The Colorado Trail is unlike anything we have ever done before. From hitchhiking to resupply points, we had so many new experiences. The trail is nearly 500 miles long and goes from the outskirts of Denver to Durango. We’ve spent a lot of time in Colorado, but spending 40 days out in the backcountry and hitchhiking into the small Colorado mountain towns along the way is, in our opinion, the best way to experience the state.
We started the Colorado Trail on June 26th, 2022 going south and finished on August 4th. It was an experience we will never forget and one we want to share with you.
The trail is split into 28 segments, each of which are completely different. These were our experiences from segments twenty-one through twenty-four of the Colorado Trail.
If you missed segments 1-24 of the Colorado Trail make sure to checkout our blogs below before continuing on!
By clicking on the links in this blog you’ll be one step closer to some sweet outdoor gear and we’ll get a small kickback to help feed our dogs.
Last Resupply: Segment 24
When we arrived to Stony Pass Road (segment 24) we were eleven miles into the day and hadn’t had to deal with any lightning or rain yet. We were feeling pretty good energy wise and the more mileage we could knock out the less miles we would have to cover on our way into Silverton the next day.
We ran into our friend Sweet Potato again and hiked with her on and off for the rest of the day. The roller coaster from segment twenty-three was still ongoing as we made our way up and down over the next six miles until reaching our last high point of the day.
As we continued hiking we looked back behind us where we were just several hours earlier to see the whole mountain top covered in thick dark clouds. We were thankful to be up and over segment twenty-three before the storm hit and we were praying that the hikers who had yet to clear it were safe and dry.
We couldn’t tell if the storm was making its way towards us or not so we picked up the pace and pushed to the top of the climb.
We love sharing our adventures with everyone at home! If you want to see our whole Colorado Trail experience from a cameras perspective we saved all of our experiences to our Instagram highlights.
It was misty and foggy when we first got to the top and then miraculously the sun began to shine. The fog dissipated and we could see the valley below us. It was beautiful to say the least and with the sun shining along the hillside we took it as a chance to soak in the rays, dry out our gear from day before, and lookout at the wondrous view below.
Sweet Potato caught up to us, along with a girl named Naomi and another hiker, and we all smiled at this rare glimpse of sunshine. We decided to hike the remainder of the day together since we all were planning on stopping around the same point.
The water was flowing above normal in the creek that ran down the center of the valley. It was as if we were playing a game of hop scotch as we hopped our way from rock to rock to avoid getting our feet drenched.
To our right we could see what little was left from the aftermath of an avalanche that had hit this area in the winter. Can you imagine the strength of an avalanche coming towards you?!
Two miles later, we made it to our spot for the night. There was another couple who was set up next to the creek and the rest of us scouted out the area to find the flattest spots available to set up our tents. Elk Creek was gushing with crystal clear water and we topped off our waters before sitting down to relax.
We all sat in a circle while we made our dinner for the night and got to know our fellow hikers a bit more. Getting to know everyone and their story became one of favorite parts about the trail and we really cherished those moments.
The wife of the couple who was there before us said they had some extra supplies and offered us a variety of meals and adult gummys for the remainder of our trip. Much appreciated!
Mosquitos started to come out and we all said goodnight and got tucked into our sleeping bags for the night. The next day would be our last resupply and town stop until our finish line in Durango.
Want to help us out on our adventures and get some exclusive behind the scenes content? We’d love to have you in our Patreon family!
Resupply on the Colorado Trail
The Colorado Trail is an awesome trail for anyone looking to experience a thru-hike for the first time. Resupplying is a factor you will want to consider before beginning. Like other thru-hikes, you can choose to…
In the morning we got up before the crack of dawn and headed out. We noticed the couple who had given us the meals and gummys was already gone and we found out a few miles down the way that they had gotten up even earlier than us! That never happens and props to them for how freakishly quiet they were!
We were thirteen miles from Silverton and we only had one more long uphill climb before we would be at our hitchhiking spot on Highway 550 into town.
At mile 406.4 there is a side trail that will take you to the Elk Park Railroad train stop. This train will take you all the way up the hill to Silverton for $35. The train picks up from here around 11:15 every morning.
The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad is 137 years old and from what we can imagine, a great way to see Colorado all the way from Durango to Silverton.
It is a bit pricier but it’s one of those experiences you might only ever get to go on once. We hope we get the chance to try it out one day!
Our first eight miles of the day were all downhill to the train tracks, which was a nice way to warm the legs up, and then from there we had a nice toasty couple thousand feet climb up to the trailhead.
We stopped at the creek down at the base of the climb to eat some oatmeal and some protein bars and then threw the packs back on to make our last ascent.
The climb is definitely not as bad as some of the other hikers made it out to be and we were up the mountain in no time.
We were looking forward to some food and cold beverages in town but we had no idea where we were going to sleep for the night. First thought though, we need a ride.
Gearing up for your next adventure? Checkout our Amazon storefront link for a look into some of our favorite gear!
It was the weekend again which meant there were a lot of tourists out on the road. Tourists and hitchhiking is never a good combination. Not only were people not stopping to offer us a ride, they weren’t even waving back as we waved at them from the side of the road. We got discourage at first and then thought we better change our attitudes if we wanted a chance at a ride. About a half hour went by when someone finally stopped to offer us a ride!
We found ourselves getting in a bit of a bad attitude and as soon as we changed it around and started singing some hitchhiking songs Jen and Jesse swooped by (it’s all about the energy!). Jen and Jesse were preparing to head out to hike the JMT (John Muir Trail) and figured they might get a little extra good karma for helping us out. Thanks guys!
