Hike Hope Pass

Colorado Willis Gulch Trailhead

Added by

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
Read More

How to Get There

almost 2 years ago

Best view in the LT100

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

almost 2 years ago

over 2 years ago

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

over 2 years ago

Added by Derrick Lytle

- trail running - time lapse photography - filmmaking - adventure -

 @derricklytle derricklytle.tumblr.com

Activities:

Photography, Running, Backpacking, Hiking

Skill Level:

Intermediate

Season:

Year Round

Trail Type:

Out-and-Back

Distance:

9 Miles

Elev. Gain:

4500 Feet

Rating:

Features:

Dog Friendly
Easy Parking
Forest
Groups
Lake
River
Scenic
Wildflowers
Wildlife

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

More Adventures Nearby

Mountain Bike the Notch Trail

Colorado / Notch Trailhead

The trail is shared by mountain bikers and ATV users. The Notch Trail is located in the San Juan National Forest.  Photos: William Snow, Davey Nin, and Kent Kanouse

Hike the Hidden Valley Loop

Colorado / Hidden Valley Loop Trails

The trail is shared by mountain bikers, hikers, and trail runners. The Hidden Valley Loop offers amazing views of the Animas Valley, especially when the foliage changes in the fall.

Hike the Jones and Dutch Creek Loop

Colorado / Jones Creek and Dutch Creek Trail

The trail is well maintained and is dog friendly. Bring extra water if using this trail in July or August.  Photos: Chris M Morris and Daniel Weber