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One of my favourites! Broke climb into 2 days. First day started in afternoon, climbed over notch mountain and camped in the valley. Woke up early next morning and summited. I would do this hike again.

10 days ago

Snowshoed on 1/1/19. Beautiful area and good amount of snow after a couple of miles. Not necessary in the first couple of miles.

Beautiful hike! The road to Monarch Lake is closed for the season, so know you'll have about an extra mile each way. We saw a family of moose close to the trailhead, lots of animal prints around Monarch Lake so be aware. Snow was well packed for most of the trail, but once you reach the switchbacks after Monarch Lake you'll probably want snowshoes, as XC skiers don't go there. We only made it to Cascade Falls and the trip took about 6 hours RT. Anyone else trying it out in the winter - good luck!

18 days ago

Wow. This is a cool trail. I cannot wait until late spring / summer when the river is flowing. Anyway - pretty easy walk. I made it almost to campgrounds before tuning back. Well marked. Terrain had patches of snow and exposed ground all the way. I did not need spikes since trail is well packed. Amazing views and just a good pace of walking. Lots of places to take in some cool scenery. Hardest part was last 1/4 mile returning to parking lot.

Terrific hike! Beautiful views...highly recommend!

27 days ago

Nice leisurely stroll through a winter wonderland. On the North side there was patchy snow. Down in the valley and on the Southside there was packed snow and ice. YakTrax diamonds and hiking poles was enough.

on Fern and Spruce Lakes

1 month ago

Great hike to beautiful campsite on Spruce Lake. Last mile or so of trail can be tough to follow.

Awesome trail! Counter Clockwise. June 2018

We planned to sleep at Parika Lake on the first night, but ended up short at the smaller lake 0.5 mile before. After seeing both spots, not sure which one was better. We slept in the wooded area covered by trees. Parika Lake is pretty open and exposed, but the views were amazing. Fishing was a thought, but glad we chose not to.
Day two started with a couple miles of steep climbing and ridge lines. Only encountered a few patches of snow along the ridge. Parika Peak was just another quater mile, right turn upward climb and totally worth it. the views were stunning. Winds peaked to 50mph around Farview Mt. and it got pretty cold.
We planned to camp at Bowen Lake the second night, but decided to skip it. We were just too worked from the long day. the forest past the junction had a lot of down trees and thick forest. Finally found a decent flat area to camp for the night.
Last day was a easy down hill to the car. Saw a cow moose in the stream near the lot right as we were leaving.

Few things to note for this trail:
Parking lot is small
Plenty of streams to filter water
A lot of crossings, some difficult to cross
Trail starts in RMNP but a permit is NOT necessary (we wasted 20 minutes trying to get one)
Clockwise doesn't seem as enjoyable
We average 2 trips per year(experience compared)

1 month ago

If you are looking for a hiking experience of a lifetime, look no further! Please be aware that this is a very difficult hike, the park ranger informed us that this is one of the most difficult hikes in Colorado primarily due to the very steep grade, and I have to agree. If you are ready to push your hiking abilities, this hike is for you! No words can describe the beauty of Black Canyon, and Warner Route gives you a perspective of this canyon which very few people have seen.

I hiked Warner route with a buddy of mine in early July. The temperatures during the day were just under 100F, so we waited until late afternoon (around 90F) to begin our descent into black canyon. I packed approx. 5L of water for the descent and I drank every bit of it. At the bottom we replenished our water supply at the Gunnison River with a water purifier. We cooled off in the river which was extremely refreshing! We brought hammocks to spend the night at the bottom of the canyon. I do not recommend hammocks as most of the trees at the bottom are kind of scrubby and not adequate for setting up a hammock. We trekked back up Warner Route mid-morning the next day. Near the end of our hike a small thunderstorm passed overhead, laying a foggy mist over the canyon; a view that left us in awe!

About the trail:
This trail is very diverse, landscapes and trail conditions change drastically throughout the hike. The beginning portion of the trail consists of tight switchbacks which eventually fade into a steep downward slope. The base of the trail changes continuously: dirt, sand, gravel, loose rocks, etc. Tree roots and large rocks are useful hand-holds. Keep your eyes on the trail ahead, it is easy to slip. Some parts of the trail are not very well marked. We took pictures of landmarks along the trail on our way down so that we could find our way back up when returning.

Here's a short video of our hike:

1 month ago

Great hike on Thanksgiving Day. Went up to the falls and a bit beyond but there wasn’t a clearly defined trail and my GPS wasn’t cooperating so instead of snowshoeing our way around, we just turned back. Beautiful day to hike. Traction devices for your boots would be helpful but not completely needed. Snowshoes would certainly be necessary to reach the lake.

A few weeks ago I and three buddies I go to college with hiked the Conundrum Creek Trail to the Conundrum Hot Springs and camped overnight. A permit is required for overnight stays. The second day we hiked back in the late afternoon. It is a 17-mile hike round trip. There was clear sunny weather both days. The trail is in pretty good shape. It was a bit muddy in a few areas. A good pair of hiking shoes is essential. There were few others at the campsite overnight. We had the hot springs to ourselves that night. The second day we hiked a bit further south and then returned to hit the hot springs again before descending. The only people we ran into that day were an older couple on the trail passing by while we were in the hot springs and a guy and his two teenage sons who joined us in the hot springs.

