Hike Hope Pass

Colorado Willis Gulch Trailhead

Added by Derrick Lytle

  • This trail is 9 miles roundtrip with 4500' of vert
  • Bring your dog and keep him/her off-leash for the hike
  • The trail follows the river, so water is easily accessible
  • Duration: Half Day

Hope Pass is accessed from the Willis Gulch trailhead about 25 miles outside of Leadville, Colorado. To get to the trail head, follow Highway 24 East for about 16 miles until you arrive at the junction for Highway 82. Turn right and follow Highway 82 for about 8.3 miles. You will see a sign on the right that says "Willis Gulch Trailhead." Turn left into the dirt parking lot next to the river and park for free. At the trail head there's no map or bathrooms just a sign that warns of bears in the area. The hike starts at the bridge.

The trail is a total of 9 miles round trip with about 4500 feet of vert. There is no official trail for Hope Pass. Rather, it is done by connecting a few trails. Once you cross the bridge at the river, follow the trail to the first sign, turn left. From here follow the signs that say "Big Willis" or that are unofficially marked "Hope." If in doubt, follow the trail that leads up.

I day hiked to the pass to take photos with my dog and kept him off leash most of the time. The trail is not very crowded and follows a river most of the way so water is accessible if needed. In the basin before the pass there's a small beautiful lake at the treeline. Once you pass the treeline follow the trail through the scree and you will make it to the pass which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains. Open camping is allowed without a permit.

Be sure to bring rain gear and other essentials for backcountry hiking and camping. In the summer rainstorms are frequent in the afternoon.

Pack List

  • Hiking Boots
  • Water or Filter
  • Snacks
  • Camera
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Backpacking, Hiking, Photography, Running

Skill Level:



Year Round

Trail Type:



9 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4500 Feet



Dog Friendly
Easy Parking

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How to Get There

12 months ago

Best view in the LT100

For a shorter but steeper route use the TH near the ghost town of Winfield.

12 months ago

over 1 year ago

I worked in Twin Lakes last summer and I loved waking up and seeing Hope every morning. Good recommendation!

over 1 year ago

Added by Derrick Lytle

- trail running - time lapse photography - filmmaking - adventure -
 @derricklytle derricklytle.tumblr.com

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