Length: 7 miles
Closest Town: Steamboat Springs
Directions: Directions from Steamboat Springs: To reach Buffalo Pass TH/Summit Lake Campground, from US-40 in Steamboat Springs, drive north on 7th St and turn right onto Missouri Avenue. Follow the road for 2 miles and turn right onto County Rd 38. Drive 11 miles to the summit of Buffalo Pass. (A high clearance vehicle is recommended). Follow a curve to the right away from Summit Lake Campground and you will see a parking lot on the right (additional parking to the south). The trailhead is next to a small creek that runs under the road just before the intersection.
USGS 7.5 Quadrangles: Mount Zirkel, Buffalo Pass, and Mount Ethel; U.S. Forest Service: Routt National Forest; Trails Illustrated #116 and #117; CDTC Map Set: Map 207, Section CO42.
For More Information:
Medicine Bow Routt National Forest, Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District: (970)-879-1870.
Explore the North Lake to Buffalo Pass section in the spectacular Mount Zirkel Wilderness, which stretches along the Continental Divide for 36 miles in northern Colorado. The Mount Zirkel Wilderness contains over 70 lakes and 15 peaks over 12,000 ft in elevation. From Buffalo Pass at 10,180 ft, you can venture into expansive valleys, high alpine meadows, and beautiful glaciated lakes. This corridor of the Divide is unsurpassed, providing incredible vistas, and scenery often composed of stunted spruce trees, known as Krumholtz. A summer hike on Buffalo Pass is ideal, as spring runoff from the deep winter snow pack provides a bounty of colorful alpine wildflowers. From Summit Lake Campground head north on the CDT. After hiking for 3 miles, take a right (east) at the intersection with the Newcomb Creek Trail and hike another mile or so to the beautiful Round Mountain Lake for a 7 mile round trip adventure. Biking is not permitted headed north from the Summit Lake Trailhead as the trail goes into a wilderness area. If you would like to bike, you can head south on the CDT towards Dumont Lake.