LOVED THIS HIKE! Permits are now bought online though, and can be printed out at home so no need to stop at the Lone Fir Resort. Ended up bringing too much water after reading the reviews here! It's a scramble on tough rock so bring warm gloves and/or gardening gloves (I brought both). We started our hike at 2AM and made it to the top to enjoy the sunrise. The wind was CRAZY at the top! But it was so beautiful! Bring layers and face layers (I had my buff and balaclava) because the dust and dirt get whipped around by the wind.
Gorgeous scenery and nicely maintained trail. There are different paths you can walk on; one does go all the way around the lake but there are other paths that are closer to the water. It's also really nice to walk along the shore. Early in the morning it is very peaceful and not crowded at all.
For a person coming from the Southwest, this hike was not hard, but it was not easy. The challenge was the steady steepness of the trail - the majority of the hike was an incline, so it made the descent nice going down, but still can take a toll on the knees! This trail will get you huffing and puffing, and get your heart pumping big time, but the views are heavenly and majestic. I went Sept time, and there was only one other person, so I felt I had the mountains all to myself!!!! Breathtaking views. Even small patches of snow in certain spots...good to put in your Cantine or camelback!
Did this hike with my brother-in-law as preparation for Whitney in October...I'm a newbie to backpacking but have invested heavily in the lightest gear available...Our overnight trip started at 1100 and we hiked under full pack to the summit stopping at High Creek for water replenishment. I'm in decent shape but this hike was very difficult. Do the math...it averages 700 ft per mile for 8 miles! Like other reviewers mention, the middle of the trail is not too bad...but, the first mile and last two miles are butt kickers. We reached the summit at 1800 and camped for the night in one of the stone-walled campsites. Temp was in the high 30s overnight with steady wind. We were treated to great sunset and sunrise the next morning. Hiked down in in the morning in about 4 hrs...hips, knees, and feet were all barking like dogs when we reached the truck. This hike is not for the faint of heart but is extremely rewarding, nonetheless.
Overall lovely experience.
The hike starts just off of I-70, and starts trudging uphill immediately. This would be a nice uphill walk through the woods, but with the proximity to the highway for the first mile, the traffic noise makes you feel like you are hiking ON the highway.
Not too far in, though, the noisy cars give way to the relief of the babbling brook just as the trail begins to flatten out. The trail then makes it's way through shady trees, over streams and opens to beautiful views of the changing Aspen this time of year.
The track begins it's ascension once again, this time with less tree cover and more expansive views. The next time it flattens is the most worthwhile, as it gives way to a small, hypercolor lake of blues, greens and turquoise, a perfect place for contemplation...
Beautiful hike. Went up the St. Mary's glacier side. It starts steep and rocky all the way until you get up past the glacier. It was a little hard to follow the trail from there. Just look for the cairns that are stacked high. There is a gorgeous view of Evans, Bierstadt, Gray's, and Torrey's, and you can see all the way out to the flatlands. We had to stop about a quarter mile short of the peak due to weather, but will definitely come back to finish!