Pets allowed
Elevation Gain
2,750.00 ft (838.20 m)
Trail type
15.90 mi (25.59 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Completed in 1987, the Colorado Trail stretches 485 magnificent miles from Denver to Durango. Along the way it meanders through high alpine mountains and valleys, offering a glimpse at some of the finest terrain Colorado has to offer. It traverses eight mountain ranges, six wilderness areas and stays above 10,000’ for the majority of the trail. Highlights include the Collegiate Range, where multiple 14ers are just off trail and can easily be climbed, and the San Juans, where the trail remains above tree line for days at a time and climbs to elevations of over 13,000’. There is also abundant wildlife along the Colorado Trail, ranging in size from small pika and marmot, to bear and moose.

The trail is divided into 28 different segments, each beginning at a trailhead accessible by vehicle. This accessibility is what makes the Colorado Trail special. Day hikers and section hikers can easily find their way to new segments of trail, while thru hikers can still enjoy a wild and rugged four to six week journey. Below is a description for Colorado Trail Collegiate West Segment 4.

Collegiate West Segment 4 begins at Tincup Pass Road. There is some good camping near here. You’ll follow the trail as it parallels the North Fork of Chalk Creek for a short distance, then crosses it via footbridge.

You’ll then follow a series of nice switchbacks through the forest as the trail ascends gradually. The views once you get above treeline are stunning. Continue through this lovely high alpine terrain with a few more small climbs. You’ll then descend down to an old railroad track and follow it gradually downhill.

The trail eventually turns to the right off the railroad track (note that this is a new reroute!) and switchbacks gently up before skirting around a mountainside. You’ll come out to Hancock Lake then head for the pass visible in the near distance.

After the climb up to the pass you’ll be rewarded with stunning view back down to Hancock and Upper Hancock Lake, and even more stunning views in the other direction. As you descend down into the beautiful valley the trail will begin to mellow out.

You’ll cross a small boulder field then join a gravel road. The CT then veers off the road to the left, but I’d recommend staying on the road to avoid a PUD (Pointless Up and Down). If you choose to hike the trail it will rejoin the road in a bit anyway.

Collegiate West Segment 4 then ends at Boss Lake Trailhead.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round



Stunning high alpine terrain. Trail follows an old railroad grade for a while.

Trailhead Elevation

11,074.00 ft (3,375.36 m)

Highest point

12,321.00 ft (3,755.44 m)


Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Big vistas

Typically multi-day


Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping

Grand Mesa Uncompahgre + Gunnison National Forests
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado


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