Feel Like You
Great hike! Extra challenging to get up the last scramble with the snow and ice, but that much more rewarding when it was done! I enjoyed the waterfalls and river crossings on the way up, and once you get above the treeline the views are remarkable. My only caution if you go soon is to watch for falling ice around the cliffs just past Peacock Pool...I nearly got creamed by a softball sized solid ball of ice! Otherwise some minor slippage, but poles were good enough to get past it. No problem with parking either, on a wintery weekday. Even when I left at 3ish, there were still a lot of open spots. Overall awesome!
I did this hike to the mine on crutches with a torn medial meniscus in my right knee, so for me it was one of the most difficult but yet rewarding hikes I've been on. Fellow hikers were cheering me on and it was much appreciated. The view of the water cascading down the stream at the mine site was worth the 3 days of agony my palms and underarms felt. Great hike for the kids and entire family.
We had the intention of doing Estes Cone, but we were pretty new to mountain hiking and this was our second hike of the day. By the time we reached Storm Pass, we decided to do the Cone on another trip when we were fresher. What we did do was a pleasant hike with forest, meadow, mountain views, and, of course, the mine which we spent time wondering around.
Overall a great fall hike. The views of the park are great and there was a decent amount of fall color as well. It is very steep and the trail is largely dirt and loose gravel, so there were some spots that were a little dicey. The way down took almost just as long as the way up because of this. Next time I will definitely bring hiking poles. Minimal shade as well so bring plenty of water if it's sunny. Be sure to use the app to find the trail as it branches off the main trail at the 2nd branch point and there isn't a sign m. There is a carin marking this branch point and there are carins all along the trail. Also, the app recorded my one way distance from the east portal parking lot to be 1.1 miles, so a little longer than what is stated in the description of the trail.
I did this hike Sunday 18-Sep-2016.
I arrived at the trailhead at 0445 and there were about 6 spots left. If you are hiking before the sun comes up I would 100% recommend a headlamp. However, there were a few hikers I came across who were not using headlamps.
After you emerge from the trees, you are in a pretty bare alpine tundra. This day, the wind was absolutely insane, even before the sun rose and on my way down. I did not bring gloves - which I regret. But a beanie stayed securely on my head with my headlamp holding it in place. The wind nearly knocked me over quite a few times and I felt like I was hiking through cement on the ascent.
The first lake you see down below is NOT Chasm. Keep pushing.
Take note that it is fairly easy to lose the trail to the lake once you get in sight of the Privy by the ranger station. The trail continues to the right of the Privy, and you scramble up a lot of rocks to get to the other side.
The hike was challenging for me due to the wind, but the views were well worth it. Sunrise was one of the most beautiful sites I've seen in a while. I am only giving the trail/hike 4 stars because the trail gets wonky at some parts, but nothing is perfect :)
The trailhead starts at the longs peak trailhead and you follow this trail for most of the day. I got to the trailhead at 6:30 and the lot was already full so I would plan on going early or waiting till later in the morning when some People are coming down. For some reason today the wind was intense, sunny skies but so windy it was literally blowing me away. Once you get near the lake it is difficult to see where the trail goes, I ended up scrambling over rocks on the side of the lake instead of in front of it but still very beautiful. Make sure you wear something warm with a hood and gloves in case of the wind.