Explore 2017 Packbacking - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2017 Packbacking Map
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hiking
20 days ago

Spectacular in the glacial cirque. Snow above the falls but followed the footprints and used poles. It was 5 miles to the lake - not sure why All-Trails map says 4.4. We hiked on 10/26 and saw no one above the falls.

hiking
21 days ago

beautiful hike, even at the end of October. It is a long one...took about 5-6 hours (we are Flatlanders) to complete the 10 miles. The snow slowed us down. Bring Yak Traks for the last 3 miles up...ice and snow. There were some hiking sticks left at the trail head and they really came in handy on this hike. It was hard to follow the trail on the way up with the snow but as long as you are going up you will catch the trail again. Alot easier to follow the trail on the way down. If you are looking for a good moderate legnthy hike, this one is great!

hiking
25 days ago

Excellent hike. Agree that 3 hours to the lake is a good time estimate. Gorgeous lake, especially this time of year with the snow. 10/21/2018, intermittent snow above the falls (about 2 hours from falls to lake, I am a slow/moderate paced hiker). Snow is hard packed and surprisingly very manageable. Poles are useful nonetheless. Weather was warm all the way up to the lake. Trail visibility excellent.Highly recommend going on from falls to lake if in doubt. Trailhead parking lot almost filled up on a Sunday (my start time was 11:00 am, very late). Was back at the car 5 PM easily.

hiking
1 month ago

Awsome extremely exhausting hike for someone not used to this altitude. We are from sea level. This trail kicked out butt, but is was well worth it. Beautiful views all the way up. Took 3 hrs to get to the lake. Just over 3000 elevation gain. Our most ever. Well worth it.

There was my first hiking in my life. Out of my shape, 49 years hold, 24 pounds backpack and ambition made finish. Actually, having a friend with me who made it before was the key. If I knew how hard it gonna be I would prepare myself before hit the mountain. Once we got there, I felt energized due to the magnificent view. The lake is incredible beautiful, quiet and bright. During 3 days I never got tired to see that surrounded Lake by mountains. Feel like all the place is yours, since it’s not easy getting there. We and maybe 5 parties were there for camping overnight and maybe 10 other parties just went there and returned on the same day. We explored other small lakes located about 1 hour far from lake Charles which kept us in motion. If you like natural and beautiful things I strongly recommend it, just prepare yourself for the endurance!

Pretty steady hike up. Great camping at both lakes

Great hiking, tons of climbing however. You must be in shape to get there! Unbelievable scenic!

hiking
2 months ago

A little bit of everything! Aspens, pines, water, and big views. We were first people in the lot at 630. The aspens are starting to turn and there was frost on the ground cover. 4.5 hours round trip for us with lot of stops for pictures

It was absolutely breathtaking. I tried to get to the Devil's causeway in May, but could barely make it up the slope due to massive amounts of snow. Trying again in early August was much easier, with almost no snow to be seen. The first 2 or 3 miles to the Devil's causeway were dramatic, and amazing to say the least. Once you get above the treeline, and you reach the top of the ridge, you get an spectacular view of the Chinese wall. After the Devil's causeway, just be ready for a lot of flat, rolling alpine tundra that seems to go on forever. I didn't see a single person after the devil's causeway for 4 hours at least. If you like feeling isolated and really small, you'll love the alpine tundra. Just bring plenty of water and a jacket. (Also a rain jacket).

Hit directions on All Trails and follow the map. You will have no problem finding the trail (even on the long dirt / rock road to the trail head). Trail is easy to follow but know the number as well as the name. In general stay to your right for Devil’s Causeway.

Hike itself isn’t too bad until you hit mile 2 or 2.5. At this point you start ascending and quickly. I found the ascent before the switchbacks and up to the top the hardest. The switchbacks themselves are long and gradual so not that bad.

Causeway is scary but doable. I don’t do well with heights and I turned back from Angel’s Landing. Just don’t look down and get down on all fours. I scrambled across and focused on finding steady and secure footholds. Go early to avoid the crowd.

