We hiked up the North Cottonwood Creek drainage just west of Buena Vista. The Collegiate Peaks is one of the more dramatic wilderness areas in Colorado, boasting eight 14,000 peaks. Of course, those “14’ers” also draw crowds. What we didn’t realize when we picked this hike is that the trailhead is the same one that people use to access Mount Columbia, Harvard, and Yale (get the name yet?).
The trailhead was jam-packed with cars, but luckily the crowds split off to the north of our trail within a few miles to get to Mount Harvard. That left us with a fairly quiet hike back in to Kroenke Lake. A boyscout troop had beaten us to the lake itself, so we had to bushwack around a bit to find a decent campsight just above the lake, but that led us to a nice little meadow with a view back down the valley. We were hoping to spot some wildlife in the meadow, but no luck.