Challenge Trail – Fisher’s Peak State Park

Distance3.54 mi
Elevation Gain873 ft
My Time1 hr 50 min
DifficultyHard
Closest TownTrinidad
Food NearbyTequila’s

Fisher’s Peak State Park

The first hiking stop on the Great Southwestern Road Trip was at Colorado’s newest state park, Fisher’s Peak State Park. Fisher’s Peak is located in Trinidad in southern Colorado. Colorado Parks and Wildlife really has done a great job getting this park set up. The 19,200 acre property is in its infancy but already has a couple of hiking trails, some nice picnic areas, a good sized parking lot with restroom facilities and will soon be opening up to hunting and even more hiking trails! They really did a very nice job getting this set up and I can’t wait to come back as they open more up! One thing to note, dogs and bikes are not currently allowed at Fisher’s Peak.

The First Look Trail

Basically the park consists of two hiking tails at this point. The first look trail is a quarter mile trail that ends with a great view of Fishers peak and the Challenge trail. I combined them and it made for a nice morning at the park.

The First Look trail splits off from the main trail from the parking lot about a tenth of a mile into the hike. It then switchbacks it’s way for a quarter mile to a clearing. The switchbacks are pretty easy as they are in the 10-15% grade with a brief moment hitting 20%. The trail is also really well designed and easy to follow.

The clearing at the end gives are really nice view of Fisher’s Peak and a small area to relax and enjoy the view. It does look like their might be some trails that will move on from here but they are not completed yet.

The view of Fisher's Peak from the first look trail at Fishers Peak State Park.  The peak rises above a tree covered series of hills.

After the view, you will have to make your way back to the main trail and decide if you are ready for the Challenge Trail!

The Challenge Trail

The main trail at Fisher’s Peak State Park that is ready is the Challenge Trail. I looked at this trail and thought, “A mile or so and 800 feet of elevation, how much of a challenge could it be?”. The answer is a very hard challenge!

From my recording the Challenge Trail is 1.4 miles and 771 feet of elevation gain from the junction with the First Look trail. I have to say I haven’t been this happy to finish a trail in a long time. It was way harder than I thought it would be. This trail has grades consistently in the mid to upper 20% range and it is a very steep hike.

Now to be fair the weather didn’t help me out very much. The trail was a combination of ice, slushy snow, and mud which made footing a real challenge. I think it would have been a little easier on a nice sunny summer day but not much.

A section of the Challenge Trail at Fisher's Peak State Park.  The trail is steep and the terrain on this day was half snow/ice and half mud making it a real challenge.

The Views on Challenge Trail

Now some trails are hard for the sake of hard and not really enjoyable. This was not the case with the Challenge Trail. For all the times I had to stop to catch my breath and yell at mud, I had something beautiful to look at. The park itself is really nice with a series of rolling, tree lined hills that you will be able to see for the first portion of the hike.

The hills of Fisher's Peak State Park from the Challenge Trails.  The brown hills are speckled with short green trees.

This came to be the appetizer view. As you get about two-thirds up the hill the main course of views came into view. To the west, or directly behind you on the trail, the Spanish Peaks start to appear the higher you get up the trail. I got to the point where I was taking breaks just so I could turn around and catch a glimpse…and catch a breath!

The Spanish peaks from about 2/3 of the way up the Challenge Trail at Fisher's Peak State park.  This picture shows the two large peaks at the north end of the range.

The higher you go the better view of the peaks get as well giving your eyes the rewards that your legs and lungs had earned to this point.

If it wasn’t enough to have an ocular appetizer and main course it was time for the desert! As you finally make your way to the top of the Challenge Trail, the park’s namesake comes fully into view.

This final unobstructed view of Fisher’s Peak really shows how large the park is and how much I want to come back and stand on top of that peak one day!

The trail ends at a gate. I believe that the goal is to continue the trail on from this point but currently it is closed. From the junction you have the great views of Fisher’s and the Spanish Peak area and it was a very rewarding trail.

Bonus Video Content of Fisher’s Peak State Park

It has come to my attention that while some prefer reading blogs, others would prefer more video content or even podcasts. Like a Vegas buffet the Fatman tries to please everyone! You can now follow my hiking adventures on, Fat Man Little Trail, the podcast. Also, on the Great Southwestern Road Trip I tried to produce some more video. Make sure you check out and subscribe to my YouTube channel for more. Here is some bonus video content for you from Fisher’s Peak State Park!

The view from First Look Trail:

This is the first time that I looked behind me to see the peaks to the west. This was a stop me in my tracks moment.

Finally finished with the hike! Here is the end of the hike with views of Fisher’s Peak and the surrounding area and even Lake Trinidad!

The videos are a bit of a work in progress on the trip so feel free to email me any suggestions of what you might like to see at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Elevation and Distance

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 3.54 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 873 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 7,215 feet. I was also moving for a total of 1 hour and 50 minutes.

Effort

When they say Challenge they weren’t kidding! The incline on this one is pretty rough and it made for a lot of short steps. Adding to the challenge for me was all of the ice and mud on the trail the day that I went that made it take an extra long time. Here is the step count for the hike from my Fitbit.

The Step Count for the Challenge Trail at Fishers Peak State park was 9,733 steps according to my fitbit.

Terrain

The Challenge trail at Fishers State Park is pretty much a service road that is wide with some rutting. It is a dirt trail that when I went to it was mostly a combination of mud and ice which made for some tricky footing. I would suggest a good pair of hiking shoes for this one.

Access

Colorado Parks and Wildlife have done a good job starting this park. There is a dirt road that leads to it and a large parking area that probably could fit around 40 cars. There were only a few there when I went. They have also set up a few picnic tables around the entrance and pit toilets are available. This is part of the State Park system and there is a $9 fee that needs to be paid at an automated fee station. You could also get a yearly pass. Fishers Peak State park is located just off of I-25 near Trinidad and exit 11.

Wrapping up the Challenge Trail at Fisher’s Peak State Park

I had wanted to make it down to Fisher’s Peak State Park since I heard they opened it last year and I was not disappointed. I can’t wait until they open up even more of this beautiful park. As it was, the challenge trail is a real challenge and has some great views. Since the trail is as wide as a service road I can see this become a haven for trail runners who love the uphill’s.

The First Look Trail is awesome and on the short side so most people should be able to enjoy it. There are plenty of picnic tables around if you want to bring the family and enjoy some time in the woods. So far the park didn’t seem to crowded so it is still a nice place to get away if you find yourself in southern Colorado. I can’t wait to come back when they open more of the park up, I just hope its a little easier than that Challenge Trail!

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to the interactive map page you can find here. If you have any suggestions for hikes or comments feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com or you can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

1 thought on “Challenge Trail – Fisher’s Peak State Park”

  1. Pingback: The Great Southwestern Road trip - Fat Man Little Trail

Leave a Reply