M. Walter Pesman Trail is a 2.9 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Idaho Springs, CO that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible from June until September. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This hike, also referred to as the Mount Goliath Trail, is a great wildflower hike through ancient bristlecone pine trees. There are two access points for this trail. The lower trailhead is located behind the nature center at the Mount Goliath Natural Area and goes up hill. The upper trailhead is lo
Quick easy hike. I arrived at 6:30 a.m. and finished the entire trail in an hour with not another soul to be seen, it was very serene. There are PARK FEES, so get there before normal operating hours to avoid paying a lot of money for such a short hike.
This is a short, fun hike that takes you through varied terrain of bristlecone pines, wildflowers and rocks. It has great views of Chief Mtn & the foothills to the east and Mt Evans to the west. You get treated to great views of the Mt Evans area when you cross the high point of the hike at an elevation of about 12,200 ft. On a Monday morning in July at about 9:10am, parking at the lower trailhead was not a problem. By 11am, the parking area was crowded but people seem to come an go.
This trail is awesome. It's a good workout while not too difficult, and you reward is some of the best alpine views to be seen. You start off in an area filled with forest and wildflowers, followed by dramatic rock fields that require very light scrambling. Make sure to keep a look out for the marmots sunbathing and standing guard on the massive boulders! Make sure to dress so you're warm because wind is certainly a factor at this altitude.
Starting at the Mount Goliath Nature Center my friend and I took the Pesman Trail. Although it was rocky with lots of roots, I considered it an easy trail. Using hiking poles were a plus. The sights and shapes of the Bristlecone trees were amazing. Meet very few hikers. We were fortunate enough to have several deer pointed out to us by another hiker, that we wouldn't have seen. Wasn't aware of the Alpine garden Loop and time didn't permit to take that trail. It was another beautiful Colorado experience.
It was chilly when my husband, daughter and I got to the top. We drove up Mt. Evans. There was a 10$ fee for a three day pass which was the minimum. That was an unexpected surprise. Another surprise was that the trail is in a national park. However when we go to the Alpine Loop trail it was beautiful!
There were big rocks, fun for climbing but definitely a bit dangerous for lil ones. My 6 yr old is not the most athletic or daring. She is not used to climbing. She did a good job but about feel off at one point. :/
Just being clumsy and not cautious. So I dunno if I'd suggest it for younger than 6.
The Alpine loop is short. Which was good for us as we are not native to Colorado. The elevation was causing a bit of issues, especially at first.
We enjoyed the Alpine part of the trail. Wishing to have done the Pesman as well but we enjoyed taking the trail slow.
Our 6 yr old enjoyed it and did well on the trail. Once we left we stopped at the other side of Pesman trail further down the Mountain. There was an exhibit and The Bristlecone Loop. We did that also as it was short.
All in all we enjoyed the trail. I suggest it to those who are used to elevation.
If not you may want to pack oxygen, water and something with electrolytes.
I bet most people stop at this trail on their drive up Mt. Evans, but never actually walk the full length. My wife & I went in May - it was fairly warm at the lower trailhead, but got much colder and windier as we progressed to the upper elevations. There was still some snow on the ground, though the day temps were hovering around mid-50s. In other words, be prepared for all kinds of weather at this elevation. Speaking of elevation, the trail itself isn't difficult, but do not be fooled thinking it's going to be a walk in the park - we are pretty fit but being fresh off the plane from sea level, we had to take it really slow. There was a lot of of tree hugging (now I get the full meaning of 'mile-high') and many breaks to catch our breaths. The bristlecone pines, by the way, are some of the oldest trees in the world, some being 1500 years old! The ones in the Sierra Nevada are even older.
The trail offers pretty amazing views to the east and, once you reach the upper trailhead, stunning views to the west as well. It takes you above the tree line, which is pretty awesome. We did see a bunch of wildflowers, though not as many as we hoped. No wildlife though (did see some bighorn at Summit Lake, but we had to drive there).
I hiked the M. Walter Pesman Trail (2.5 miles total, which is an out-and-back with a couple of short loops), which includes the Alpine garden loop at the end (0.1 mile). I'm a very novice hiker at best, right now averaging 3-5 miles on "moderate" trails. One book called this trail easy, one trail called this moderate, and the sign at the visitor center/trailhead said moderate to difficult. I went for it, thinking, "How hard can it be?" Well, the short trail goes from about 11,500 feet to 12,200 feet, and one should not underestimate the effect of the altitude. Although it took me 2 hours to reach the summit (and one hour to get back), it was well worth it. The hike starts below timberline and crosses into timberline, with a fair amount of moderately steep climbing (thank goodness for hiking poles!). I stopped frequently to catch my breath and take in the views. It was nice and cool and I even got sleeted on at one point. The views were spectacular, and there were patches of aspen in the distance that had turned orange and yellow. I was a little bit disappointed at the lack of wildlife that I saw (no marmots or bighorn sheep), but the environment and views more than made up for that. Very, very nice hike.