Every Pizza on the Colorado Trail, Ranked

Inspired by the hard, difficult work of previous thru-hikers, here I am with my review of pizza in every town along the Colorado Trail*. While others may have more “civilized” or niche cravings when arriving in town, I here represent the working class of thru-hikers, and went for pizza, each and every time. Now, I have some thoughts to share: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Enjoy!

*Trail towns considered irrelevant to my specific 2023 thru-hiking journey are assumed to not exist and thus are not included in this review. A sampling of these locales include: Lake City, Frisco, Jefferson, Fairplay, Twin Lakes (do they even have pizza?), Saguache, Gunnison, Creede, Ouray, Telluride, Ironton, Silverthorne, Wildernest, Alma, Granite, Americus, Almont, Aspen, the entirety of Denver Metropolitan Area, Poncha Springs, Sapinero, Powderhorn, South Fork, Pagosa Springs, Animas Forks, and that one town 24.5 miles north of a far more rad town in the Arkansas Valley. *Deep breath in* Ok, let’s get started : )

 

I’ve done the hard work for you, you’re welcome.

 

Breckenridge (mi. 102): Breck Ale House

Overall Rating: 3/10

Low-key worst place on the trail. I’m sure there are better pizza places in Breck, but this was a random spot I just stopped at with some other hikers. Crust was OK but cheese and toppings were very middle-of-the-road, and the sauce was sweet like fast-food pizza. Also, ranch portions were skimpy and they charged for them. Would be a good spot for a beer and pizza, but pizza just is not the star of the show here.

 

Copper Mountain Resort (mi. 118): Sawmill Pizza and Taphouse

Overall Rating: 9/10

BBQ Chicken yummmmmmm

Swinging the other direction, this place was actually insane. I wasn’t expecting anything good, walking into a ski resort on the off-season, but other than the judgemental stares of the other guests, this place was top-notch. Pricing was very reasonable, the combos were all awesome options, and the crust is made from scratch in house. The manager, once the crew found out we were thru-hikers, came out and talked with us for a while and gave us a (shhhhhhhh) hiker discount. Ranch is extra but is made from scratch in-house and was the best ranch on the whole trail! Couldn’t recommend more, especially after a hard climb over the Tenmile Range.

 

Leadville (mi. 142/176): High Mountain Pies

Overall Rating: 7/10

I really wanted to love this place, mostly because I just really love Leadville as a whole. In addition, this place has a long history of being hiker-friendly, including letting hikers charge and sleep for free on their back porch in exchange for help with dishes if the town is full. Full disclaimer — it may have just been the combo I got, but I felt the toppings and sauce just fell short with this spot. Beans on pizza is weird, and all the other combos were equally odd. This is a good place to try new things, but maybe I should’ve just gotten cheese/pepperoni. Ranch was free (I think), crust was super awesome (best on trail), price is on the more expensive side but fair for Leadville. 

 

Salida (mi. 251): Moonlight Pizza & Brewpub

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

OK, let me confess: I have a history with Moonlight Pizza. Wait wait, before you burn me at the stake for reviewer bias, here this — I fully expected to have my impression of Moonlight changed in comparison to the other pizza places on the trail. However, I have found myself drawn back to my first love. Moonlight Pizza, while maybe not the best at any one specific aspect, excels in the unification of those aspects. Crust? Not as good as High Mtn. Pies, but good! Sauce/Ranch? Tangy and yummy (but not as good as Sawmill). Toppings? Amazing, but on par with Golden Block. Vibe? OK, this one goes to Moonlight. Maybe it was just because I found myself there on July 4th, but the live music was rad, and the craft sodas are out of this world. In addition, their prices are very fair, and lunch prices are a steal. And finally, the menu is a comedy novel to get you through the wait time for your pizza. When you go to Salida, do yourself a favor, and get yourself Moonlight (not Amicas, just trust me on this one).

 

Silverton (mi. 410): Golden Block Brewery

Overall Rating: 5/10

I wanted to like this place, but just as much of the rest of Silverton, it falls prey to the demons of tourism and efficiency. The toppings were the best part of these pizzas, but the crust was decidedly mid and the place was crowded and just too touristy for me. To be clear, this is still a good place, but it just can’t hold a candle to the last three pizzerias with their homemade ingredients and thru-hiker-friendly vibes. But, they did give me free ranch…

 

Durango (mi. 486): Homeslice Pizza

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

This place reminded me a lot of Sawmill, but without the incredible ranch and hiker-friendly vibes. It’s a city chain of sorts, with a few locations, but still exclusive to Durango. This was my finisher celebration pizza, and it hit the spot. Free ranch, incredible toppings and combos. Pretty cheap and with large portions. I’m dinging points for the corporate vibe overall, and the americanized crust (not homemade tasting). But Gruyere on pizza? I’m a fan!

 

Durango (mi. 486): Fired Up Pizzeria

Overall Rating: 6.5/10

Had to sneak one more in, didn’t I? I wanted to like this place. Perhaps it’s just my American ideals of pizza (this was probably the most authentic pizza I had on the trail, after all), but I just thought this wood-fired masterpiece was all looks, no flavor. It’s pretty, but the crust was somewhat soggy feeling and there wasn’t enough cheese for me. Ranch was free, but basically just grocery-store quality. Overall, I don’t think the steep cost justifies what you get with these pies. What saves this place is its absolutely EPIC rooftop seating. I was able to look out over the town and watch the train come in, and stay long after I finished my pizza working on photo editing. And the staff were rad. 

 

Alright, here’s your review:

Breck Ale House: 3/10
Sawmill Pizza (Copper Mtn): 9/10
High Mountain Pies (Leadville): 7/10
Moonlight Pizza (Salida): 9.5/10
Golden Block Brewery (Silverton): 5/10
Homeslice Pizza (Durango): 7.5/10
Fired Up Pizzeria (Durango): 6.5/10

Cheers!

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Comments 3

  • Rolf Asphaug : May 31st

    Thanks for saving me from some crappy pizza! 🙂

    Reply
  • Justin (@HikeExploreTravelLive) : May 31st

    Great list. I love Moonlight in Salida!!!

    While not technically on the Colorado Trail, some of the best pizza I’ve had in Colorado was at The Secret Stash in Crested Butte!!

    The nearest point on the Colorado Trail to Crested Butte is near the intersection with the trail to Cottonwood Pass, which is about 15-20 miles away from Crested Butte. From there, you can use local trails or roads to reach Crested Butte.

    Cheers,

    Justin
    @hikeexploretravellive

    Reply
  • Off trail : Jun 1st

    You missed the best pizza at telluride!! Not sure the name of the place but it was just off the cable car access. Amazing pie! Think of it even now 7 years later.

    Reply

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