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Road Trip Hike: Buffalo Peaks Wilderness Loop 

click to enlarge The trail opens up into a long narrow meadow and follows - Tumble Creek. At about 10.5 miles the trail starts a steep uphill through a stand of dead aspens, and then drops down to where it meets the Rich Creek Trail. - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • The trail opens up into a long narrow meadow and follows Tumble Creek. At about 10.5 miles the trail starts a steep uphill through a stand of dead aspens, and then drops down to where it meets the Rich Creek Trail.
For remoteness, solitude, and natural beauty, few things are more enjoyable for a hiker than a trek through one of our country's wilderness areas.

click to enlarge BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
Defined by the Wilderness Act of 1963 to be places that are "...untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain" wilderness areas, where mechanized travel is prohibited, are as close to the ultimate in peace and quiet as one can get in the U.S. 

The Buffalo Peaks Wilderness, about 10 miles south-east of Fairplay (about 75 miles west of Colorado Springs) is the embodiment of a quiet, secluded wilderness area, and subsequently a great place to hike or backpack. 

There are a number of trails in the wilderness area, and this column will feature a 12 mile loop consisting of the Rich Creek and Rough and Tumble Creek Trails. The hike features dense Ponderosa pine forests, rushing creeks, huge wide-open meadows and great views. 

See slideshow below for hike details



To Get There:  Take US Highway 24 west for about 61 miles from 31st Street in Colorado Springs to the town of Hartsel. About a mile past Hartsel, turn north onto Colorado Hwy 9 and take it for about 16 miles to US Highway 285. Turn south (left) on to US 285 and 3.7 miles later, turn right onto County Road 5. Take County Road 5 for 7 miles to County Road 22, and bear right. Three miles later, the Rich Creek Trailhead is on the left.

Things to Know:  For the most part, the trail is fairly easy/moderate in difficulty, with much of it being relatively flat. There are, however, some short, but steep sections. There are no restroom facilities or water at the trailhead. However, the trail does track close to water for much of the hike, allowing you to gather water along the trail. Do not drink the water unless you bring some kind of purification system with you. Except for one section - noted in the slideshow - the trail is easy to follow. The hike is about 12 miles round trip, with more than 3000' of ascent. Backpacking and camping is allowed in the wilderness, with rules about proximity to trails and water posted at the trailhead. Since this a wilderness area, mechanized travel, include bikes, is not allowed. Dogs are allowed, but must be leashed.

Be Good. Do Good Things.

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for  almost 28 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (@hikingguide), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.

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