Caribou Pass Trail

Arapaho National Recreation Area, Colorado 80329

Elevation Gain2,183ft
Trailhead Elevation10,077ft
Elevation Min/Max10077/12112ft
Elevation Start/End10077/10077ft

Caribou Pass Trail

Caribou Pass Trail is a hiking trail in Grand County and Boulder County, Colorado. It is within Indian Peaks Wilderness Area and Arapaho National Recreation Area. It is 4.3 miles long and begins at 10,077 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 8.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,183 feet. The Junco Lake Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. The Caribou Pass (elevation 11,804 feet) saddle can be seen along the trail. There is also a shelter along the trail. The trail ends near the Arapaho Pass (elevation 11,906 feet) saddle. This trail connects with the following: Columbine Lake Trail and Arapaho Pass Trail.

Caribou Pass Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"Wildflowers, alpine lakes, and airy views from Caribou Pass are the main attractions of this hike. The last section of the hike to Lake Dorothy is a steep, narrow ledge cut across the northern flank of Mount Neva.

Trail conditions: The lower section of the trail up to the Columbine Trail is maintained, and the upper portion is steep and narrow, with steep drop-offs. Hikers with vertigo should avoid this last part of the hike."

"Caribou Pass is west of the Continental Divide and is described in the West Slope section account of climbing Satanta Peak. But, the trail from Arapaho Pass in the direction of Caribou Pass is so dramatic that it needs to be experienced by hikers approaching from the east, if snow is not blocking it.

If you see a caribou (reindeer) at Caribou Pass, presume that lack of oxygen at high altitude has fogged your brain badly and retreat to tree line. Although the name Caribou attached to every conceivable geographic formation is scattered across an Indian Peaks map, Santa Claus never could have recruited his most noteworthy draft animals here."

"This Boulder County Open Space area includes the historic DeLonde Homestead with a striking, aspen- and pine-ringed high mountain meadow, as well as the 19th-century Blue Bird
Mine complex. The ranch was used for movies, including the 1966 remake of Stagecoach.

Most of the buildings have been preserved, and though they aren’t open to the public, you can look in the windows and see the close quarters the miners used. You can enjoy a stream, small waterfall, diverse trees, and animals. The aspens make it a great fall hike."

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Trail Information

Arapaho National Recreation Area
Nearby City
Indian Peaks Wilderness Area
Dog-friendly, Kid-friendly
Additional Use
USDA Forest Service, Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave., Boulder CO 80301; (303) 541-2500;, or Sulphur Ranger District, P. O. Box 10, 9 Ten Mile Dr., Granby CO 80466; (970) 887-4100;
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated Indian Peaks Gold Hill; USGS Monarch Lake, East Portal, Nederland
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018