Kroenke Lake

Collegiate Peaks Wilderness

Near Buena Vista, Colorado

3 days, July 20-22, 2018

11.8 miles (includes hiking up to Browns Pass)
Elevation Ascent: 2,724 ft

My son picked out this hike for us to do together in 2018. We were looking for a relaxing, shorter hike to test out some new gear and enjoy the backcountry.
Turns out it was a beautiful little hike. We did it in 3 days, but really 2 days would be plenty, unless you want to relax around the lake like we did for a day.

Kroenke Lake

Kroenke TOPO

Kroenke Elevation Profile

This was a maiden voyage for my foray into hammock camping. I brought two different hammocks.

A Sparrow by Dream Hammocks (right hammock in the picture), and a Chameleon by Dutchware Gear (left hammock in the picture).

Kroenke Lake

I used both hammocks on different trips in 2018. Jury is still out on which I like better. The Sparrow is totally customized to my specific choices, everything down to the color of the stitching! Both were comfortable, light, and had options for accessories. I lean towards the Sparrow just because it was so customized. It's really splitting hairs though. Either would be great choices, and both cottage companies have great customer service. Revan and I both slept amazingly well in both Hammocks.

Both the Sparrow and Chameleon are 11ft wide versions. Both have removable bug netting, cold weather options, etc.

I should mention that I also used a couple of mass produced ENO hammocks (Sub 6 and Supersub), and could not get comfortable sleeping in them.

Also, I picked up a Dyneema Fiber Tarp with doors from Hammock Gear (along with tons of accessories for hanging).

It rained hard off and on during our trip. Being able to sit comfortably in the hammock, covered by a wide tarp that kept us dry, while still being able to enjoy the views, move around, and even cook or make coffee without worrying about lighting a tent on fire was really sweet.

There really isn't any weight savings moving to a hammock setup. My tent gear once all components are included, is over a pound less than my hammock setup.

Hammock weights
Tent weights

Hammock Pros:
  • Best sleep ever
  • You are off the ground. I watched rivers of water flow under my hammock, which would have been trouble in a tent.
  • Great place to relax when in camp, read, sit, especially in bad weather.

  • Hammock Cons:
  • No privacy for changing
  • Weight
  • Lot's to 'fiddle with'. Gettng a good hang, finding trees that are the right distance apart, underquilt placement.
  • Worrying about finding a place to hang the hammock
  • My #1 con -- getting comfortable in cold temps. To be comfortable, you have to lay diagonally. Getting the underquilt to match that diagonal lay and cover all exposed parts of my body was a challenge. I wound up having to do a straight lay to eliminate cold spots, which is not as comfortable. Most likely a newbie / learning thing.

  • Resources:

    Getting there - directions:
    Although most passenger cars should be able to navigate the dirt road, I was glad we chose to use my son's truck.
    Low clearance vehicles are not recommended!
    From Buena Vista, travel west on County Road 306 for 2.5 miles to County Road 361. Turn right on this road and travel north for 2.5 miles. You need to watch for the road sign for County Road 365 (North Cottonwood) on the left. The road makes a hard left and travels west from the intersection towards the mountains. Stay on CR 365 for 3.5 miles. The Colorado Trail crosses the road at this point. The road will continue west for 1.4 miles and end at the North Cottonwood trailhead.