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Trail Tuesday: Collegiate Peaks Campground

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  • By Susan Wood
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Trail Tuesday: Collegiate Peaks Campground

Trail description and route info for the Collegiate Peaks Campground, a great spot for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Buena Vista, Colorado. These trails are family friendly and great for beginners.

We keep getting loads of fresh powder here in Buena Vista, and we're absolutely loving it! The snowpack has been great for all sorts of winter adventures.  


Yesterday we headed to the Collegiate Peaks Campground to do some snowshoeing. While this area is a great camping location in the summer, the Campground’s snow-covered roads make it the perfect spot for winter outings.  


This route is awesome for beginners, families with young ones, or anyone who wants to spend a few hours in the snow. Although we snowshoed, the trails are also great for cross-country skiing.






The trails were not groomed yesterday morning because of the snow that had fallen the previous night. However, these trails are regularly groomed, making it easy to trek through. 


About four inches of fresh powder covered the route, and it wasn’t icy at all. The Campground was perfect for snowshoeing, and you could easily glide through the snow using cross-country skis. The trails were not ideal for skate skiing yesterday, though.





From downtown Buena Vista, head through the stoplight, continue west on Highway 306, and travel for about 11 miles.


The Collegiate Peaks Campground is on the left side of the road. Keep your eyes peeled because the parking area can be easily missed with all the snow covering the sign.


Yesterday morning the road was plowed a little past Cottonwood Lake (about 6 miles up Highway 306), but we had to drive the last few miles through thick snow. There were also some ice patches on the road, so make sure you have a vehicle that can withstand challenging road conditions.  


Here’s the view from the road:



And here’s a better shot of where we parked. You can vaguely see the trail sign in the distance: 





We love how easy this route is to follow. You can keep on the main loop for a shorter distance, or you can branch off and go along a couple side loops to add more mileage.  To understand the layout of the trails, check out a map of the Campground before you go.


Once we strapped on our snowshoes, we started on the road that leads to the Campground.




Once you go about a quarter mile, you’ll see side trails on the left and right-hand sides. We decided to do the main loop first and venture on the side trails on our way back.



Continuing up the road, you’ll see a fork in the trail with a “One Way” sign at mile 0.45. We stayed to the right-hand side to follow the loop:



Once your back on the other side of the loop, you’ve reached mile 0.7:



At about mile 1.0, you’ll be heading back into the beautiful forest area: 



We did the side loops on our way back towards the car and found the snow a bit harder to trek through. You could tell that the side loops had not been groomed, and the snow was less compact and deeper. 



After we had done the loops and snowshoed for a few miles, we headed back to the car and sipped warm coffee that was waiting for us in our Yeti ramblers.  A little over thirty minutes more, and we were back at The Trailhead in downtown Buena Vista. It was a wonderful Monday morning and start to our work week!




What to Bring

Make sure to dress in layers for this excursion. Since it was snowing, we wore hard shell jackets. The forecast shows some sunny days coming up soon, though, so you’ll want to watch the weather and dress appropriately before you head out. If it’s sunny, a soft shell jacket may do the trick.


To venture through the trails at the Campground, you’ll need snowshoes or cross-country skis. We used trekking poles as well to make our hike a little easier. Let us know if you need some to rent, and we’ll reserve your gear and have it ready for you to pick up at The Trailhead.




We hope you give this route a try and have as much fun as we did!


  1. colleen fitzgerald colleen fitzgerald

    Hello, I am a new resident of BV and was wondering if the snow was still good enough at this time of year to cross country ski at the Collegiate Peaks Campground? I could snow shoe but I enjoy my skiis too. Thank you!

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