SECTION 1 - SOUTH PLATTE

SECTION 1 - WATERTON CANYON TO KENOSHA PASS

Moderate Difficulty
Highest Elevation Point for Week - 10,880 ft
Lowest Elevation Point for Week - 5,520 ft 

Start Date Description Miles Elevation Gain Elevation Loss
Day 1 Meet for week - Jefferson Community Center, Jefferson CO 80456 at 3:00pm      
Day 2 Trailhead to South Platte Canyon 16.8 2,160 250
Day 3 South Platte Canyon to FS 550 11.5 2,200 200
Day 4 FS 550 to Wellington Lake Rd- shuttle to Kenosha Pass to camp 12.2 1,520 620
Day 5 Hike 2 sections- Kenosha Pass to Rock Creek, short shuttle, then Long Gulch to North Fork TH.  Return to vehicle and depart. 15.2 1,200 900
Day 6 Breakfast and disperse      
  TOTALS 55.7 7,080 1,970


NOTE: Hikers will be shuttled around the lightly shaded portions on Day 4.


Meeting day:  We will meet at the Jefferson Community Center, in Jefferson, CO.  We will then shuttle you to our Sunday campsite at Chatfield State Park.   After setting up tents and settling in, we’ll have dinner, a safety brief and introductions.

Day One... first day of hiking!  We begin our first day of hiking at the eastern terminus of the Colorado Trail, Waterton Canyon.  After a gentle climb through Waterton Canyon, we’ll be ready for a midmorning break, probably enjoying the views at Lennie’s Rest.  The next few miles are spent leapfrogging a small creek in an idyllic, forested valley.  After a climb up and out of the valley, we head parallel to the South Platte River.  The trail is in excellent condition, with plenty of views and nice rests.  The final miles of our day’s hike descend to the South Platte River, where we’ll check out the Gudy Gaskill Bridge, and catch a shuttle to our campsite. 

Day One... begins by crossing over the South Platte River on the iconic Gudy Gaskill Bridge.  We immediately begin climbing, and do much of our elevation gain for the day within the first six miles.   About five miles in are some great viewpoints of Chair Rock, to the north, and Raleigh and Scraggy Peaks to the south.  This is a unique day of hiking, as we pass through an area that is recovering from forest fires that burned ten years ago. Seemingly fragile wildflowers abound here.  Ironically, since the fires destroyed the forest, this section often has sweeping, panoramic views- you will understand how Top of the World Campground got its name! 

Day Three... continues through the Buffalo Creek area.  We will enjoy a pleasant day traversing through rolling forests of pine and fir.  There are also quite a few lush meadows to cross, and abundant small creeks give a relaxing ambiance to this day.  We will pass fascinating rock formations along the trail, and abundant wildlife as well.  At the end of the day’s hike, we take a quick shuttle ride to our new campsite on Kenosha Pass.

Day Four... brings us into the incredibly open vistas of South Park.  A park is a name for a high altitude prairie, home to pronghorn antelope and other range wildlife.  We will complete two portions of trail today, starting with Kenosha Pass to Rock Creek.  Besides the grassland, this section is also renowned for the graceful aspen groves and aptly named Bristlecone Pines.  We will arrive midmorning, and take a quick shuttle ride for the afternoon’s hike. The afternoon will consist of a walk from Long Gulch to the North Fork trailhead.   Long Gulch has a remote feeling, great views and offers a chance to encounter plenty of wildlife.   At the end of this day, you will be happy to relax in camp and enjoy your feeling of accomplishment! 

After breakfast on Friday, you will bid farewell to your companions on the trail. We’ll want to make sure we get a group photo to remember our week together.  More than likely, you’ll have made some new friends and hiking partners! 

*Note:  The Colorado Trail Foundation is not currently permitted for trekking within the Lost Creek Wilderness.  If you wish to hike this section of the trail (normally one day of hiking plus a shuttle ride) we would be happy to give you directions and advice.   Please contact us for further information regarding this portion of the Colorado Trail.