After getting some grub and a few cold beverages we were leaning towards a hotel room for the night. That lean quickly turned to a leap when it started to down pour. This was also our last chance on the trail to get a hotel room and since we had to wait until the post office opened the next day for our resupply boxes we thought it would be nice to have a comfortable place to hangout and relax.
To see where we stayed and some of the cool places we went to in Silverton checkout this blog on our favorite Colorado Trail towns!
The following day we woke up and I went to one of the local coffee shops where I had seen they offered gluten free options. Coffee Bear is one the more popular coffee spots in town and they offered delicious fresh roast coffee and quite a few food options, including vegan breakfast bowls!
After we ate our breakfast and sipped down our piping hot coffee we made our way down the road to the only laundromat in town. We ran into our good friend Banger who was also doing some laundry and we exchanged our contact info. We hope we’ll run into him again one day!
At nine we packed up our things from the motel room, harnessed up Nemo, and walked to the Post Office. Last resupply box baby! Once again everything was there and we reorganized our packs before getting back out to the main road for our final hitch hike.
We were planning on stopping at the gas station for a few more snacks and drinks but just minutes after walking down the road a guy pulled over and offered us a ride back to the trailhead. Score! Thanks for the ride Nate!
Soaking In Our Last Moments: Segment 25
From segment twenty-five to the finish line we had just 64.5 miles to go. We said goodbye to Nate and began yet another segment. From the looks of the sky we were going to get into to some more afternoon storms and we wanted to cover as much ground as we could over the next few hours.
As we climbed our way up the mountain we soaked in the sunshine knowing it would soon be gone. We only made it about five miles before taking a snack break and within fifteen minutes we could see the first row of clouds coming in. We put our rain gear on and sat beneath a small group of trees for extra cover.
In the distance we could see lightning striking down on the mountain side and from the looks of it, it was coming straight for us. I said a prayer and we awaited what would be our closest lightning strike encounter yet. Within 50 feet of us lightning struck the ground and shook everything around us. That will get the blood flowing!
The lightning had passed and we decided to keep pushing on. The next pass we needed to clear was six miles ahead and if the weather would cooperate we wanted to get up and over before looking for a spot to set up the tent.
A couple of miles later (mile 420) the rain started to pick up and we decided to take another break to see what the clouds were doing. Just below us to the left was a big open area with tree cover that would be ideal for camping but we still wanted to cover some more miles if possible.
After talking with a few other hikers and checking our Garmin Inreach we decided to play it safe and stay put until the morning. There was a good water source just down the trail from us and I went down to fill up our nalgenes before making some dinner. The rest of the day was a great opportunity to practice my patience as I eagerly waited to start hiking again.
In the morning we got packed up and pulled out some GoMacro bars for a quick breakfast. The sunrise was beautiful overlooking the valley below and we continued to soak in our last few moments of the trail. We only passed one other hiker in the early morning as we made our way to the top of our first climb for the day.
We enjoyed another snack break at the top while we soaked in the view and then made our way down the pass. We lost sight of Nemo for a while only to find her sprinting across the mountain side. If I had to guess she caught sight of a deer that she wanted to play tag with.
As we made our way down the mountain to Cascade Creek we passed a few other hikers who must have risked it the day before and cleared the pass successfully.
Cascade Creek was very impressive and we decided to take another quick stop to soak in the sun that was peaking it’s way up and over the mountain ridge to the East of us. We boiled some water and made some Kuju coffee with some oatmeal as we listened to Bob Marley.
Feeling fueled up and ready to go, we started making our way up the next climb of the day. We all felt great and doing our best to enjoy the last couple days of hiking. We stopped again near the top of our climb just a few miles away and let the sun soak into our skin. So far the sky seemed like it was going to cooperate with us.
A few miles later we reached segment twenty-six. Little did we know this day of hiking was going to be our longest day yet.
Running from Lightning: Segment 26
When we reached segment twenty-six at Bolam Pass Road we were about thirteen miles into the day and feeling on top of the world. We ran into a couple of hikers we had seen the day before as well as some hikers making their way NOBO on the trail. We all hoped for some sunny days!
It started to sprinkle and we decided to take another break to eat some lunch. We didn’t know how much further we would go in the day but we wanted to be for ready for anything. After lunch we kept pushing on only to see another storm system working its way toward us. Lighting included.
We quickly hiked another couple of miles looking for tree cover. The lightning was getting closer and closer and we began to sprint across an open meadow along the ridge before finally finding a big group of trees to seek refuge under (mile 436). We were thankful for those trees! At this point we felt like we had experienced more than enough mountain lightning storms for one trip!
When the lightning and rain passed we decided to keep on trekking and try to clear our next big climb coming up. Mile 439.7 is Blackhawk Pass and after that we would have a gradual climb down the mountain for the next few miles.
We huffed and puffed our way up the mountain as the sweat rolled down our backs. At the top we took a quick picture and a big inhale of fresh air before starting our descent.
We made it two miles downhill and with the sky looking clear for the remainder of the day we took a well deserved long break to fill up our waters and cook up some food. Only a couple more miles until our second to last segment!
Here’s where we will leave off until next time! Segment 27 is one of our favorites of the trail and you won’t want to miss the last day’s hike into Durango!
Like always, if you enjoyed this blog and found it either helpful or entertaining, make sure to share it with your friends and make sure you’re subscribed for all of our future blogs!
We would love to get your support on all of our social media platforms! Each platform is a completely different way to come along with us on all of our adventures!
Leave a Reply