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Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe

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Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe

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  • Overlooking Frisco on the Meadow Creek Trail.- Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe
  • Trail through the trees along the Buffalo Mountain Loop.- Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe
  • Packed snow on the Buffalo Mountain Loop in late November.- Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe
  • Approaching Buffalo Mountain from the Gore Range Trail.- Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe
  • Hills and rock on the Gore Range Trail.- Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe
  • Descending on the Gore Range Trail.- Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe
  • Road approaching the trailhead at Ryan Gulch Circle.- Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe
  • Trailhead at the end of the hike.- Buffalo Mountain Loop Snowshoe
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Beautiful views. Fun loop. Backcountry vibe.
Cons: 
Can be tricky to navigate. Steep uphills.
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Region:
Gore + Mosquito Range, CO
Congestion: 
Low
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Day-Use/Parking Pass Required:
Not Required
Total Distance: 
13.20 mi (21.24 km)
Trailhead Elev.: 
9,810 ft (2,990 m)
Net Elev. Gain: 
3,200 ft (975 m)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trail condition: 
Backcountry
Trail Uses: 
Snowshoeing
X-Country Skiing
Current Local Weather:
Powered by Dark Sky

Today

Light snow (1–2 in.) starting in the afternoon.
38°F
19°

Wed

Snow (2–5 in.) throughout the day.
38°F
19°

Thu

Snow (2–5 in.) in the morning and afternoon.
35°F
15°

Fri

Snow (1–2 in.) throughout the day.
39°F
13°

Sat

Light snow (under 1 in.) starting in the evening.
41°F
19°

Sun

Mixed precipitation in the morning and afternoon.
44°F
30°

Mon

Mixed precipitation (2–4 in. of snow) throughout the day.
39°F
30°
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

The Buffalo Mountain Loop is a challenging 13.2-mile hike, cross-country ski and snowshoe route with over 3,200 feet of elevation gain, but the views of the remote peaks in Colorado’s Gore Range and the traverse over Eccles Pass make it worthwhile. This day tour is easily accessed off of Interstate 70 from Silverthorne and Wildernest, and there is a convenient parking area at the trailhead.

Start at Lily Pad Trailhead just beyond the parking lot situated between Lily Pad and Buffalo Cabin trailheads. The trail sees moderate use from snowshoers and skiers, so it is usually easy to track the trail across the whole loop. Wind may smooth out the existing tracks in certain places, so it is recommended that you bring a GPS to stay on trail.

Follow Lily Pad Trail south past Lily Pad Lake until it reaches a junction with Meadow Creek Trail. Turn left to stay on Meadow Creek trail until it turns into the Gore Range Trail. From here you will follow the Gore Range Trail north through the crux of the hike, Eccles Pass. At the top of 11,918-foot Eccles Pass, make sure to take in the views of the Tenmile Range, the Gore Range, and Deming Peak.

After descending from Eccles Pass, keep north on the Gore Range Trail and follow it as it heads east until you reach a trail junction for Buffalo Cabin. Follow signs to Buffalo Cabin Trailhead to complete the loop and reach the parking lot. On the Buffalo Cabin Trail there are some narrow switchbacks as the trail gains some elevation and hugs an aqueduct before descending back to the parking lot. 

Backcountry Safety

Winter backcountry adventures can be dangerous outdoor activities that pose significant risks as conditions affecting safety (i.e. weather, snowpack stability, avalanche hazard) are constantly changing. Prior to engaging in these activities each individual should get the proper training to make safe decisions and be equipped to use avalanche safety resources and tools. Please visit our Backcountry Skiing and Avalanche Safety post to learn more.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(8 within a 30 mile radius)

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(39 within a 30 mile radius)

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