Buchanan Pass Trail

Roosevelt National Forest, Colorado 80436

Elevation Gain6,024ft
Trailhead Elevation10,398ft
Elevation Min/Max8800/11842ft
Elevation Start/End10398/10398ft

Buchanan Pass Trail

Buchanan Pass Trail is a hiking trail in Grand County and Boulder County, Colorado. It is within Roosevelt National Forest and Indian Peaks Wilderness Area. It is 10.2 miles long and begins at 10,398 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 20.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 6,024 feet. The Buchanan Pass (elevation 11,844 feet) saddle can be seen along the trail. Near the end of the trail is an information guidepost. This trail connects with the following: Red Deer Lake Trail, Saint Vrain Glaciers Trail, Cascade Creek Trail and Saint Vrain Mountain Trail.

Buchanan Pass Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"The nonmotorized Buchanan Pass Trail 910 takes you gently uphill through thick forest north of Middle Saint Vrain Creek and into high meadows with beautiful vistas of the Continental Divide. This hike is featured as access to explore the area.

Past the 4.5-mile turnaround, you can hike any of several di?erent trails to the Saint Vrain Glaciers—Red Deer Lake, Saint Vrain Mountain, Beaver Creek Trail, or Buchanan Pass-that traverse the Divide. As a day hike, you can enjoy big rock outcroppings at mile 2.1 and the broad meadows and creekside stops just before the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary."

"The challenging Buchanan Pass Trail has been recently closed to us mountain bikers, but a good ride can still be had using the forest road on the south side of Middle St. Vrain creek. The trail starts easy, but gets progressively rockier as it climbs to the Coney Cutoff Road. The drop from Coney Flats is long, much of which is on loose small rocks.

Pedal a short distance on the road and take the wide Middle St. Vrain Trail on the left. The trail is remarkably smooth as it slowly climbs west along the Middle St. Vrain River. Several trails join the main trail; keep pedaling parallel to the river to the Middle St. Vrain Road. Turn left onto the road and grind your way west, sometimes on baby-head sized rocks to the Cooney Cutoff Road FR 507 (5.3). Take this rutted and rocky road on the left toward Beaver Reservoir and climb to the Coney Flats Trailhead (6.0)."

"The shortest route to Buchanan Pass begins at Beaver Reservoir and leads to a tundra- covered pass below Sawtooth Mountain and over to the western side of Indian Peaks.

The least-lengthy approach to Buchanan Pass begins on the north shore of Beaver Reservoir. (The Buchanan Pass Trail from the Middle Saint Vrain Creek to the north is long; the Buchanan Pass Trail from the west to the pass on the Continental Divide is longer.) From privately owned Beaver Reservoir, walking up a 4WD road lifts hikers along a comparatively gentle grade through lodgepole pines. Here and there, actual beaver reservoirs built by busy rodents add interest and mosquitoes to this route."

"This fantastic excursion up to Buchanan Pass and Sawtooth Mountain features alpine wildflowers, meadows, spectacular views, great camping sites, and an ascent of Sawtooth Mountain. This is a beautiful two-to three-day hike.

Trail conditions: The lower part of the trail is rocky and wet in some sections. The trail is well traveled and sees a fair amount of traffic during weekends in the summer months. Mountain bikes are allowed on this part of the Buchanan Pass Trail. The upper part of the trail near Buchanan Pass holds snow well into the summer months."

"A great singletrack challenge for advanced riders. Beautiful scenery along Middle Saint Vrain Creek, with occasional views to the Indian Peaks. Tread: 10.0 miles on singletrack and 1.5 miles on forest roads."

Buchanan Pass Trail Reviews

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Point to point ride from Sourdough to Peaceful valley is better than this one.
This was a wonderful remote trail. I did the 20 miles from camp Dick to Sawtooth Mtn in a day but would recommend slowing down a bit to enjoy the amazing views. As a middle of the week in September the trails were deserted. I didn't see another hiker until I was almost back to the car. The marked trails are accurate but I found my topographic software (Delorme Topo) had an error in where the it made a big loop to the north before crossing a stream. This threw my map off by nearly a 1/2 mile so it took some tweaking to get it fixed just right. About 8 miles in there is a bridge which has collapsed. It is an easy hop over the broken section but could be interesting if the water was higher up. The entire trail up to the last sumit push follows the river so minimal water is needed to be carried. The first couple miles aren't anything special aside from stopping to watch the short water falls but once you get into the big valley area about 5 miles in the view is amazing and there are plenty of wonderful places to camp. Technically this is a horse trail as well but thankfully there were no signs of horses on the trail so no horse apples or major erosion issues. As an interesting point the forest service has done an amazing job with "stealth" culverts to control run off and soil errosion. It gives it a nice remote feel without suffering the continued run off problems keeping the trail in pretty good shape. The last summit push however gets very, very brushy. You kind of have to walk through it all sideways and just hope your on trail. Once you get out if it though the trail is pretty obvious. Animal wise I was fortunate to see several varieties of squirells, a mule deer, a skunk and what I beleive was a weasle or minx getting part of it's white winter coat. There were trout in the river and tons of small flowers to be found. I highly recommend this trail for a good high mileage day hike or split it up to 2 or even 3 days.

Buchanan Pass Trail Photos

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Trail Information

Roosevelt National Forest
Nearby City
Roosevelt National Forest
USDA Forest Service, Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave., Boulder CO 80301 (303) 541-2515; fs.usda.gov/arp
Local Contacts
Trails Illustrated Indian Peaks Gold Hill; USGS Ward, Allens Park, Isolation Peak
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018