I read a review that talks about people being "inconsiderate" because they were naked in the hot springs. Please note: These hot springs have traditionally been a place where people are naked. There is nothing inherently inconsiderate about this. My friends and I enjoyed being naked in the hot springs on our trip. Nothing more. Nothing less. The older couple passing by seemed shocked and shook their heads at us. The wife muttered under her breath that we could cover up when people pass by. By contrast, the father and his sons decided to join us naked in the springs and everyone had a pleasant time hanging out. Clearly the main difference between the two groups of people we met while we were in the hot springs had to do with their differing attitudes towards nudity. Please, either respect the right of others to enjoy being naked in nature or avoid the hot springs, however, do not expect others to stop enjoying this traditionally nude area because you have a problem with simple nudity!

Nice, easy and peaceful trail along the Tompson River. We didn't make it as far in as I would have liked due to time, but I definitely plan on returning

2 months ago

Hiked this trail yesterday 10-27-18. Very snowy like the previous poster said. After the first lake it got really deep and we had to turn around. It was also pretty slick after everyone had compacted the snow and melting then refreezing at night. I would be cautious, there were a few parts that were a little touch and go. On the other hand, beautiful beautiful hike!!

2 months 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.

2 months 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!

My husband and I hiked only about 2 miles of this trail last week (middle of October) as it was a little sloppy and slick following first snowfall of season. It was absolutely beautiful though. We began at the trailhead (it’s further in than the parking/restrooms) and walked through aspen groves until it opened onto a very lovely valley with spectacular rock formations surrounding it. We missed the changing of the aspens by a few weeks but could imagine how breathtaking this trail would be at that time! Since we only hiked a few miles of this trail, we drove to see The Castles. Spectacular!

2 months ago

I hiked this trail on 10/21/18. Very beautiful area. However, this 7.2 mile out and back turned into 10.5 miles due to the snow. 80% of the trail had between 2 inches - 2.5 feet of snow. The snow and ice made the hike very difficult. Unless you’re experienced with snow hiking and snowshoes, I would not advise the hike until the snow melts. In the end, the snow got so deep, we couldn’t even make it the last 400 meters to grand lake.

One note though is that the first mile of the hike is easy (if no snow) and takes you to a beautiful small waterfall and small lake.

The popularity of this trail has completely destroyed the area, there's poop everywhere along the trail & around the campsites. This place has transformed into a rocky mountain national park or emerald bay of tahoe lake situation. Aholes that don't respect anything go & pollute so the forest service now requires reservations to camp in the middle of the wilderness. Thanks people!! Crappy fake casual outdoors people ruined it for absolutely everyone, great job!!!!

2 months 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.

2 months ago

Nice moderate hike with plenty of lakes and streams- although as a result probably not ideal during mud season... jasper lake was frozen but still beautiful.

What an adventure! This trail was 9.6 miles to and from the hot springs so 19.2 miles round trip according to my iPhone health app. It was very muddy and there was lots of snow especially the higher up you go so make sure to bring reliable warming and waterproof gear. The trail was really easy to follow and the bridges were fun to cross (3 bridges total) but the altitude is something to watch out for going up. It’s true what everyone say the hike down is a cake walk. It took us 6-7 hours to get up and 4 hours to get down.

Third time hiking this trail (first during winter and the second during summer). Despite it being mid-October, there was still a lot of snow on the upper two-thirds of the trail, so definitely bring appropriate gear and be prepared to stay out all day; it's a very long trek. Mirror Lake was frozen over but there are some nearby streams to get fresh water, if needed. Also, the gate to access Monarch Lake trailhead was open, but I know they close it as it gets closer to winter so double-check this before heading out, as it can add an extra 2 miles (round trip) to the hike. Otherwise, beautiful hike - one of my favorites in Colorado.

A bunch of moose, a bunch of lakes

3 months ago

Beautiful! Nice fall hike featuring some golden aspens and a couple waterfalls. In the early morning it was a misty hike through a cloud, which I thought made the whole experience even cooler.

Nice, easy and peaceful trail along the Tompson River. We didn't make it as far in as I would have liked due to time, but I definitely plan on returning

This trail is a must do. We camped at the unnamed lake below parika lake and then near the junction to Bowen lake. Would rate as strenuous, and there is a lot of exposure on the ridge lines past parika lake. We had wind gusts of probably 60 mph or so. We took our rain flies off our packs, because they were acting like parachutes and sometimes the wind was so strong you had to stop before you could move again. Definitely worth it though. Vertical drop offs on the ridge are more gradual than straight down, so not bad IMHO, and I’m not a heights fan! The views at the peak of 12300 feet or so are absolutely breathtaking.

Absolutely loved this hike. Beautiful views the whole way. Went in fall and the aspens were gorgeous beyond words! The hike itself isn’t super difficult but it is long and I recommend camping since it is about 8 miles in and 8 miles back. The hot springs at the end are one of the prettiest places I’ve ever been to, very serene and also super clean. We ended up hanging out there for over 4 hours because the water felt so nice and we also met some other cool people who had just done the hike. I will highly recommend this trail to anyone who is up for some camping!

Beautiful hike! The hike was actually 18.5 miles round trip from the parking lot to the springs. One of the most breathtaking hikes I’ve been on. People aren’t very considerate of others presence; we had a large group of 5 men and 1 woman all get completely naked and get in the springs while there were others in it. Do everyone a favor and pack a swimsuit and towel, because no one wants to see you naked in the springs while trying to relax. Only thing that put a damper on this otherwise beautiful hike!

trail running
3 months ago

Amazing trail, the lakes and creeks are gorgeous.

Absolutely stunning and worth every step! Took us 4 hours to get up with our packs and 3 hours to get down. The springs were beautiful and the sunrise was amazing! Definitely possible to do it as a day hike but do yourself a favor and reserve a campsite!

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