Buena Vista, Colorado

Lost Lake Trail

I wanted to stay in Buena Vista awhile longer to visit with my friends, who workamp at an RV park there. We did a few hikes and other stuff. There is a very pretty trail near Cottonwood Pass that Joyce and I hiked three times. The trail goes to Lost Lake, just below the continental divide. It isn’t very long, but since it starts at about tree line, the scenery is gorgeous.

You can view higher resolution photos in my Flickr Album – Buena Vista 



Hiking towards Lost Lake


A small pond near the beginning of the trail


Beautiful alpine lake! The CDT and Colorado Trail go along the ridge above the lake


Hancock Lake Trail

Another hike I did was to Hancock Lake. The trailhead is up Mt. Princeton Road near St. Elmo. The lake is the beginning point of Chalk Creek, which flows down the canyon past Mt. Princeton Hot Springs and into the Arkansas River. Just above the hot springs is a nice cascade. There is a large pullout to stop and view the cascade. Even in mid-August, the flow was still very high.


Chalk Creek Cascade

The trail to the lake is on an old mining road. It is very rocky, so mostly jeeps and Razors drive on it to within about a quarter mile of the lake. The trail is also part of the Continental Divide Trail and the Colorado Trail. It was a cloudy day, so not the best for photos. There was a light drizzle as I was hiking out.


The old mining road to Hancock Lake


Arriving at Hancock Lake. Chalk Creek Pass is the low point near center. The CDT and CT go over the pass and down to Hwy 50.

This ends a difficult section of the CDT and CT trails. I saw several Colorado Trail thru-hikers; and they were looking forward to getting over the pass.


I loved the colors in the ridge along the east side of the lake.


My First Workamping Job

As it turned out, Snowy Peaks RV Park where Joyce and Dorty, work was in need of another workamper to finish out the season. They recommended me, and after meeting with the owner, I was engaged to work through September 30th. This worked out well for me as I wanted to stay around in Colorado for the fall color and I had some maintenance items and projects that I wanted to work on. This gave me time to do that. I worked outside doing groundskeeping, site prep, cleaning, etc., and was on three days then off three days.


Located on Hwy 24 on the north side of town

I had a very nice full hookup, pull thru site which shared a grassy yard with another workamper couple. Look how shiny my truck and trailer are! I washed and waxed both. Now I don’t want to drive on dusty forest service roads LOL!


I loved my site!


Snowy Peaks is a great RV Park; and I would recommend it if you are visiting the Buena Vista area. This is the park where I stayed the first week after I picked up my Nash from the dealer in Grand Junction; I first met Joyce and Dorty then. BV is in the Arkansas River Valley with abundant hiking opportunities, including numerous 14ers in the Collegiate Peaks. This section of the Arkansas River is one of the most popular rafting areas in Colorado; there is gold medal fishing and lots of four-wheeling. It is centrally located with plenty to see in the surrounding areas.

One of the ranches near town has a herd of these Scottish Highland cattle. Look how shaggy they are!


Shaggy Highland Cattle from Scotland


Buena Vista Pack Burro Race

An annual event in BV is the Pack Burro Race. There is a series of these races in several of the mountain towns. The Buena Vista race is the third race of the Triple Crown, with the first two held in Fairplay and Leadville. The burros must carry a pack saddle with 33 pounds of mining gear, to include a pick, gold pan and shovel. There are all sizes of burros. The runners have to be in excellent shape also, as the races are up to 29 miles long, some going up to the top of passes!


Some of the required items to be carried on the pack saddle.


And they’re off!! That’s Buttercup over to the right in orange colors


These two burros came in first and second

One would think the larger burros would have an advantage over the smaller ones. However the Fairplay and Leadville races were both won by this darling little burro named Buttercup.


Buttercup was third

But Buttercup came in third in the Buena Vista race, so no Triple Crown winner this year.

Independence Pass Fall Foliage

It seemed that summer was never ending in Colorado this year. Usually after Labor Day the higher peaks start getting at least a dusting of snow, but none so far this year. The high temps resulted in the fall foliage running about two weeks behind.

The last weekend of September I took a drive over Independence Pass to see the aspens. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of color there was even though it was still about a week until peak color. I started just before sunrise hoping to get some nice early morning photos. But it was solid overcast when I left. Thankfully, by the time I turned on the road to the pass, the sky had started clearing..


Early morning at Twin Lakes


There was nice color around the Twin Lakes area


The prettiest color was on the slopes below Mt. Elbert


There were areas of nice color along the road


From one of the forest service campgrounds. The campgrounds were all closed for the season.


The aspens were quaking!


On Independence Pass


Looking west down the Roaring Fork Valley just below Independence Pass


On October 1st, I left Buena Vista headed for Albuquerque, NM and the Balloon Fiesta!

4 Comments on “Buena Vista, Colorado

  1. Wow. Your fall color photos are amazing. We saw a lot of beautiful color but Independence Pass and your photos take the prize. Well done.
    We are headed south to San Juan Skyway on Saturday. We were going to leave Wednesday but a cold snap is coming Thursday. 20 degrees at night. We are going to wait until it warms up to a balmy 27.


    • Thanks Martha! Brrr 20 is cold! It’s supposed to be 30 here in ABQ Thursday and Fri. I’ll have to get out the heater I suppose 😀. Enjoy the San Juan’s!


  2. Some very nice photos as usual, Deb. Fall colors will be a while here; trees are just starting to suck up the green and the grass still needs regular mowing, LOL. Beats Montana for those getting tired of snow in Sept to May after 35+ yrs ! Hoping it will be amazing viewing like any rich eastern hardwood forest I have lived in before.


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