Pets allowed
Allowed
Elevation Gain
4,417.00 ft (1,346.30 m)
Trail type
Shuttle
Distance
25.40 mi (40.88 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 8.

 

Colorado Trail Segment 8

Copper Mountain to Tennessee Pass Trailhead

 

Segment 8 begins at State Highway 91 near Copper Mountain Ski Resort. There is parking available just north of the trail, and there is also a free shuttle bus system that runs between many of the local towns (including Copper Mountain) that makes for a convenient alternative. The trail begins by winding its way through the ski resort. You’ll cross under ski lifts, follow the occasional service road and eventually walk right past the Center Village - an excellent spot to take a break and enjoy some food and drink at one of the many restaurants. 

Continuing onward, the Colorado Trail remains within the boundary of Copper Mountain Resort until it reaches Jacque and Guller Creek. The trail then works its way gradually up the beautiful Guller Creek Valley for 4.6 miles to Searle Pass. Along the way you’ll walk past a turnoff to Janets Cabin. This 3,000 square foot cabin, complete with wood-burning sauna, sleeps up to 20 guests and is available for reservation. After reaching Searle Pass, the trail remains above tree line as it traverses breathtaking terrain up to Elk Ridge and eventually to Kokomo Pass at 12,022 feet.

From Kokomo Pass the Colorado Trail descends with stunning views of the distant Collegiates and Mount of the Holy Cross. Wildflowers abound on this portion of trail. Eventually you’ll make your way out of the high mountains and down to a gravel road. The trail parallels this road for a short distance before taking a sharp left onto another road. These few miles are definitely the least exciting of segment 8.

After walking past some intriguing old military bunkers, the trail returns to singletrack and heads back into the forest. It crosses Highway 24, continues another 3.5 miles, then again meets Highway 24 at Tennessee Pass. From here the town of Leadville is about 10 miles to the south via the highway. Tennessee Pass also marks the end of segment 8.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

None

Open Year-round

Yes

Pros

Scenic vistas. Mountain passes and beautiful valleys.

Cons

Some“boring” trail towards the end of this segment.

Trailhead Elevation

9,810.00 ft (2,990.09 m)

Highest point

12,276.00 ft (3,741.72 m)

Features

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

Typically multi-day

Yes

Suitable for

Biking
Horseback

Permit required

No

Location

Nearby Adventures

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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