Chaffee County, Colorado
San Isabel National Forest
Salida Ranger District
View this on the Colorado Trailheads Map
Forest Service Road: 296
Trail Type: Out and Back
Nearby Towns: Buena Vista, Johnson's Village
Nearby Trails: Iron Chest, Mount Antero, Boulder Mountain, Tincup Pass, Mount Princeton, Hancock Pass, Pomeroy Lakes
Trail Length: 2.5 miles
Elevation: 11,266 feet
It might not be the easiest trail to find but it is worth looking for. It's in a residential area, so please be considerate of private property when you make your way up to Grizzly Lake.
You pass a few houses and immediately find yourself at a fork in the road. The left fork goes down to a creek crossing and a rock obstacle, where the right fork goes up along the trail. Take the left fork through the creek (the right fork will dead end).
Once you cross the creek you may want to let your tires dry a bit before tackling the biggest obstacle on the trail. It is an ever-changing rock climb with areas of stacked rock and places where tires have dug holes in the dirt. Wet tires only make it more challenging. There is no way around this obstacle, and it gives the trail its high rating.
After making it over this obstacle you will climb a short distance to a rock obstacle almost parallel to the trail. The bypass takes you around it a little further, but the obstacle itself is worth trying. If you can get a little sideways on the trail you can climb up the rock head on instead of at an angle, making it easier.
After conquering these two obstacles you are faced with a long, steep hill of loose rock. It climbs to what seems to be the top, only to make a left turn and climb some more. You may want to leave some distance between you and the vehicle ahead of you, just in case they get stuck (you don't want to have to stop). Keep a steady pace without spinning your tires and you should be fine up this hill.
After the hill there are some shelf roads. Don't get too close to the edge as the rocks are pretty loose.
You'll spend the rest of the trail in and out of the trees. Some places are pretty tight and brush will touch your vehicle. There are more creek crossings and even a muddy water patch (it has a bypass).
It takes less than two hours to reach Grizzly Lake, an impressive lake framed by mountains. The fishing is good and the view is amazing. If you time it right this is a great place for lunch!
Return the way you came, leaving some room between vehicles on the steep hill down. This is a little-used trail with some fun obstacles, and great to run with other trails in the area.
Information last updated on October 6th, 2015.
- June 27th, 2009: ran by Bill S., Chad S., Gary, Ladd, Matt K. and Terry
- September 2nd, 2007: ran by Bill S., Jed, Ladd, Mike V. and Robert
- June 9th, 2007: ran by Matt K. and Todd
- October 22nd, 2005: ran by Bob S., Cheryl and Dane
- October 11th, 2003: ran by Ladd and Monica
Take Highway 285 from Denver to Route 162 near Nathrop. Take 162 west 15 miles to turn left on Hancock Road 295. You will pass one driveway on your left, then come to a second left with a right turn across from it. Take this left turn into a residential area, passing the houses to find the trail. There are "no trasspassing" signs but they refer to the property on each side of the trail.
Meet in Conifer on Highway 285 at the Bradley gas station. Those coming from Colorado Springs will want to meet at Johnson's Village instead and not come that far north.