Do the full loop! The scenery is amazing and unlike anything you will see in Colorado. There are a ton of lakes. The hike after the Causeway is basically all downhill. It’s long but not hard at all. There are a couple of uphills but nothing like the first part of the trail. Watch out for the sheep dogs!

Okay, so you all wrote some weird stuff on this review. lol The mapquest from this trail brings you directly there thank God! First of all, you do not need four wheel drive. It’s dirt and lightly washboard(y) but a car could make it up. (It could’ve been worse in early spring though who knows) The signage through out the town really isn’t there. (Again) Thankfully, maps from this page will bring you there. Park at Stillwater res. And again there’s no signs for the Causeway until you walk up the trail a little ways. Don’t turn left hiking towards Stillwater. Keep going straight! Thankfully someone carved into both of the signs halfway up on which direction the Causeway is. It’s pretty moderate getting to the Causeway. There’s a few steep, uphill sections but nothing major. Someone wrote that you couldn’t reach the top. Did you take the wrong trail? lol you can definitely hike to the Causeway and cross over! I’m not sure if the ten miles is turning around and going back over the Causeway to get back down or if you keep on going. I didn’t have a gps and I just crossed back over then hiked the same way back down. Enjoy:)

2 months ago

great trails

2 months ago

Hike was tough, but awesome. Waterfalls along the way are beautiful, tons of wildflowers. We saw several marmots. Lots of bugs up at the lake. Several brave souls were swimming in Booth Lake while we were there. Did not see any trout in the lake so fishing was not good (at least on the day we went). Took us about 3 hours and 45 min to get to the lake (with several quick rest stops) and 2.5 hours to get down.

on Booth Lake

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful. No one really goes past the falls so the trail isn’t that busy (at least for me), but I also hike at sunrise. Very very tough hike, the whole trail is a very steep climb with very few level areas to regroup. Don’t recommend for tourists to go past falls and if so, be prepared. It is closer to 12 miles round trip

hiking
2 months ago

Did this hike on 8/19. Just lovely!!!

I’m also not sure how the others are getting 12 miles, is there another lake? My Garmin measured this hike a little over 9 miles.

2 months ago

Trail was overall around 12 miles....strenuous but so worth it! The view at the top and along the way is absolutely breathtaking!!! Loved seeing all the wild life and beautiful meadows. Only a few hikers past the falls and we had the lake all to ourselves.

Wooo! Worth it.

hiking
3 months ago

Was absolutely gorgeous!! The views were amazing after the first 3 miles. Overall it was 12 miles.. Was definitely a hard hike. You could feel the elevation from the first few steps on the trail!!! Was just beautiful, would do again!

hiking
3 months ago

An amazing trail with breathtaking views, especially for those from the flat Midwest. The first 1.5 hours gets you to Booth Falls, which are pretty small this year due to the lack of snow and rain. This is where most of the inexperienced hikers will stop, but beyond that is the true beauty of this trail. Highland meadows with wildfires, marmots chirping everywhere, and oh yeah....a pretty sweet mountain lake at the end. Plan for ~3 hours each way with plenty of water for the elevation change. Also this trail isn’t the most remote after the falls, as I ran into people every few minutes, but it’s also not so overcrowded you can’t escape. If you find yourself in Vail I hope you find time to do this awesome trail!

hiking
3 months ago

Terrific hike. The elevation is challenging but was quite doable for us and our boys, who range from 11 to 17. Took five hours total. 8am start was perfect to miss some of the traffic and get a cool start. Look for the goat at the lake.

3 months ago

Up hill all the way plus high altitude does make this trail hard, but the trip to the lake is amazing. We even got to see a goat.

Easy hike, with great views. Mostly in the sticks, until the end. Highly recommend

hiking
3 months ago

Did this hike with my family and my mom said that it was her favorite hike she has ever done. It is a steep incline but not terrible and the view of the lake at the top is amazing. We hiked up and back in about 4.5 hours and spent about a half an hour at the lake eating lunch. (so total time about 5 hours) This is a great hike and would do it again!

