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

Backpacking Map
VIEW FULL MAP

Beautiful trail but as previous reviewer mentioned, at some point near the end, the foot path in the snow deviates from the actual trail. I had a GPS with me so was able to figure this out (coupled with clues based on the trail just not seeming right). We never actually made it to the lakes but the hike was still beautiful. I would say if you don’t have a GPS, be careful as just following the footprints in the snow isn’t actually the trail & gets a bit sketchy.

Trail is all snow, most packed by skiers. Final ~1/4 mile to the lower lake is unpacked snow (unless we took a wrong turn, we were definitely off trail on deep snow following footprints).Great hike but with the current conditions if you don’t have snowshoes or skis you won’t make it all the way up.

Our family did the trail today, Nov 3rd. Our kids are 14, 11 and 9, wehad a blast. We saw a elk carcass and all sorts of wild flowers dried up. The weather was perfect, we had prepared a picnic and ate it at tge 1/2 point next to the beautiful water fall. Awesome pics!!!!!

on Sandbeach Lake Trail

hiking
7 days ago

We broke the trail and encountered 4 other parties coming up as we were going down so the trail should be decently worn in now. Traction devices might be helpful -- as would snowshoes in the last mile or so, however we did the whole trail with boots and gaiters, which kept our pants nice and dry.

The snow made the hike more challenging, but nice nonetheless.

Went in early October on a cloudy day and got some snow near the top. The lakes were incredible though. Lost the trail on the way to the furthest lake, and ended up doing some rock scrambling that we weren’t prepared for. Saw a moose alongside the road on the way to the trailhead! Def want to go back on a clear day.

Beautiful!!! Hiked October 20th. Definitely need spikes toward the top. The lakes had two feet of snow! Easy hike. Spikes good P.S there is miss in the trees!!! Yes looks like Spanish moss. !!! Incredible

Beautiful hike, the lower lakes are all but frozen to the edges. There was a fair amount of snow/ice on the trail so yaktrax/microspikes definitely recommended. Also worth noting, there were bear tracks in several areas along the trail and around the perimeter of the south lower lake!

hiking
22 days ago

Like is mentioned below, the return on this is tough. My 2 kids and I managed it with ease but some might struggle. The trailhead is shared with dozens of dirt-bike trailers and for the first 1/4 mile of the trail we could hear the dirt bikers coming & going. But after that it was calm and quiet. As of this writing there were some muddy areas due to last week's snow.

Since last weeks Snow, we brought crampons and poles which made both the accent and decent so much more enjoyable There were people who had to turn around because they didn’t have enough traction.

Beautiful trail, the Aspens were bright gold. Some of the trail was heavily trafficked but it was never a problem. I am not a very seasoned hiker but I would not rate this trail as Hard. The first two miles are nice wide paths with a slight incline. The last mile to the Crater Lakes is steep, but not difficult.

hiking
1 month ago

beautiful and great place to see the leaves change. it has some hills that are steep in places.

trail running
1 month ago

I would say this trail is between easy and moderate. Going into the trail it is all downhill so coming back is pretty much all uphill. Lots of shade, nice views. Also no crowds and I got there around 9:30 am! If you have a vehicle with some ground clearance (small SUV and larger) you should be fine getting up the road.

Beautiful hike!! It was long and got rough near the end, but the lake and cirque views are worth it!

Beautiful little trail, moderate until the little bit of scrambling at the end. The lakes are lovely. And it was not crowded at all, only saw one group of 4 backpackers and a couple the entire day.

hiking
1 month ago

Be prepared for butt punishment on the way back up. WOW.

Okay, let's start from the beginning. As it says, it can be confusing, and I really thank Allison Meyers for her description of where to go. As you go on the dirt road, it will eventually come to a fork and you want to go UP the hill off to the left to get to the lot. Now my friend and I ended up parking below the lot, as we weren't so sure our car would like the slightly rocky and lumpy terrain. I saw a minivan get high centered right in front of my car! It is absolutely doable, but there are some spots that suck.

THE HIKE: Beautiful! Going down, you get shade and forest and meadows... it is single file hiking through forest or meadow, but it is so pretty. The homestead was great to see...there is an old stove or something and for some reason, a box spring mattress bottom. So confused how it got there!! But a good relic of the past. The rest of the way was pleasant and we almost stopped, however I recalled seeing that there was a river or water feature up ahead, so we soldiered on. The path has washed away and there are a few tricky areas. I had to slide on my butt on the way back... so steep!
The water area was gorgeous and as others have said, I heard the 2013 flood washed away the rest of the area. :( But the water was great to sit and take a breather.

