Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
2,810.00 ft (856.49 m)
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
20.40 mi (32.83 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 Segment 17.

Segment 17 begins from Sargents Mesa Trailhead. The fantastic views from here overlooking the large meadow area below are the best you’ll have during this segment. You’ll begin by following the mellow double track up to and across Sargents Mesa. The trail will then turn to single track as you carry onward.

As you hike the trail sticks primarily to the ridgeline. You’ll have a few parting glimpses of the Collegiate Peaks in the distance to your right. You’ll then reach Razor Creek, the first water source of the segment.

The trail gets rougher as you continue with lots of ups and downs, including a couple of steep, rocky sections. The trail remains entirely on the ridge for a few miles, but unfortunately its not the “fun” type of ridge walk. The views are almost nonexistent as you carry on across the heavily forested ridge, going up and down each small summit.

You’ll finally finish with the ridgeline and descend somewhat steeply down to a “pass” and trailhead. Turn right onto the gravel road here. You’ll follow this nice road downhill as it gently descends and eventually parallels Lujan Creek downstream.

Then road will end at Highway 114. Turn right and walk the shoulder for a short distance. Be cautious here and watch for traffic. Segment 17 then ends at the trailhead/parking area on the left side of the highway.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Nice views of Collegiate Peaks at very start of segment.

Cons

Tough hiking with lots of ups and downs. Limited views.

Trailhead Elevation

11,716.00 ft (3,571.04 m)

Highest point

11,764.00 ft (3,585.67 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Big vistas

Typically multi-day

Yes

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado
Sawatch Range + Elk Mountains, Colorado

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