On 7/30 my 14 yr old and I hiked up, crossed the Causeway, and decided to go back instead of doing the entire loop. We arrived at the Stillwater Reservoir trailhead the day before on a Sunday afternoon to an almost full lot, so we decided to camp out and do the hike in the morning the next day (would highly recommend). We started the hike at 7 am the next day and didn't see another person until we were almost to the saddle. Summited a little after 9 and had the Causeway to ourselves for about 20 minutes after a group got done with it themselves. The entire hike was a blast with spectacular views the whole way up. The last mile or so is pretty tough with an incline and switchbacks nearly the entire way, and then the final ascent is almost a straight shot to the top. The Causeway itself boils down to a mental battle; some conquer it, and some don't. I recommend the "low and slow" approach, which just means you're using your hands and feet the entire way to give yourself four points of contact. It was a little breezy at the top, as I suspect it usually is, so bringing a jacket or at least a sweatshirt would be recommended. Also, as some have already said here, some parts of the trail are not well-marked. If the Causeway is your ultimate goal, a good rule of thumb would be to "always stay right". Overall, it was an unforgettable experience that I'm so grateful I got to experience, especially with my son.

One last thing- When researching this hike, you might see articles calling it a "hidden gem". I'm of the thought that this is no longer the case as we passed, probably, 20-30 people on the way down, and arrived back at the trailhead just before noon to an already almost full lot. And this was on a Monday. All this to say, everyone can a should get outside and explore what amazing sights this state has to offer, it's just something to factor in when preparing your trip. If you like things a little more quiet on the trail, start early. Enjoy!

hiking
3 months ago

We backpacked in and camped just below the lake (rains came in before we got to the lake, so we set up camp early). Tough but rewarding hike (with 30-40 lbs anyway).
Parking is limited and no overnight at the TH, you will need to park by the school. Vail PD told me its by permit only when school activity is happening, but we were able to park free no permit.

hiking
3 months ago

July 30-th 2018
The night before I saw a dream, that I met a black bear on this trail, so I woke up and couldn't sleep. I arrived to the trail at 6am. There was only 1 car on a parking lot.
I did not see the black bear, but I saw a moose with a calf on a very beginning of a trail and there was a mountain goat on the end, next to the lake. Nobody else was there, just me and a goat. How wonderful !
The trail is exactly 9 mi. according to AllTrails app and it is HARD, one of the hardest ones, that I did so far(I hike a lot)
You will cross creeks at least 5 or 6 times, so don't need to bring tons of water if you can drink from the creek( I do), but for sure bring some snakes
Didn't need GPS or comas, as it would be hard to get lost on this trail even if you want to. Didn't use my mosquitoes spray, didn't see any mosquitoes or bugs.
I was the only one hiking up, but on the way back there were a lot of people ( hundreds of them)
The parking lot was full
The trail is beautiful, the waterfalls are amazing and the lake is awesome.
Now I need a new hiking boots :)

3 months ago

Difficult but worth it. You get to see a waterfall, alpine meadow, and lake. Agree with rating it as hard (two people in our group turned around at the falls), but I’m not a fast hiker and I managed to do it less than six hours - you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Bonus points because the trailhead is accessible via public transportation.

Great trail with many open spaces to camp. The trail is a lot of steep dry creek bed so there are a lot of rocks. The lakes are all great and also provide some great camping once you make it up there.

3 months ago

Very steep but great views. Backpacked in and camped just below the lake.

Hiked the loop on 7/11/18 started at about 8am. No snow on trails, awesome weather, and we only saw two other hikers the entire 10 miles. I’m not a seasoned biker by any means but I found the trails to be scarcely/confusingly marked. Take a map with you for sure!! The first two miles up to the causeway were kind of steep but then it’s pretty smooth sailing. There was a good amount of bugs in the forested areas FYI.

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