Continental Divide Trail at Berthoud Pass
Updated on July 2, 2012 by Mary Norton
DifficultyModerate to difficult (starting elevation 11,307 ft.) - trail distances vary depending on your destination.
Trail Length2 Mile Roundtrip (portion) OR
- Mt. Flora (4 mile round trip)
- Breckenridge Peak (6 mi. round trip)
- Bill More Lake (10 mi. round trip)
- Fall River (16 mi. round trip)
- On the west side of Hwy 40, hike 19 miles on the Contintental Divide Trail through Vazquez Peak Wilderness to Herman Gulch Trailhead (near Loveland Ski Area).)
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.
DirectionsTake I-70 west from Denver to exit #232 US Hwy 40 toward Empire/Granby. Go approx. 15 miles to the top of Berthoud Pass. Parking lot is on the right. Trailhead is at the sign by the restrooms. Click map for detailed directions.
AttractionsWe stopped for ice cream and cold drinks at the "Dairy King" in the little town of Empire on US 40 near I-70. All the eateries in town are "mom and pop" establishments full of summer travelers.
About Mary Norton, Contributor of this Hike
Mary grew up here, so she knows all the best places to go! With a family of 6 children and no lack of enthusiasm for the outdoors, Mary is well qualified to give you tips and hike spots that will challenge you as well as delight your whole family. Whether you have kids, dogs, or are just looking to enjoy nature by yourself, Mary will show you where to go to find what you are looking for.