with a decaying barbwire fence.

CT008

Location: 39.305011, -105.492787

Emerge from the forest and parallel a large meadow to the right. The meadow slopes east and is a perfect place to catch an afternoon nap or grab a quick bite to eat.

CT009

Location: 39.304906, -105.50871

As you turn the corner, a large sprawling meadow opens up before you. You will be hiking alone this meadow for the next several miles.

CT010

Location: 39.306848, -105.515185

Continue straight at 3-way junction with Brookside McCurdy Trail. This is also a great place to filter water as you continue along the meadow.

The trail merges with the Bookside McCurdy Trail for the next 3 miles.

CT011

Location: 39.310586, -105.519393

Cross through an open gate.

CT012

Location: 39.317494, -105.538978

Cross over a small stream.

CT013

Location: 39.323593, -105.549442

Continue straight at 3-way junction.

CT014

Location: 39.326684, -105.555434

Beaver Ponds can be seen to the left periodically within the meadow.

CT015

Location: 39.329035, -105.559655

Campsite: To the left across the meadow is an established campsite with two blue Porter Potties.

CT016

Location: 39.339895, -105.578548

Cross over a small stream.

CT017

Location: 39.346888, -105.597602

The trail reaches the end of the long meadow and enters a thick forest of pine and aspen trees.

CT018

Location: 39.347029, -105.599988

Cross through a small gate.

CT019

Location: 39.347798, -105.607458

As you begin a series of switchbacks leading down to the river, views to the west begin to unzip. For the best view, climb though two large boulders and stand on the outcropping.

CT020

Location: 39.344708, -105.613764

The trail parallels several large mountains to the left.

CT021

Location: 39.34848, -105.616496

Continue straight at 3-way junction. This is also a prime campsite. To camp, turn left towards the Long Gulch Trailhead and continue 300-feet down the trail. A small campsite is on the trails right.

CT022

Location: 39.348871, -105.616516

Cross over a small river.

CT023

Location: 39.355004, -105.638531

Begin a series of switchbacks climbing under aspen trees.

CT024

Location: 39.362914, -105.635144

Cross through a large meadow and over a small stream. Immediately before the meadow on the left side of the trail is a prime camping spot perfect for a nights rest.

CT025

Location: 39.374095, -105.641872

Cross over a small stream.

CT026

Location: 39.374684, -105.646337

Cross over a small stream.

CT027

Location: 39.379006, -105.656776

Cross over a small stream.

CT028

Location: 39.37359, -105.668502

Emerge out of the trees and look west to one of the most impressive views yet. Breckenridge can be seen looming above everything else.

CT029

Location: 39.36447, -105.679933

Look left to see Miller Ranch ranch. If you are in need of emergency assistance, follow the access road directly ahead to the ranch.

CT030

Location: 39.364392, -105.683982

Cross over Rock Creek.

CT031

Location: 39.364183, -105.684043

Turn left at T-junction. The Ben Tyler Trail is to the right and is an access point to US 285.

CT032

Location: 39.363243, -105.682305

Continue right at Y-junction along a hardpacked singletrack trail. The trail quickly begins to climb up and out of the valley.

CT033

Location: 39.361887, -105.68096

Cross through a gate.

CT034

Location: 39.362453, -105.68739

Continue straight across a dirt access road. Rock Creek parking lot can be seen to the right.

CT035

Location: 39.361335, -105.695111

Continue left at T-junction and cross over a small stream. This is an ideal place to filter water before continuing to Kenosha Pass.

CT036

Location: 39.368646, -105.717274

Big mountain and valley views emerge to the west.

CT037

Location: 39.376958, -105.727118

Continue straight across dirt access road. The trail continues through a large meadow with impressive views to the west.

CT038

Location: 39.394391, -105.734532

Traffic noise from US 285 highway can be hear and the trialhead can be seen to the northwest.

CT039

Location: 39.410932, -105.753631

Cross through a gate. Make sure to close the gate on your way through please.

CT040

Location: 39.413567, -105.754964

Trailhead and Parking lot.

Colorado Trail Marker

Location: 39.336023, -105.403433

Singletrack under the aspens

Location: 39.338188, -105.406179

The first few miles wind under a thick canopy of aspen trees. During fall months this section of trail is known for it's stunning beauty.

Looking up at the aspens

Location: 39.328986, -105.433989

3-way Junction

Location: 39.313356, -105.472097

Turn left at the 3-way junction onto a ribbon of singletrack.

Large Meadow

Location: 39.305254, -105.493555

Meadow

Location: 39.30455, -105.510378

The trail enters a large unnamed meadow and follows the meadows right edge for several miles.

Brookside Trail Sign

Location: 39.30718, -105.515785

Ice covers a small stream

Location: 39.318004, -105.539732

Looking back down the meadow

Location: 39.346379, -105.594749

Camp

Location: 39.346724, -105.620155

Last few aspen trees

Location: 39.372075, -105.67131

Rock Creek

Location: 39.36453, -105.68337

Aspen trees

Location: 39.365924, -105.705342

Big Mountain Views

Location: 39.369825, -105.717402

Early morning light

Location: 39.384773, -105.726585