By Mary Norton
This trail is what anyone would expect from a Colorado hike – views, elevation, cool air, a well-defined path and wildflowers! The Continental Divide Trail at Berthoud Pass is a hike that will take you from the trailhead to above treeline offering spectacular views of the surrounding Rocky Mountains. Another great feature; it’s less than one hour from Denver!
The trail begins to the right of the restrooms where the large sign for the Continental Divide Trail is located. Follow the wide trail to the right until you are on the fire road. The fire road is the first section of the trail that leads uphill through shady, cool woods. There are a few switchbacks as the trail leads up higher and higher.
The trail is a constant uphill ascent and the high elevation may slow some hikers’ usually-quick pace. Flowers bloom along the entire trail in the low-growing grass; look for Mountain Bistort, Indian Paint Brush, Purple Aster, and Tall Chiming Bells.
The trail narrows from the wide fire road to a narrow packed trail as it passes the junction marked with a mileage sign. Mt Flora is a 2 mile hike one way. Pick your destination; whichever one you choose, you will enjoy a beautiful trail the entire way. Up on top of the ridge the views just never end!
We hiked out about 1/4 mile and stopped alongside the trail for a picnic. This was our destination with the little kids – making it a 2 mile roundtrip hike.
Because of the elevation, it’s wise to hike early before afternoon storms roll across the mountains. Lightening danger is very high.
After descending Berthoud Pass on US Hwy 40, we stopped in Empire for some ice cream and cold drinks. Pick your place, they are all “Mom and Pop” eateries. We chose “Dairy King” and enjoyed the company of other summer travelers.