Length: Your choice
Why we love it: It is one of the most accessible parts of the Colorado Trail (with views of South Park to boot).
When to go: Anytime, but in the fall the pass is filled with aspens and lends itself to perfect leaf-peeping opportunities
Pre-hike buzz: Grab a bite eat or just coffee at Jefferson’s Hungry Moose Caboose (cash only)
Dogs: Allowed on leash
Drive time from Denver: 1 hour and 18 minutes, 64.6 miles
For most people, a pit-stop usually involves a gas station and junk food. Not in my car, which stops for hikes. (Is there a better way to stretch out your legs?) At least, that was my thinking on a recent trip north on U.S. 285 on my way back to Denver. The traffic was so thick, that passing was out of the question. Just about the time that I got sick of staring at the same bumper in front of me, the parking lot for Kenosha Pass came up.
I usually take this trail during the winter because its smooth path offers incredible views of oh-so-quiet South Park while passing through aspen groves. Or I hike it in the fall when the leaves turn gold and you can see the snow-capped Rockies in the distance. But I haven’t traveled this path much during the dry months. That’s a shame, because this trek is even more accessible—and the vistas are just as beautiful. You can hike as far as you’d like, but a quick, two-hour (round-trip) jaunt will leave you ready to face mundane traffic again.
Getting there: Take U.S. 285 south past Grant. About seven miles past town, there is parking areas on both sides of the road for Kenosha Pass. Turn left, drive over the cattleguard, and you’ll find another, smaller parking lot near the restrooms.