Mount Princeton

Buena Vista, Colorado (Chaffee County)

Last Updated: 06/19/2022
4.7 / 5 ( 21 reviews )
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Highlight: Mount Princeton
Mount Princeton (14,196') is the most majestic and popular of the Collegiate Peaks, and the Princeton Chalet road takes you well above timberline on the southern slope of the mountain. The trail is in such close proximity to Buena Vista that you can look up at the mountain from downtown and then two hours later you can be looking down on the valley below giving you views of nearly the entire county. The road will certainly test the nerves of even the most experienced drivers as it switchbacks its way up the mountains and then traverses to the south crossing a large avalanche chute before ending on a ridge below Tigger Peak (13,300'). A chalet built by Young Life in the 60s still stands at the end of the road and is used by hikers and mountaineers during their adventures.


Route Information

Technical Rating


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1. Trailhead (0 mi)
Turn right at the end County Road 322 into the Mount Princeton parking area. Make your way through the large parking area to start the trail. There is no camping allowing in the parking area.

Directions to Trailhead

From the Highway 24/Main Street stoplight in Buena Vista, head west on West Main Street. In .75 miles turn left onto Rodeo Road. Continue on Rodeo Road for 6.75 miles and then turn right onto County Road 322 at a sign for Frontier Ranch. Continue on CR 322, at .9 miles turn right and pass through the entrance to the Mt. Princeton parking lot. You are now at the Mt. Princeton Trailhead.



Land Use Issues

This area is part of Pike-San Isabel National Forest, and as such is part of the 2011 Lawsuit where a coalition of conservation and recreation groups are suing the U.S. Forest Service over what they say is the illegal addition of 500 miles of motorized roads and trails. A settlement was reached in late 2015 requires the U.S. Forest Service to re-evaluate the roads and create a new travel management plan. Over the next year, 30 roads will be partially or completely closed while this evaluation takes place over the next 5 years. It is imperative that the OHV community let's their voices be heard on this issue. If we do nothing, those 500 miles will be shutdown. Contact the local ranger districts and let them know why the area is important to you and the history you have there. Salida Forest Service District Office Leadville Forest Service District Office

Trail Reviews (21)

Questions & Answers (4)

Q: Hi Marcus! What can you tell us about Tigger Peak? Is it worthy of its own Trail report?
–Neal A. Tew (07/19/2019)
–Marcus Trusty (07/19/2019)
Q: When do we think Mt. Princeton will be open this year given all the snowfall? Mid June?
–Sean (05/23/2019)
–Marcus Trusty (05/24/2019)
Q: Will a standard size 4WD Silverado 1500 be ok on this trail?
–Andy (08/05/2018)
–Marcus Trusty (08/06/2018)
Q: When does this trail normally open completely? I saw an April 16 trip report, but just wondering how soon till it's possible to reach the top.
–Patrick Cox (05/05/2018)
–Marcus Trusty (05/10/2018)
–Patrick Cox (05/05/2018)
–Marcus Trusty (05/05/2018)

Writer Information

Marcus Trusty

Mapping Crew - Colorado

Marcus is a 4th generation Buena Vista, Colorado native who grew up bouncing around the central Colorado mountains in the back of his dad's CJ5. During his younger years, Marcus grew to appreciate public lands and the recreation opportunities backroads and 4-wheel drive trails offer. Marcus has been wheeling for 20 years now and has wheeled in Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada, and California. Until a few years ago Marcus had just been a participant in the wheeling community, but he has become much more active in preserving trails and working to make sure the wheeling community has their access maintained for future generations. In 2017 Marcus helped to found Colorado Off Road Enterprise - CORE, based out of Buena Vista. CORE has worked with the Forest Service and BLM and has volunteer agreements in place with both organizations. CORE also has a Forest Service trail adoption agreement in place for Grizzly Lake, Pomeroy Lake, Hancock Lake, Hancock Pass, and Tincup Pass, Tomichi Pass, Williams Pass, Ptarmigan Lake, Mineral Basin, Clohesy Lake, Lost Canyon, Champion Mill, Iron Mike Mine, and Slide Lake. If Marcus is not working you can generally find him somewhere out on the trails around Buena Vista.
For individual use only, not to be shared.