STARTING BACK- we felt it was confusing to figure out how to get back to the path... thankfully, there was a wonderful woman who had put up blue flags (she told us it was her!) to let others know where to get back onto the main path was. If she wasn't there, we would've panicked just a bit. Thank you! Hopefully her tie bags stay on...it was helpful to know where to go to get back. You get disoriented with that many rocks and don't recall where you came from! Take note of where you came from!

THE HIKE BACK... this is the firepower. It is hard, IMO. Some sections are OK and others are butt burning up the hill, "I want to live here so I don't move again" type hills. Our dogs were getting tired. It really kicks it back up a notch from the homestead area back up towards the car. I felt so rewarded going back to the car, like we really worked hard! We had tired dogs and some had to get carried. LOL
This was tough to get back up the hills, especially in warm weather.

I'm toast. But that was a great hike for a late Sept day. There were enough people to feel comfortable that you weren't going to die in the woods alone, lol..but there were maybe 6 or 7 groups total...it isn't a Boulder Chatauqua type busy hike! I would do this again now that I know what we are getting into. :)

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful, fairly easy trail.

Absolutely gorgeous lake! I agree with others stating this trail is more moderate than “hard”. I’d say the first 3.5 miles is moderate and the last push to the lake is moderate+. You spend the majority of the hike on a tree lined trail but there are a few moments where you get a great view of Wild Basin. The trail is OK (for RMNP), the lake is worth the trek though! Also, aspens are almost done so get up here quick!

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike. It was my first hike in Colorado, so I definitely thought it was 'hard'. The ending at Sandbeach lake is beautiful and the hike along the way takes you through beautiful terrain. Highly recommend - especially coming from Denver.

Beautiful hike through dense, lush forest. The lakes are a lovely ending. The hike was enough to get the blood flowing, but certainly not strenuous.

we went on a Monday and arrived around 11 am, only saw two other people and some campers that we're across from the trailhead but definitely not high traffic. i agree it was a little confusing to arrive to but the directions helped, stay left at the fork and keep going uphill. also like other people said, it is really downhill the way out, so the way back be prepared it's a long way up! great trail, looking forward to doing it again !

I'm guessing the hard rating is based on the minor scrambling required to get to the upper lakes. Overall a great hike with 4 gorgeous lakes. Saw some people braving the cold water and had wished I packed some extra clothes to jump in as well. Even though there's a decent amount of traffic on the trail, it didn't feel overly crowded and everyone I encountered was friendly and courteous.

Up to Cirque Meadows is very easy. The aspens are changed, making much of the path very colourful.
We were confused at first about the marked campsites which are farther up the trail past the meadow-the sites were nice, site 3 has a good view.
The rest of the way was tougher, and some places we lost the trail as it wound up the boulders.
The end views are breathtaking, and great photo opportunities. I plan on going again in June when the wildflowers are bloomed.

hiking
1 month ago

We hiked Saturday September 15th. The colors are at or near Peak. Beautiful! The Aspens run just over 1 mile. Lots and lots of color... I've posted a few pictures.

When you reach your destination, enjoy the very old Bristlecone Pines.

hiking
1 month ago

went yesterday and the leaves are just about done falling off the aspens. Today will likely be the last day the hike will be good to see the aspens. low bush foliage is very pretty at the end in the bowl.

One of my favorites .... not sure why, it doesn’t have lots of vista views but it’s a good steady work out and yet flat and easy just when you need it. The many different types of foliage is pretty awesome esp when aspens are turning.

great fall hike with beautiful Aspen groves throughout much of the hike.

Great trail. Not hard until you start up to the upper lake. I would note that there are two trails up to the upper lake. If you go between the lakes and up, it’s pretty steep and you will end up climbing a lot of boulders. You will not follow the trail on all trails. You’ll end up to the left of the trail but will still reach the lake. You have to go around the lower big lake a bit to reach the actual trail (the one you find on all trails). It’s steep (maybe not as bad as the other way). Both trails have been travels a bunch so marked.

Trail was pretty but not sure I would do it again. Long dirt rocky road to get to the trail. Don’t not necessarily need a high clearance vehicle or 4wd. HUGE parking lot so you don’t have to worry about getting a spot. Probably holds 50 cars.

Beautiful hike worth the climb to the upper
Lake. Great hike to break for lunch at the halfway point.

Did this trail today 9/8/18. It is dry with only a slight breeze at the lake. Trail is a steady uphill trek. Some rocky areas and some flat gravel areas. The aspen trees are quickly changing all along the route. The far south side of the lake gives great views of Mount Meeker, Longs Peak and Chiefs Head. Very few people on the trail or at the lake which is why I like this trail.

Load More