Keystone Hiking Trails: 8 Scenic Routes for Views and Wildlife
It’s almost impossible to get the full Colorado experience without taking a hike. And there are several places to do so. One of the top destinations is Keystone located in Summit County. The area welcomes outdoor lovers to explore its trails, many of which suit newcomers and experts. To help adventure-seekers pick a route, we rounded up the top Keystone hiking trails. Check them out.
Top 8 Keystone Hiking Trails for Summer Adventure
Ideal for all skill levels, Tenderfoot Mountain trail offers an easy way to explore Dillon Reservoir Recreation Area. This moderately trafficked back trail measures less than 3 miles round-trip and is one of the most photographed Keystone hiking trails. In the summertime, wildflowers, lakes and sunshine welcome hikers, while autumn showcases colorful foliage. Tenderfoot Mountain also ranks as a family- and pet-friendly trail.
Loveland Pass Lake
For an easy trek and fresh air, try the short Loveland Pass Lake trail in Arapaho National Forest. This hike measures less than 1 mile and takes visitors to a small lake surrounded by mountains. Many find this an easy hike, as elevation reaches only 68 feet. While on this trail, look for blooming wildflowers and enjoy some solitude. Visitors also recommend packing a picnic to enjoy with friends and family.
Keystone Gulch Trail
Expert hikers and leashed pets will find Keystone Gulch a challenging but rewarding journey through White River National Forest. Keystone Gulf has an 18.1-mile loop with an elevation gain of almost 2,800 feet. The trail consists of mostly dirt, although hikers will come across a lightly trafficked road, so pay attention to twists and turns. Keep an eye out for creeks, waterfalls and mountain views while overlooking the town below.
Many may find Dercum Mountain a difficult hike, so take the River Run gondola up the mountain and hike back down the Schoolmarm trail. In winter, Schoolmarm opens to skiing families, but in the summer this 3.5-mile route welcomes hikers and bikers. Most of the downhill trail offers a flat winding decent down the mountain paired with scenic views.
Meadow Loop and Ridge Trail
This popular Keystone hiking trail also winds through Dillon Reservoir Recreation Area. This 4.6-mile loop provides an easy hike that features serene lake views anytime of year. Suited for all skill levels, most use the trail for hiking, walking, trail running and birding. Meadow Loop and Ridge Trail welcomes all hikers, but ranks as a favorite among families and pet owners.
Old Dillon Reservoir Trail
While exploring the Dillon Reservoir area, don’t miss Old Dillon Reservoir Trail. The 1.7-mile loop welcomes all ages and skill levels — especially those adjusting to elevation changes and families with children. No matter what time of year, hikers will enjoy lake views, scenic foliage, flowers and wildlife.
Back Ranch Loop
Part of the Soda Creek Trail System, Back Ranch Loop is an 8-mile hike with around 710-foot elevation gain. While hiking, admire open meadows, forests and watch for wildlife. Hikers should expect some steepness in the beginning, but the trail levels off about half-way through the journey. For a longer trip, try the entire Soda Park Loop, which measures 10.5 miles. Remember this is also a mountain biking spot.
Guided Trips on Keystone Hiking Trails
In addition to traditional trails, Keystone also offers guided hikes Monday through Saturday. Groups will find five different options that range in distance and difficulty. Experts should try the Mountain Top Nature Hike, which reaches 11,000 feet at the top of Dercum Mountain. Families with children will enjoy the Valley Hike and History and Kids Outdoor Seek and Find. For cardio and clear mountain air, try the Fitness Hike suited for visitors ages 12 and older.