Peak(s):  East Buffalo Pk  -  13,300 feet
West Buffalo Pk  -  13,326 feet
Date Posted:  09/03/2020
Modified:  09/04/2020
Date Climbed:   09/03/2020
Author:  scrambling
 A 2Buffs Update  

I’m posting this brief trip report mainly to give folks considering hiking the Buffs some assurance that people are still out there making the climb and that conditions have not changed much even though there have not been many recent trip reports.

The route description is still spot on. I also recommend the trip report titled “Buffalo Peaks, unlike any other mosquito”. That report was posted 10 years ago but the excellent photos and commentary are all still relative and worth reviewing.

I’ve been on the summits of a lot of different peaks around the country and, frankly, I think the views from the Buffs - especially West Buff - are the best I’ve seen. I could not stop taking panos (which, unfortunately, exceeded the size limit for posting with this report). You can see every Sawatch Peak, Pikes Peak, tons of others, lakes, downtown Buena Vista and lots more. It is, flat out, a spectacular view and both summits are huge and very flat so you can easily walk around and get any imaginable angle you might want. If you are willing to carry the gear and water, either summit would be a fabulous place to camp overnight.

This view from East Buff of Antero Reservoir with Pikes Peak in the distance gives you an idea of how big and flat the summit is.

An aerial view of Buena Vista.

So, obviously, I highly recommend this hike (on a clear day, with good visibility).

However, it is not a walk in the park. I think it is fair to call it a 2+.

Making the loop off of West Buff (as opposed to an out-and-back) I clocked in at 11.2 miles with about 3,400 feet of gain. Roughly half of that (first three miles, last three miles) is on the “road”, which is great, easy, no-brainer hiking. However, the “middle” of the hike has a lot of talus on fairly steep terrain with no obvious specific route (although the overall route is very obvious).

IMO, this stretch of talus on the ascent of East Buff is the worst.

On the descent from West Buff there will be a lot of tedious route finding, especially once you get into the trees. Occasionally you’ll encounter fragments of “trails” in the woods that may or may not lead you in the right direction. I definitely recommend taking a GPS and downloading the route provided on this website. I’d also suggest closely reviewing the photos of the start of the descent off the West Buff summit.

The forest road from U.S. 285 to the trailhead is in great shape (for a forest road). There are a few rough spots here and there, but a two-wheel-drive sedan should have no problem making it up there. It’s a combo campsite/trailhead so it’s not exactly clear (to me at least) where you should or should not park, but there is plenty of relatively-level space to park.

In summary, the Buffs require a good bit of effort, but the views are worth it.


Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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