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Midland Hill Out-and-Back

Intermediate
  4.7 ( 6 ) Favorite

Trail

4.9 mile 7.9 kilometer out and back
70% Runnable
Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 1,586' 483 m
Descent: -1,585' -483 m
High: 9,522' 2,902 m
Low: 7,936' 2,419 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 58% (30°)

Dogs

Off-leash
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Map Key

Trail shared by John Toepfer

A short run to a summit with magnificent views across the Arkansas River Valley of the Sawatch Range 14ers.

John Toepfer

Features Birding · Fall Colors · River/Creek · Spring · Views · Wildlife

Open all year. Usually snow-free, but it can hold snow for a few days after storms, and there is often snowpack from the ridge to the summit (this section is north facing). No water is available except at the trailhead (loo and water fountain in summer, portapotty in winter) and the river for pooch.

Overview

This five-mile out-and-back provides runners with quick access to great views from Midland Hill. The summit is the goal, but you'll have to work harder the closer you get to it. The views and surroundings make it well worth it.

Runner Notes

Running is possible, but there are many rock steps, roots, switchbacks, and steep sections.

Description

Parking at the Buena Vista River Park, cross the bridge over the Arkansas River. There are many trails on this BLM property, but we're headed right to the top of Midland Hill. As you run beside the river, there will be a couple of trail intersections, but always take the right trail, which is basically straight.

Soon, you'll veer away from the river and start heading up. After about 300 vertical feet, you'll come to CR304, originally the Colorado Midland Railway which went from Colorado Springs to Grand Junction. Cross the road, and continue on the trail marked 6032. Another junction will veer left but again go straight (the right fork). You'll be able to see the summit from here, but first you traverse the slope in a SE direction for a while.

When you come to the very large boulders, the steep part of the run begins. The trail is well made, but keep a close eye out so you don't miss one of the numerous switchbacks. When you gain the ridge, the hardest part is over. Follow the ridge for a bit, switchback a couple more times, circle the summit block counterclockwise and you're there. Now, have a seat and look west. The short view is of the Arkansas River and Buena Vista. But across the valley you'll see 14ers Mt. Columbia, Mt. Yale, Mt. Princeton, Mt. Antero, and Mt. Shavano, along with major 13ers and many 12ers and 11ers.

Then turn to your south. Mt. Ouray dominates the horizon, as well as Methodist Mountain near Salida, and then farther south the Sangre de Cristo Range. You'll also be looking into Brown's Canyon National Monument, but won't be able to identify it unless you know where to look.

Looking east, you're seeing the heart of Four Mile, a BLM destination for ORV and 4x4, mountain biking, and camping. Four Mile includes the aptly named Carnage Canyon, an extreme 4x4 trail. Turn north and you'll see the twin summits of East and West Buffalo Peaks in the Buffalo Peaks Wilderness.

When you're ready, just retrace your steps back to the parking area.

Flora & Fauna

Lower down is mostly piñon, then the upper reaches hold ponderosa pine and other conifers. Sage is the dominant shrub. Although not often seen, there are mountain lions, bears, and coyotes. Rattlesnakes are not common, if ever seen, this far north in the valley. They are more prevalent around Salida.

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Check-Ins

Jun 26, 2018
Jeff Quade
May 13, 2018
Robbie Pike
10mi
May 5, 2018
Juli Williams
Short beautiful hike in town with great views of the collegiate peaks.

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 6 votes

#1328

Overall
  4.7 from 6 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Featured Run Rankings

#229

in Colorado

#1,328

Overall
44 Views Last Month
3,875 Since Apr 30, 2017
Intermediate

0%
14%
71%
14%
0%
0%

Photos

We made it to the top! Not bad for senior citizens!
Jun 16, 2019 near Buena V…, CO
Finally the incline relents when you hit the ridge! You're almost there!
Apr 30, 2017 near Buena V…, CO
Mt. Princeton and Mt. Yale can be seen from the top of Midland Hill.
Apr 30, 2017 near Buena V…, CO
Mt. Princeton pokes through the skyline in the distance.
Apr 30, 2017 near Buena V…, CO
This is where the real work begins.
Apr 30, 2017 near Buena V…, CO
Enjoy fantastic views from the summit of Midland Hill looking north.
Apr 30, 2017 near Buena V…, CO

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