FATMAP by Strava

River to Summit: 5 Best Hikes Close to Buena Vista, CO

Explore the incredible topography surrounding the small town of Buena Vista, CO.

Alpine Climbing, Hiking Easy, Moderate, Difficult, Severe

Kroenke Lake
Photo: Scott Anderson


Buena Vista has been blessed with a topographical diversity that most mountain TOWNS could only dream of! Just across the rushing Arkansas River from downtown, foothills rise abruptly toward the towering Buffalo Peaks. In these foothills, you’ll find massive domes of exposed granite, slabs of bedrock, and gnarly fields of boulders. On the opposite side of the valley, the Continental Divide strikes an impressive pose, with 14,000-foot mountain peaks scraping the blue dome of the sky.

With such a stunning landscape and hundreds of square miles of public land, you can discover a small of adventures to occupy you here in Buena Vista. So how do you narrow the long list of lust-worthy landscapes to the absolute five best day hikes?

This guidebook is the answer.

First, you can’t visit Buena Vista without bagging a 14er summit. Mount Yale is BV’s backyard 14er, with over a dozen others within easy striking distance of town. This guidebook details all the 14ers in the Sawatch Range.

For a more attainable climb to the top of a small mountain, try hiking to the top of Midland Hill directly from downtown. Without even having to get in your car, the convenience can’t be beaten, and you’ll get to explore the stunning granite domes and boulders mentioned above.

While you could choose to hike short loops in the close-to-town trail system or bag even more peaks high up in the mountains, the last three hikes on this list all lead to gorgeous alpine lakes, without traveling far from town. The three featured here are Ptarmigan Lake, Kroenke Lake, and Hartenstein Lake. If you want to explore even more lakes, check out this dedicated guidebook filled with 14 alpine lakes in Central Colorado!

Routes included

Related guidebooks