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CT - Segment 14: Chalk Creek to US-50

Intermediate
 3.4 (5)

A classic Colorado Trail segment at its finest with great views of the Chalk Cliffs and singletrack through the aspens.


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Map Key

21.0

Miles

33.8

KM

Point to Point

10,166' 3,099 m

High

8,384' 2,555 m

Low

3,693' 1,125 m

Up

3,212' 979 m

Down

6%

Avg Grade (4°)

40%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Section Of

Description

Segment 14 of the Colorado Trail starts at the Chalk Creek Trailhead. From Highway 285, go west on 162 (Chalk Creek Drive). There is a Mount Princeton Hot Springs sign at the turn. Follow 162 past Mount Princeton Hot Springs to the trailhead. There is parking on both the left and right side of the street.

The trail starts on the left (south) side of the street. Turning left (east), onto Bunny Lane will take you onto Segment 13. Crossing the bridge and heading west will take you onto Segment 14. The trail starts out relatively easy, then quickly turns to a short, but steep, climb. You top out on this first climb around mile 1.5 and are rewarded with awesome views of the Chalk Cliffs. Catch your breath and enjoy the view! From there, you'll traverse the ridge a bit before starting a steady, rolling climb.

There are a couple trail intersections between mile 6 and 7 where you want to stay awake. The trail is pretty well marked with the Colorado Trail markers, but you have to slow down and look around to make sure you are on the right route. Especially in the fall or winter where the trail can be harder to see through leaves and snow, make sure to find the markers to confirm the correct path.

You'll travel through many ups and downs that are challenging, but manageable until you reach the high point (10,500 feet) around mile 11. Enjoy the descent, but fear not! There is more climbing ahead. The best part of the hike (in my opinion) is the descent on the ridge from about mile 13 to 15. The views are stunning, and it's pure joy to bomb down the trail!

At the bottom of the trail, you'll pass through Angel of Shavano Trailhead before starting your final climb. Again, the trail is marked with the CT markers to guide your way across the road. The final climb is a touch over a mile and a quarter, and then there is a rolling downhill to the finish. The descent down to Highway 50 is relatively steep, but not technical. Once you reach the highway, you have completed Segment 14.

Overall, this section will reward you with great views, relative solitude, non-technical singletrack, challenging climbs, breathtaking descents, magical trips through the aspens, many bridge crossings and a healthy taste of why we all love Colorado so much.

Contacts

Shared By:

Amy Hillers

Trail Ratings

  3.4 from 5 votes

#4

in Buena Vista

#23538

Overall
  3.4 from 5 votes
5 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#4

in Buena Vista

#1,901

in Colorado

#23,538

Overall
20 Views Last Month
4,874 Since Nov 6, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

Cool fence built up along the trail. This section was very well maintained and built up.
Aug 12, 2018 near Whitepine, CO
An informative sign marks the route to Browns Lake and the waterfall.
Jun 2, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Many, many aspens along this beautiful trail!
Oct 13, 2017 near Alpine , CO
From the top of the first climb.
Oct 13, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Views of the Chalk Cliffs.
Oct 13, 2017 near Alpine , CO
Cross the bridge over Chalk Creek to start.
Oct 13, 2017 near Alpine , CO

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Check-Ins

Jun 19, 2021
Courtney P
leaving camp 6.4mi — 8h 20m
Jun 19, 2021
J M
Start of day 2. Woke up at 0600. Joints hurt. 6.4mi
Jun 18, 2021
Courtney P
starting — 16h 00m
Jun 18, 2021
J M
Aug 14, 2018
Mtn Dew
21mi
Jul 20, 2018
TheOzMan Climbeth
Jul 8, 2018
Jennifer H
we started at Chalk Creek Trailhead and went to browns creek falls 12mi
Jul 1, 2018
Matt Kohn