|Elevation Gain||190 ft|
|My Time||43 min|
|Difficulty||Moderate to Easy|
|Closest Town||Buena Vista|
|Food Nearby||High Country BBQ|
Hiking Fistful of Dollars and A Few Dollars More Loop
The Fistful of Dollars and A Few Dollars More loop, is a very popular hiking and mountain biking area at the Collegiate Peaks Overlook park just outside of Buena Vista. The trail is combined with lots of bikes but hikers are welcome as well. Most people will find the trail on the easy side. However, there is some elevation gain that some will consider more of a moderate hike.
The Fistful of Dollars trail can be accessed close to the overlook parking at the Collegiate Peaks Overlook off of 285 just outside of Buena Vista, Colorado. This area is a pay area that requires a fee or a Colorado State Park pass. Most people park near the entrance to take in the great views of the peaks. Or, to have a picnic at the several picnic areas around. But there are plenty of trails that wrap around and even head back towards the hills in the back of the park.
The Fistful of Dollars trail starts at the northern portion of the parking are and can be taken to the North or South. For the full loop I headed to the north first towards the back of the park and finished in the front. That is how I will describe the loop here.
Fistful of Dollars Trail
The Fistful of Dollars trail is a very well used and easy to follow trail that takes you away from the overlook and towards the back hills of the park. Mountain bikes are regulars on this section of trail so keep an eye and ear out. The trail leads through some of the small bushes in the area but doesn’t have much as far as cover or shade goes.
As you head away from the parking lot, the fistful of dollars has a consistent but small incline that is between a 2-5% grade. Nothing to challenging and not always noticeable with the views that surround you. About a quarter of a mile into the trail you begin to get a bit deeper into the trees and at the half mile point you find the junction to the Few Dollars More Trail.
A Few Dollars More Trail
A Few Dollars More Trail is the longer section of the trail that takes you back to the south and west and down the hill a bit. The terrain gets a little more rocky in this section and combines hard rock with the typical hard dirt trails in the area. The first mile of this trail is actually on a downhill plane with grades between 2 and 7 percent.
What can’t be ignored as you head onto this section of the loop are the views. Every few steps seem to give a different perspective of the Collegiate Peaks and it is hard to look at the trail because of how majestic the mountains are.
The Few Dollars More trail traverses down the hill and towards a couple of offshoot trails that lead to the campground and lower level parking before making its way back up the hill and back to the parking area. In total, The Few Dollars More trail is about a mile and half long. The first mile is the slow descent. The last half of a mile reaches inclines of 8% but only gains about 100 feet of elevation so it isn’t too challenging. At the top of the hill there is a quick jaunt to the overlooks above the picnic area and the loop is complete!
Hiking the Fistful of Dollars and a Few Dollars More Loop isn’t something that is overly technical or challenging but more it is a way to get different views of the amazing Collegiate Peaks.
As you travel around the trail you find different views. Or, you can find a spot that is a little more secluded to enjoy the views even more.
I was obsessed with the views as I was walking around. I had to step off the trail and just take in the view from several different locations just to enjoy the moments of the massive range.
If you aren’t much of a hiker and just prefer the views, you can always enjoy them at the overlook location from your car or a picnic table!
Video of the Fistful of Dollars and a Few Dollars More Loop
I have put this time-lapse video together of the Fistful of Dollars Loop so other hikers can get a feel of what the hike is like. If you enjoy this video make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel. It is free to subscribe and you will get the latest outdoor content.
Distance and Elevation
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. Plus, it gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 2.02 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 190 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 8,207 feet. I was also moving for a total of 43 minutes.
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One of the hardest parts of doing this as a hike is avoiding all of the mountain bikers. The elevation gain isn’t too bad until you take the Few Dollars More trail to make it a loop. Then there is a somewhat steep return back to the parking area. Overall though the trail isn’t too much of a challenge. I am going to list it as a moderate. Due to the open exposure and that one bigger incline to deal with.
The trail is very well warn in from the many people and bikes that traverse it. Mostly hard packed dirt with not a ton of shade. It can get very hot and sun protection is definitely recommended. There are a few spots where the trail gets pretty narrow. Plus, a little bit of walking on big smooth rocks that aren’t too hard to manage. Overall, the terrain is very manageable.
The Collegiate Peaks Overlook is located on US 285 just east of Buena Vista. The park is part of the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. A fee of $10.00 per vehicle or a state parks pass is required. There are several small parking areas near the trailhead that showcase the views. There are also several pit toilets and picnic tables near the parking areas.
Wrapping up the Fistful of Dollars and Few Dollars More Loop
This is really an amazing place that has some of my favorite views of the Collegiate Peaks. The trail system is actually pretty complex. It is used primarily by Mountain Bikers but the Fistful of Dollars and A Few Dollars More loop is pretty safe for hikers to be able to enjoy the views and avoid some of the heavy bike traffic.
The loop itself isn’t too challenging but the views are worth pretty much every step. The mountains in spring and early summer are capped with snow still and look absolutely stunning against a blue sky background. If you get a chance to stop, even just to take in the views for a couple of minutes, I highly recommend this spot heading in to Buena Vista.
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