Billings Lake

4.1/5 (21 reviews)
Maysville, Colorado (Chaffee County)
Last Updated: 11/24/2022

Trail Information


The Pride of the West Tunnel is not a mine such as others in the area. Rather it was a "Toll Tunnel" That connected the Billings Lake Valley and the townsite of Hancock to the north near Buena Vista by boring through Pomeroy Mountain. This tunnel predates rail travel through the area by 2 years. The ornate stonework with the keystone engraved with "Pride of the West Tunnel 1880" were used as the backdrop by photographers taking pictures for prospective investors. A two story hotel stood as the connecting stone structure.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.1/5 (21 reviews)
Partially Open
Rated 5/5
Visited: 11/25/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Black Friday trail run! Trail is in good condition. No gates closed. We made it to WP 8 until we were stopped by a lot of snow. I’m not sure how much further we could have made it. I definitely recommend chains. There’s a lot of ice between WP 6 and 7. I couldn’t make it without the chains but there were tracks ahead of me. I was the farthest tracks so no tracks from WP 8 onward. Very beautiful.
Official Crew
Seasonal Closure
Visited: 11/24/2022

Closed for the season! See you next year!
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/11/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Harder

Maybe its all the rain this year, but there are some obstacles which are definitely a ‘3’ and plenty of rocks making it a bumpy ride. Did see a family of 3 moose not far off the road.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 09/10/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Considering it was one week after Labor Day I gambled on driving up from Cañon City late Friday, leaving at 4pm and arriving at 6:15pm, hoping to find a good spot. It paid off. The majority of campsites were unoccupied. As stated elsewhere, it's a pretty rocky trail but not at all difficult. A relatively easy ride when I aired down my 35s to 15 psi. Saw lots of stock pickups and SUVs on the trail and at the lakes. High clearance definitely helps, though. Driving up I only passed a few vehicles late Friday. More traffic on Saturday. Many dispersed campsites along the route, many of which are right on the North Fork stream—the sound of the water making for great sleeping. Tent camped one night along the stream. Drove up to North Fork Reservoir Saturday morning. Less than half the campsites were occupied. A LOT of beetle kill damage the higher you get. Very open and exposed campsites at the reservoir as lots of infected trees were removed while the reservoir was closed for two years. No trees around that majority of the campsites makes it pretty windy, but that also means there is a lot of firewood available. Went on up to Billings Lake. Was the only vehicle there at 9am. A few more showed up as I was leaving an hour later. The few trails around Billings are easily navigable but VERY narrow, enclosed by bushes on both sides. People who frequent the area told me the fishing at Billings wasn't really worth it and if you do catch anything not to eat them due to the mine tailings everywhere. The North Fork Reservoir, on the other hand, has a lot of fish and the water is amazingly clear. Lots of great fishing and swimming spots on the shore opposite the parking area and dam. People were catching a lot of fish when I was there. Given that the trail is relatively easy, campsites with firewood are plentiful, there's good fishing at the reservoir, a quick side-trip to Billings Lake, and with great scenery throughout I'm definitely planning on going back.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 08/20/2022
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

The trail is very rocky the entire way through. Aired down (but probably not enough...22 psi) and we still rattled around pretty well. Nothing a stock SUV / Truck couldn't handle, although I'd definitely recommend skids. I banged mine a couple times, although arguably that was my fault by picking poor lines. Super pretty drive though. You get to see an avalanche clearing area, and the scenery is gorgeous all the way up. Billings lake is serene. I'd recommend it if you're ok with bouncing a lot, are ok with taking it slow, and want to burn a few hours.

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