Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
4,186.00 ft (1,275.89 m)
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
20.60 mi (33.15 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 27.

 

Colorado Trail Segment 27

Hotel Draw Road to Kennebec Trailhead

 

Segment 27 of the Colorado Trail begins at Hotel Draw Road. As per usual for accessing the various segments of the CT, you will likely want a 4x4 vehicle to reach this point. From here the trail follows close to the road, criss-crossing it several times. Although the trail never gets too far from the road, after the first few miles you’ll likely forget that it’s there.

The trail then closely parallels the boundary of the Hermosa Creek Wilderness Area. Note that it never actually enters the wilderness area, so mountain bikers are welcome on this stretch, and you are likely to see a few of them. The trail follows the edge of a ridge and the views to the east are fantastic. You’ll be able to see the rugged peaks of the Needle Mountains, including 14ers North Eolus and Sunlight Peak.

As the trail continues onward, you’ll still be closely following the boundary of the Hermosa Creek Wilderness. Approximately 12 miles into the segment is where you’ll reach two potential water sources. Although not 100% reliable, there is a small (usually stagnant) creek followed by a small seep. These are the only water sources on segment 27 other than Taylor Lake (another 7 miles ahead). 

After these water sources the trail remains above tree line and makes a series of climbs and descents. The scenery is breathtaking here as you enter the La Plata Mountains. The trail then reaches the infamous Indian Trail Ridge - a spectacular short section of trail with significant exposure on both sides. As you work your way across the talus, enjoy the amazing 360 degree views.

The trail then climbs up to one last summit where you’ll be met with an amazing view down to Taylor Lake. A steep descent follows, and you’ll soon come to the lake. Although it is technically just off trail, Taylor Lake is a great place to take a break, swim or even camp for the night. If continuing past the lake, it is only another mile to Kennebec Trailhead which marks the end of segment 27. Note that a 4x4 vehicle is needed to access this trailhead.

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Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Indian Trail Ridge. Gorgeous views. Taylor Lake.

Cons

Limited water sources.

Trailhead Elevation

10,404.00 ft (3,171.14 m)

Highest point

12,279.00 ft (3,742.64 m)

Features

Near lake or river
Backcountry camping
Wildlife
Fishing
Big vistas
Big Game Watching
Wildflowers
Bird watching

Typically multi-day

Yes

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

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