From the Middle Saint Vrain Trailhead, the Buchanan Pass Trail runs west along the north side of Middle Saint Vrain Creek. It is a gradual climb for the next five miles to the Indian Peaks Wilderness boundary. Close to here, the Buchanan Pass Trail intersects the Saint Vrain Mountain Trail. The Buchanan Pass Trail continues up-valley for just under one mile to intersect with Saint Vrain Glacier Trail.
The Buchanan Pass Trail crosses the creek and hooks to the south. The half-mile spur trail to Red Deer Lake intersects after another 1.1 miles. Another 0.8 miles beyond this spur, the Buchanan Pass trail meets Beaver Creek Trail. From this intersection, the Buchanan Pass Trail climbs steeply west to the Continental Divide at Buchanan Pass (elevation 11,837'). There have been years in which this pass is never clear of snow. From the pass, 10 miles of trail continues west and connects with the Cascade Creek Trail.
Permit Info: Part of this trail lies within the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area, which requires camping permits for all overnight trips between June 1 and September 15. Organized groups are required to have a permit for both camping and day-hiking year round. Overnight permits cost $5 per group, per trip from June 1 through September 15. Day-hiking permits are free year round.
Restrictions: Motorized vehicles prohibited. Camping is prohibited along the first half-mile of trail west of Middle Saint Vrain Trailhead. On those portions of Buchanan Pass Trail within the Indian Peaks Wilderness, the following restrictions apply: bicycles are prohibited; seasonal permits are required; pets must be on a hand-held leash at all times; campfires are prohibited; group size maximum is 12 people or people and livestock combined. Fishing is permitted in accordance with regulations established by the Colorado Division of Wildlife.
Directions: Approximately 6.5 miles north of Ward, Colorado, on Colorado Highway 72, watch for signs for Peaceful Valley and Camp Dick Campgrounds. Turn west onto Middle Saint Vrain Road (County Road 92 and National Forest System Road 114) and proceed 1.25 miles to the west end of Camp Dick.
Day Hiking: This trail is ten miles long from Peaceful Valley Campground to Buchanan Pass. The first seven miles climb gently along the Middle Saint Vrain Creek. The trail becomes much steeper as it makes the approach to Buchanan Pass on the Continental Divide. Destinations include Saint Vrain Mountain, Saint Vrain Glaciers, Red Deer Lake and Buchanan Pass. This trail intersects Sourdough Trail, Saint Vrain Mountain Trail, Saint Vrain Glaciers Trail, and Beaver Creek Trail. From Buchanan Pass, the trail continues west to Cascade Creek Trail.
Closest Towns: Allenspark, Colorado
Water: Middle Saint Vrain Creek; treat water for drinking
Restroom: Practice Leave No Trace principles
Elevation: 8,600' - 11,837'
Information Center: Boulder Ranger District, 2140 Yarmouth Ave, Boulder, CO 80301, Phone 303-541-2500, Fax 303-541-2515