Buffalo Peaks Walkabout

Two years ago I went to the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness.

I remember it being a pleasant area.

Reminding me more of parts of Maine than Colorado.

As I was looking for a place to backpack this coming weekend, I remember that ridge line I wanted to hike.

Looking at the maps, the ridge line beckoned even more.

Two 13k foot peaks? With no trail to reach them? Sounded great.

Throw in some fall color, elks bugling and a mix of cross-country, single track and old jeep road walking and it ended up being a great trip. Short and sweet.

I immediately walked upon a carpet of aspen leaves from the start. The wonderful damp and almost sweet smell of the wet leaves were in the air.

I was perhaps a week past peak color, but it was still beautiful.

I soon left the single track and followed old jeep track that petered out.

Continued to follow a logical line of travel and made it to tundra.

I was camped at the cusp of treeline just below West and East Buffalo peaks.

The elks were bugling in the cool night air.

I woke up to glorious fall morning. How else to describe it?

I soon reached the ridge line and made my way to the summit of West Buffalo Peak. I could see some of the Collegiate 14ers in the distance.

The ridge between East and West Buffalo Peaks was hiked.

I am not much of a peak bagger so I slabbed around the summit when I was about five-hundred feet below it. It made more sense for my route rather than hike to the top.

A small tarn was reached just below treeline.  East Buffalo was above.

I continued my cross-country route. Single track was joined about two-miles from my vehicle.

I had one last look to East Buffalo a mere five minutes from the trail head. A great way to wrap up the trip!

The drive back was uneventful and major Sunday traffic was avoided.

A perfect 24 hours in the wilderness area.

All the photos

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Matthew Gibble
Matthew Gibble
7 years ago

Great route. A party of four of us did a loop up there in late June after I had messaged with you about that area. Magnificent area to head off trail and get to those peaks. Great photos sir!

Gene is Lucky
Gene is Lucky
7 years ago

Enjoyed the closeup of the wet aspen leaves. Thanks Paul.

7 years ago

Another one of my favorite areas in Colorado. We had some wonderful friends who lived in Buena Vista and I’ve done quite a few hikes in the Buffalo Peaks. I saw my first and only mountain lion in “the wild” running away from me on the west side of the mountains.

3 years ago

I thru’ed the Colorado Trail in 2018, and one of my great memories (from the Collegiate East segment) was the view of the Buffalo Peaks across the Arkansas valley. Now you’ve made me want to get back and visit this area.